First introduced in 2017, Ming has been one of the few microbrand watches that aren’t based on homage designs and are on the dressier side, providing a nice change. The watches are designed by the founder Ming Thein himself with unique dial and case shapes. Fast forward to 2019, Ming introduces the 17.06 with an electroplated copper dial. The pattern and case closely resembles the original 17.01 but the copper dial changes the look completely.
I was not able to purchase one myself, but luckily, I had the chance to handle the 17.06 from a friend for an in-depth hands on review!
Although the case closely resembles the 17.01, this is now made of stainless steel instead of titanium, and slightly thicker at 10mm vs the 9.3mm before. The wide bezel and top of the lugs are nicely polished, while the side case is finely brushed, offering a great contrast. While the case diameter is 38mm, the wide bezel makes the watch wear smaller.
The dial, which is what drew me to the watch is a nice shiny copper dial that has a guillocheGuilloche Guilloche is a decorative technique used in a.o. watchmaking, it is an engraving process that creates intricate patterns on the dials and other parts of the watch. It is done by using a rose engine, a specialized lathe with a variety of interchangeable cam-driven patterns. The patterns are created by the movement of the machine's cutting tool over the surface of the metal. Guilloche is considered to be a traditional and labor-intensive technique, it requires a high level of skill and experience to produce good consistent results. [Learn More] from the center to the hour marker ring. The hour markers are actually super-luminova hand printed on sapphire crystal on the outer ring, making it look as if its floating on top of the copper dial. Underneath the sapphire glass is the base copper with circular guilloche pattern rounding out the rest of the dial. From the macro photo, you can see it is a two stepped dial.
The dial under bright lighting conditions has the “salmon” look, although I have seen a few photos where the dial appear in a pink or light brown look. Either way, this dial will grab your attention given the dial color. I was told the copper has been electroplated, so it will not patina, which I was relieved to find out. While I can understand the desire to have a patinated sports watch case with bronze, a patinated dial that looks like it has seen it’s best days does not look appealing for a dressy looking piece.
Unlike the 17.01, the new 17.06 has an automatic movement, using the ubiquitous ETA 2824. However, this top grade movement has been modified to remove the date wheel and position so there is no ghost position when pulling the crownCrown The knob on the outside of the watch that you typically use to either wind the mainspring or set the time [Learn More]. Things get interesting here as I manually wound the watch, the action felt crisp and had a kick back similar to other manual wind watches, which is very different from standard 2824/SW200 with the grainy winding action with no feedback.
My experience could be an outlier, so I would love to hear back from other 17.06 owners when they wind their watches and let me know how it feels compared to the normal 2824 and it’s variants.
To be honest, I had some reservations with Ming before getting my hands on this watch. The amount of positive coverage and the pricing gave me some doubts. However, having handled the watch in person and inspecting the amount of details and thought put into the watch has definitely changed my mind.
Ming copper was limited to 300 piece on the initial batch with plans to make another 300 per year going forward
Shoutout: Thanks to @WatchesToLove for handing over the watch (temporarily) 🙂