Designing the 27.01: An evolution of 17

Our design philosophy has always been reductivist; design language 2 takes this further from the base of the original 17-series. This is even reflected in the reference (DL2, series 7, model 01). Though the 27.01 appears to be a completely new watch, look a bit closer and you’ll see the many evolutionary steps that have been taken to achieve a conceptually thin dress watch from the 17.01/17.06.

Firstly, we have retained all of the key elements and concepts that represent the MING philosophy: radial symmetry, the 0 at 12, flared lugs and the easy to wind crown. We selected the most appropriate engine for the concept – well, the only engine really available to any brand wanting to launch an ultra thin watch at a reasonable price point – the ETA Peseux 7001. We took that and thoroughly reworked it to be aesthetically in line with the 19.01 and 19.02 – with maximum technical skeletonization and dark decoration, effectively retaining only the going train and re-manufacturing everything else.

Next, the dial takes the alternate number pattern first seen in the 17.03 Blue and 17.06 variants, replacing the numerals with double lines for even better symmetry and minimalism. The single lines for odd numbers are retained, as is the ring linking all of the indices together. Being an ultra thin case, there is no vertical room for a sapphire donut as with the 17-series, but instead the 3D floating effect is referenced by a lighter shade chapter ring, and lighter deep-etched indices. Hands are evolved from the 19 series, minus the luminous material (again: dress watches traditionally do not glow) but with a distinguishing tip for the minute hand, and lengths adjusted to touch the inside of the chapter ring and the linking ring – again, the same proportions as on the 17 series.

Viewed from the top, the 27.01 shares almost the same case plan as the 17.03 and 17.06 – including 38mm diameter and 20mm lug width. It has the same convex polished bezel and flared lugs with single radius curves in the descending and flare axes. Viewed from the side, it is a ‘squashed’ and thinned out 17-series with the caseband profile shelled out equidistant from the edges, and material removed from the caseband and lugs, leaving an extremely challenging to machine 0.8mm of thickness on the top and bottom lug surfaces. It is an expression of minimalism both in concept and physical material use. The crown remains the same as that which we’ve used on every other watch to date, but now with the dressier mixed finishing of the 19-series to reflect the watch’s position in the lineup. Due to the smaller size, it appears jewel-like and delicate – but is still perfectly comfortable to wind.

The caseback etching is from the Abyss Concept, which itself is a derivative of the peripheral band we used on the 19.01/2’s sapphire, but with gaps to leave sufficient material around the screw openings. It, and the caseback screws themselves, are positioned in a way that fills in the radius between the movement and case edge, and references the reduced material around the caseband and lugs.

Even the included strap is a little thinner – not just for wearing comfort, but also more balanced thickness and visual weight when the watch is viewed in profile. We want it to appear thin, but not insubstantially so or overpowered by its strap. Finally, 27.01 includes our new buckle: we even redesigned that to reference the lugs and be even more comfortable on the wrist, whilst introducing less bending stress (and thus reduced wear) on the strap.

27.01 is just one of the releases we have planned for 2020. Viewed in isolation, they take each individual model line further according to our new design principles; together, they give our collection a new level of coherence and futurism.

- MT

Coda: There have been recent allegations made and similarities drawn between the 27.01 and Michiel Holthinrichs’ work. It has never been our intention to do anything other than make watches the way we see fit, i.e. differently – else why bother? MT and Michiel agree that it seems a related result was been reached from independent starting points. However, the methodology applied is completely different: Holthinrichs’ 3D printing is additive, our CNC maching is subtractive. Both processes have their own characteristics which remain highly distinctive in each watch, and this is very apparent in the metal. Much design thinking has yet to be done, but both MT and Michiel believe the foundations of a collaboration have been laid…

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