Actually it’s both, a little more and a little less. It’s difficult to pinpoint the real birthday of MING: though we’ve now been selling watches in the public domain for just over a year, these products of course have a significantly longer gestation period. And there’s a design period before that, and a funding/business period that might or might not run concurrently…I think you see where this is headed. This week’s series of posts are perhaps a little more philosophical and candid in nature than our usual; it’s not often that one gets to look back on such a major journey. We’ve collated thoughts from each of our team members in an attempt to provide a more balanced, overall view.
We'll kick things off after the jump with Ming's and Magnus' thoughts.
The team will tell you I’m the eternal pessimist; there’s a backup plan for everything. I didn’t expect us to get anywhere near this far in the first year; I’m happy we’re still a going concern and that we remain in a position to make watches that excite us. More than anything as we look to grow the lineup into less mainstream models, we have to ask ourselves if the pieces still get us hot and bothered, regardless of what they are. The best model should always be the next one.
I really do believe this, both because I can see the board a year or two or more out from now, and I know that as much as I like what we’re selling now – I like what’s coming even more. I could tell you what’s probably already known – it’s much more difficult to design a cheaper watch than a more expensive one – but I’d rather say that the challenge of designing something with less forces you to really prioritize what’s important, but oddly also tends to spur you into ‘what if’ questions that lead to interesting results when the budgetary constraints are relaxed somewhat.
Most importantly though, I have to say a huge personal thank you to my team and our suppliers – if my own stress levels are any measure, it’s been one of the most challenging things any of us has done - both the volume and nature of the curveball tasks, and you’ve all gone above and beyond (even if sometimes it seems the watch industry has trouble keeping schedule!). I am constantly reminded we are friends first, watch lovers second, and professionals last – but by no means least.
Lastly: without the support of our friends in the media (too many to mention individually) and all of our enthusiastic customers (even more) – there’s simply no way we’d still be here today. Thank you for your confidence in us; especially those of you who are still patiently awaiting your 19.01s – we are doing our utmost and are confident they will be delivered on schedule.
Here’s to even more exciting things to come in year 2! MT
Dr Magnus Bosse
For me, the story of MING is first and foremost a story of friendship, but also of a common horological vision which rapidly took shape, and a small but multinational endeavour running at incredible pace that - for me at least – is an example of what a globalised economy can make possible.
When I mention friendship, I would like to refer to Ming Thein in the first place. We’ve known each other for more than we would dare to admit - from the early days of international watch fora (Timezone, PuristS), when this brilliant (then) kid came up with mind-blowing, completely crazy but at the same time utterly logical mechanical ideas for watch mechanisms.
We became even more close when we strolled around Kuala Lumpur during one of my frequent UN missions to Malaysia, that is also when I was introduced to Nadiah, Ming’s wife. Our friendship weathered seismic ups and downs, but never faded. In the last 2-3 years our exchanges intensified, Ming suddenly seemed to have regained an interest in watch designs - designs which were simple and clear, but at the same time had a stupendous amount of cleverly conceived tiny details which made them so fascinating on many levels of appreciation.
Ming asked me whether I would know people who could assist him in realising these ideas, and quite naively I said ‘yes, let me check’. A bit of back and forth, and finally Ming ‘asked’ me, with a quite firm (almost annoyed) voice: ‘Magnus, are you really that thick? Do you want to be part of the team, answer now: yes or no?’ - I mentioned I was naive, right? There was something that took autonomous control of my conscious, rationale decision making apparatus…
In the opening I made a strong comment about the international nature of the initiative: MING is based in Malaysia, and I reside in Vienna, same timezone also as our suppliers and partners in Switzerland. This is when I got to love and hate, at the same time, WhatsApp - an essential tool that drives the management of MING - with a restless and proliferative team that has a 5-hour head start each morning… I let you guess what that means (sleep is overrated, by the way… it must be ;-) )!
All of them are forgiven (but not for introducing me to the world of fine cigars): the team that Ming put together are a bunch of the finest gentlemen I ever had the chance to get to know - working with you - Chek, Kin-Meng, Jacky and Praneeth - is a blessing. People from different nationalities, ages, religions and social backgrounds - all working seamlessly towards a common goal. That is an aspect which nurtures us every day, and is certainly a role model.
But here is something which I also learned - it is the commitment of our partners, who are more than just suppliers - they are real partners who go the extra mile to find solutions to make MING’s exact requirements possible, and who are not simply telling us something is not possible. People who steered us through all the mistakes and errors neophyte ‘watchmakers’ would make (we know now very well why rotating disks are so rarely used on a dial!). This is not to be taken for granted in this industry.
It is a reward to work for something which - speaking also as an industry-insider and a blogger now - has become quite rare in watchmaking: a thoroughly designed (in both a technical as well as an aesthetic sense) collection of timepieces which bring a fantastic amount of horological value at their respective market level, way beyond what is usually offered. Designed to a coherent vision by a well respected individual.
Yet the greatest reward to me was to witness that these watches are actually sought after by our customers (who have all made this journey possible with their purchases), and enjoy an encouraging recognition by the industry and the industry journalists, bloggers and forum members alike.
I am deeply grateful for having been offered the chance to be part of the team, and I can only look forward for many, many additional years.
Thank you ever so much - and keep on ticking! -Dr. B.
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