Value evolved: the new 17.06, and recognition in GPHG 2019

Since the 17.01’s production ended and the final watches delivered, we get emails on an almost daily basis asking if there’s either a secret stash or if we’re planning to make them again. Thing is, the more watches we design and put into production, the more we learn about both the process and our customers. The 17.01 will remain the genesis of MING, but today we introduce the first of what I consider to be the true successors to the line: the 17.06. We had to make all of the watches in between to get to the 17.06, because without the experience, we wouldn’t be able to improve.

17.06 is a time-only watch with an all-new case construction built around the robust ETA 2824-2 movement, in 316L stainless steel for some extra presence. It remains a classically proportioned 38mm watch, with lugs accommodating both our curved straps and straight ones. The first edition has either an etched copper dial with a polished-brushed case, or an all-matte black dial with anthracite DLC case. Both watches carry identical dimensions for all components, but have very different wrist presence. They are now supplied with a hand-stitched strap from Jean Rousseau Paris, and all-new handmade leather travel pouch by Koji Sato and our improved sustainable outer packaging.

More importantly, the 17.06 represents the new entry point to the MING brand and tremendous bang for the buck. We had a tall order to fill the 17.01’s value proposition, and we wanted to take the time needed to get it right. I am confident we will meet and exceed expectations, with every single element of the watch improved to the limits set by a starting price of just CHF 1,250. Believe me when I say it’s much more difficult to create a coherent, uncompromised design with a small budget than a large one – there are lots of things that are simply just too expensive to do. And we’re proud to have this recognized by the jury of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve who have selected the 17.06 Copper as a finalist for the Challenge category of the 2019 competition.

Yet, 17.06 could not have happened without the intervening watches. Without 19.01, 19.02 and the 18.01 Abyss Concept we would not have access to Schwarz-Etienne’s regulation and assembly facilities, or be able to offer Jean Rousseau straps across the entire range. Without 17.03 we would not have the experience required to reengineer the case to no longer require front loading assembly, but still preserving the rigid spacerless construction. And without our loyal customers, we wouldn’t have a reason to do it at all.

In fact, the more of you I meet, the more I feel that ‘customer’ is the wrong word – in reality, you’re not buying into just a watch, you’re buying into an idea and a vision. It is the pursuit of this vision that drives us to create watches that speak to us and feel rightbased on our collective experience of ownership at all ends of the market, that keeps my ideas flowing and driving us to make each model better than the last. After all, we are not just making watches to sell: we’re making the watches we want ourselves. On any given day in the office, I’m always pleased to see that it’s not just the flagship prototypes that are worn – there is love for all of our models. So, a huge thank you from the MING team for believing in a little upstart brand from Kuala Lumpur.

I probably say this every year, but if you asked me not that long ago if we’d be doing what we’re doing today – I’d express serious disbelief. But thanks to our dedicated fans around the world and our hardworking partners who share our values – Schwarz-Etienne, SWC, Jean Rousseau Paris, Swisspack, Koji Sato and a host of others – we’re not just here, but planning for even bigger things. I and the team can’t wait to share them with you: I think I can say with some confidence that this is just the beginning for MING, and all going well, we might have a surprise or two remaining this year...  MT

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