Ming is back with a watch that many have anticipated and requested since the brand’s inception: a dive watch that shares the aesthetics of their dress oriented pieces. The new diver, reference 18.01 H41 builds on the Abyss Concept, a very limited run of prototypes that Ming quietly released last year, giving us a hint at what was in store, and what it might look like. The production version of Ming’s diver is easily recognizable as a Ming watch at a quick glance, but has been tuned and adjusted to meet the needs of real divers, with plenty of well considered details and Ming touches added along the way.
Ming 18.01 H41
- Case Material: Titanium
- Dial: Black
- Dimensions: 40 x 12.9 x 46mm
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Water Resistance: 1,000 meters
- Crown: Screw down
- Movement: ETA 2824-2 modified by Schwarz-Etienne for Ming
- Strap/bracelet: Titanium bracelet, rubber strap
- Price: Two tone on rubber strap: CHF 2,950; Two tone on titanium bracelet: CHF 3,250; All-DLC on rubber strap: CHF 3,250
- Expected Release: Available now, delivery in November
This is Ming’s second release of the year, following the 27.01, which debuted the next generation of Ming’s design language. While the 18.01 shares certain key design traits with the 27.01 (and all Ming watches), it exists at the other end of the spectrum in terms of the type of watch that it actually is. Ming’s stated goal with the 18.01 was to create a functional tool that can sit alongside Ming’s other watches, but with real wrist presence. It’s Ming’s largest watch to date, measuring 40mm in diameter, and 12.9mm thick. That’s still very thin for a watch with 1,000 meters of water resistance, but within the context of other Mings, it represents a significant upsizing.
The 18.01 is made from titanium, and is available in a DLC coated version in addition to a more standard untreated variant, which Ming refers to as “Two tone,” given the contrast between the titanium case and a DLC coated solid steel beze. A solid bezel was chosen to eliminate the possibility of losing a bezel insert when the watch is under pressure during a dive. The dial layout and hands will look familiar to anyone who has examined Ming’s prior watches. Less typical, though, is the seconds hand – this is only the second Ming watch to have one, a necessity if used for diving to check that the watch is running at any given moment.
A number of well thought out design details that are typical of the brand are worth highlighting. The caseback has a high friction surface that is meant to keep the watch planted on a wetsuit (or any other surface), and the crown tube has a red indicator that is visible only when unscrewed. There’s also plenty of lume, both on the dial and bezel, including the use of a HyCeram compound on the dial ring. This is a luminous ceramic application of Super Luminova that has been infused with sapphire.
It’s notable that another trait shared between the 18.01 and other Mings is the lack of numerals or minute demarcations on the dial, which could be a concern for dive watch enthusiasts who prefer Arabics as a way to quickly check elapsed time, either while on a dive, warming up a frozen pizza, or completing any number of other daily tasks, both mundane and profound. I think that while some purists may find fault herel, the dial layout as presented in the 18.01 is so within the Ming wheelhouse that it’s easy to understand the decision they made. Concentric circles with simple lines to mark the hours make for a highly legible dial, and draws a clear connection to other watches in the Ming collection. Minutes are marked on the bezel for the first quarter hour, so precise timing is possible and intuitive for short durations.
While the launch of the 18.01 is exciting for Ming fans and collectors, it’s not the only story to come out of this release. Right along with their first production diver, Ming is unveiling a new bracelet that will be of interest to owners of Mings past and present. Ming’s Universal Bracelet is meant to serve as a perfect aesthetic complement to the Ming case shape, utilizing specially developed curved end links that match the contours of the case in the same manner as Ming’s curved straps.
The Universal Bracelet features both half and ⅔ removable links to size a precise fit on any wrist. The clasp is also reversible, and allows the wearer to close either the 6:00 or 12:00 side first (which should make the left handed among us happy). Though the bracelet is titanium, Ming has designed it to match their watches made from both titanium and stainless steel.
The 18.01 went live on Ming’s website this morning and promptly sold out. But, fear not! Ming has split the release of this watch into two batches, so if you missed out today, set a reminder for 2:00 AM GMT on August 22, when the next set will go live.
Both the 18.01 and Universal Bracelet are expected to be delivered in November. The 18.01 starts at CHF 2,950, with the bracelet priced at CHF 500. Ming