Ming Watches, a relatively young yet rapidly growing brand, has garnered significant attention and acclaim within the horological world. Founded by the visionary photographer and designer Ming Thein, the brand's journey began in 2017 with a clear mission to redefine the art of watchmaking through an emphasis on simplicity and minimalism.

As the brand started to make its mark, it faced its fair share of challenges while simultaneously achieving key milestones, eventually forging a strong and passionate community of watch enthusiasts. In this article, we’ll get to know about this brand’s history, their design language, and a peek at some of their top offerings.


Short History of Ming Watches

Source: Ming


Ming Thein's artistic vision, honed through his career as a photographer, served as the cornerstone of Ming Watches' foundation. With a desire to craft timepieces that transcend the realm of mere wristwatches, Ming set out to create watches that melded together architectural and artistic elements, resonating with enthusiasts seeking something distinct and unique.

Debuting in 2017, Ming Watches faced a competitive landscape but quickly gained attention for their novel approach to design. The brand navigated its early challenges with resilience, focusing on creating timepieces that exuded sophistication while offering a minimalist appeal. Through relentless dedication to craftsmanship and design, Ming Watches established itself as a noteworthy player in the watch industry. The result is a strong library of modern-looking watches that are recognizable from a distance.


Ming Watches' Rising Popularity

The brand's rise to prominence can be attributed, in part, to its strategic use of social media and endorsements from influential watch enthusiasts. Positive reviews from industry experts and glowing recommendations from satisfied owners have also played a vital role in catapulting Ming Watches into the spotlight. Their commitment to maintaining a distinct identity within a niche market has cultivated a dedicated following and continues to draw new enthusiasts into the fold.


Source: Miguel Bueno


In 2019, Ming won the “Horological Revelation” prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve (GPHG). This prize recognizes an outstanding young brand that has been in existence for less than 10 years, and winning this award has definitely put Ming on the map of many a watch lover.


Growing Pains

Source: Watch Rant


All this growth is not without its issues. One of the challenges that Ming faced was with their MING x Massena LAB limited edition 17.09 watch, where pictures began surfacing on social media with hour and minute hand misalignment. Ming responded to this issue by sending an update to buyers explaining the issues and how they would be solved with upgraded components, while also adding in an extended warranty and a voucher for a new strap to sweeten the deal. The action taken by Ming was seen as a good response to the situation, and better than how some other brands would have responded.


The Design Language of Ming Watches

Ming Watches' commitment to simple, minimalist design is at its core. Their watches exhibit a design language that favors refined elegance over lavishness and celebrates simplicity. Each Ming watch is painstakingly created to be a work of art, drawing influence from architectural elements.


Source: Ming Instagram


Clean, unadorned dials that are highlighted by distinctive case forms that set them apart from traditional designs are among the brand's characteristic design elements. Additionally, Ming Watches prides itself in combining premium components and superb craftsmanship to create timepieces that are wonderful artistic expressions.


The Iconic Models


Source: Ming


Among Ming Watches' impressive collection, the Ming 17 series stands as a testament to the brand's innovative spirit. The Ming 17.06, in particular, has captured the imagination of watch aficionados worldwide. Its defining feature lies in the use of sapphire crystal, artfully integrated into the case design, creating an alluring visual effect that sets it apart from its peers.

The timepiece also boasts a captivating gradient dial that adds depth and dimension, enhancing the minimalist aesthetic while serving as a canvas for the play of light and shadows. Under the hood, the Ming 17.06 is powered by a precise and reliable movement, cementing its position as an extraordinary horological creation.



Source: Ming


The Ming 37.05 Moonphase is a limited edition timepiece that was introduced in 2021. It is Ming’s first-ever moonphase model and maintains the company’s sleek and minimalist design language. The watch features a two-layered dial within its elegant 38mm stainless steel case, with the bottom piece being constructed from a textured metal that blends from midnight blue to black, while the upper layer consists of a clear sapphire dial carrying HyCeram indexes made from luminous accents on a ceramic composite.

The moonphase itself is displayed right below the hour hands, but unlike traditional indicators, Ming’s innovative design shows the different phases of the moon through a ring-shaped aperture, which completes entirely when it’s a full moon.



Source: Ming


The 2020 Ming 19.02 DLC Worldtimer is a stunning timepiece that showcases Ming Watches' commitment to craftsmanship and innovation. The DLC-coated stainless steel case exudes a sleek and modern look, complemented by a distinctive sunburst dial with a world map motif.

The world timer function allows tracking of multiple time zones with ease, catering to globetrotters and international travelers. Powered by a reliable automatic movement, the watch ensures accurate timekeeping. With its limited production and unique design, the Ming 19.02 DLC Worldtimer is a sought-after collector's piece that exemplifies the brand's dedication to excellence in horology.


Will Seiko fans like Ming Watches?

Seiko has a large and dedicated fanbase, and many of its fans appreciate the brand's reputation for producing reliable, durable, and affordable watches. Seiko's designs often lean towards classic and practical styles, catering to a wide range of tastes. 

Ming Watches, on the other hand, appeals to those who seek clean, minimalist designs with a contemporary and artistic touch. The brand's commitment to craftsmanship and attention to detail resonates with watch enthusiasts who appreciate horology as an art form.


Source: Ben's Watch Club


While Seiko and Ming Watches have distinct design languages, they both share a dedication to quality and precision in their timepieces. This common commitment to crafting well-made watches can attract Seiko fans who are looking to venture beyond the brand they know and love.

Not unlike Seiko’s colorful collaborations through its Seiko 5 Sports lineup, Ming Watches' limited editions add an element of exclusivity and innovation that could intrigue Seiko enthusiasts seeking something unique and special. The allure of owning a watch with limited availability and potential artistic collaborations may be a strong draw for collectors and enthusiasts looking to expand their collections.


Wrap Up

In a relatively short period, Ming Watches has emerged as a beacon of elegance and minimalism in the world of horology. The brand's commitment to design excellence, combined with a dedication to creating exceptional timepieces, has positioned them as a formidable player in the watch industry. As they continue to shape their legacy through artful timekeeping, the watch world eagerly anticipates the next chapter in Ming Watches' journey.


Source: mod_by_kellan


Want to build a watch that will give you the Ming vibes? Seiko mods can certainly help you do that! Since minimalistic yet artistic is one of the core tenets of their design, you'd want to use a sleek dress-style case like the NMK912 and pair it with a minimalist dial and handset combo. We do have a couple of minimalist dials meant for tool watch builds, but you'd want something with limited markers for a really clean look. For the handset, you'd preferably use a skeleton style set where the insides are hollow.

Happy modding!

August 06, 2023 — Jeremiah A

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