Ming 37.05 Series 2: the Moon Plays Among the Stars at Night
by Martin Green
While some might think that making a watch is difficult, making the second is often considerably more challenging. While I am not downplaying the efforts it takes to turn a dream into a reality, it is evolving that dream that makes the difference between staying a one-trick pony and becoming a part of the watchmaking community.
Ming has proved that it belongs in the last category, as the brand underwent quite a development after its inaugural model, the Ming 17.01, in 2017. Perhaps it is because Ming Thein, one of the founding fathers and the name-giver of the brand, is a commercial photographer who had many sensational watches before his lens over the years from some of the world’s most desirable brands. Perhaps that is why Thein understands the power of details and has created a unique style with a very powerful design language.
This is what we also see in the 37.05 Series 2, which is itself an evolution of the initial 37.05, as its name indicates. Compared to its predecessor, the 37.05 Series 2 has a more industrial look yet with a romantic touch. at is This is thanks to the complex dial, which covers three levels. The first part is made from sapphire and is laser-etched with dashes indicating the minute intervals between the hour markers, brand name, logo, and stars, all of which are filled in with HyCeram, a luminous material.
Below that we get into the metal with a beautiful anthracite dial with a sunburst pattern, or more accurately, a moonburst pattern, as Ming chose the moon phase display as the center for the rays. The anthracite dial also features holes shaped like stars. These are also on the disk below the dial and connected to the moon phase display at six o’clock. As the luminous material is in a different color, you get a bit of a light show at night that also changes with the phases of the moon.
This all adds up to ‘serious fun’ as on one end you have the fully functional moon phase display with the stars adding a lighter note. Below the novel moon phase display is a date window, which I’m happy to see has a disk the same color as the dial. These can be quite intrusive at times, but Ming nicely integrated it into the overall design of the watch.
The case is also a thing of beauty, with the flared lugs typical of the brand. While only 38mm in diameter, it looks much more significant, as there is nearly no bezel to speak of. Despite the elaborate dial setup the overall height is only 11.9 mm, making for a very balanced result. Ming opted for a domed sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating providing a nice effect on the dial and further aiding legibility, which is already top-notch thanks to the bold shape of the hands.
I am always keen on water resistance as I think it indicates how bothered brands are with achieving optimum performance. Getting round watches to be water resistant is not rocket science, but it does require extra effort and results in extra cost. The Ming 37.05 Series 2 is water-resistant up to an impressive 100 meters.
Humble beginnings make for a smart choice
For the movement, Ming made a very interesting choice, opting for the Sellita SW288-1. This is a caliber based on the popular SW200 automatic with the addition of a moon phase complication. While a capable movement, its downside is a relatively low power reserve of around 40 hours and it is fairly mainstream. That’s why Ming completely overhauled the movement, passionately skeletonizing it and applying contrasting finishes aligning with the front of the watch.
Ming also played with colors to create an increased sense of depth, with a rhodium plating on the bridge holding the going train, which goes nicely with its brushed finish, and a dark matte coating on the other bridges. Now you have an exotic-looking movement that is reliable, precise, and easy to service.
This strategy also allows Ming to keep the price in a pleasant region compared to what the 37.05 Series 2 has to offer. For CHF 4,950, you get a watch with a thoroughly thought-out design, a generous dose of original character, and a fun execution on one of the industry’s oldest complications: the moon phase.
The watch is both easy to use, its mainstream movement also offers reliability and precision, and its modest origins are cleverly counteracted by redesigning all the bridges and giving them a unique finish. This way, you get the best of both worlds.
While a power reserve of around 40 hours is on the modest side, this is the only downside of what is a very enticing moon phase watch limited to just 500 pieces. I say just, because the demand is much higher and, unfortunately, it has already sold out.
For more information, please visit www.ming.watch/products/ming-37-05-series-2
Quick Facts Ming 37.05 Series 2
Functions: Hours, minutes, date, moon phase
Case: 38 x 11.9 mm, 316L stainless steel
Movement: manual winding caliber Sellita for Ming SW288.M1, 38-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph/4Hz
Limitation: 500 pieces, sold out
Price: 4,950 Swiss francs
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