Hands-On With The MING 22.01 GMT Gilt
Roughly one year ago, the new MING 22.01 GMT debuted and was available for order. Now the watches have started to ship, and I was fortunate enough to receive my Gilt variant. It’s time to go hands-on with this piece, and I hope that the pictures do it just an ounce of justice because this is a really impressive watch.
It’s not every day that I receive an email from Praneeth Rajsingh from MING Watches, but there it was one recent morning. After nearly a year — my, how time flies — my MING 22.01 GMT was finally ready to ship. After paying the remaining balance and waiting a few days, the faithful DHL Express truck rolled up and handed me a package. I hadn’t exactly forgotten about the watch, but I did need to go read my original introductory article from March 2022. Unlike with other MING models, this was a case where I had never seen the watch in person before taking delivery of my own. Well, I am now in a position to provide a far more informed review. Also, as these are now hitting the secondary market with a relatively low premium, perhaps it might cause someone to give the 22.01 a second look.
A recap of the MING 22.01 GMT
Let’s jog your memory and recap the 22.01 GMT. MING opted to release a more affordable dual-time-zone watch, the brand’s first since 2018. With this watch, MING also brought a new 38mm Grade 5 titanium case. Inside, the 22.01 GMT uses the Sellita SW330-2 automatic movement with an independently adjustable 24-hour hand. Yes, this watch is a so-called “office” or “caller” GMT. The movement has been modified by Schwarz-Etienne of Switzerland, the partner company that assembles the watches, by removing both the running seconds hand and the date function. Furthermore, when these watches were announced, the brand brought us two variants. The Kyoto version features a gray and green motif. The Gilt variant that you see here combines dark gold and cyan. MING has produced 1,000 of each, which makes it one of the brand’s larger releases.
Going for the Gilt
I knew I wanted one of these watches because of the overall look and the construction. But which one? It wasn’t an easy choice between the Kyoto and Gilt versions. Convention led me towards the Kyoto, but I ultimately chose the Gilt because it differed from most watches in my collection. Upon receiving the watch and opening the box, my “risk” was rewarded as soon as I saw it. This watch does have a unique colorway, yet it’s highly wearable. The goldfish-brown tones aren’t overpowering, and the cyan is almost unrecognizable unless the lighting is bright and at the right angle.
A watch with many faces
When I received the MING 22.01 GMT, I happened to be in a place with a lot of sunshine. I unboxed the watch inside, but within an hour or so, I moved to the patio to grab a wrist shot to share with some friends. The effect was surprising. With this watch, MING used a flat sapphire crystal with an antireflective coating on both sides. The underside also has etched indices that are filled with lumed HyCeram X1. Below the crystal, there’s another layer of sapphire that sits on top of the cyan and dark gold brass dial. This sapphire layer has a 24-hour track in gold printing along with sectors. With two layers of sapphire, the effect at certain angles and in specific lighting is wild. As you can see above, it’s 3D and gives off a liquid vibe. The colors also disappear to a large extent.
MING’s watches are all about the details, but if I’m being honest, the dials are their calling cards. This is no different with the 22.01 GMT, but whereas watches like the 17.09 or 27.02 reward an owner who picks up a loupe, this watch is different. Don’t get me wrong, this textured brass dial is beautifully finished and lovely under magnification. Yet the mesmerizing effect of the dial at different angles makes it a slightly different proposition when considering how to best enjoy it. I’ll make one final observation about the textured dial that speaks to the endless personalities of this watch. An LCD digital watch screen is what came to mind under certain conditions — cool stuff indeed!
More details that make this watch special
As a typical nerd, I like to line up items with a similar theme to spot differences, evolution, and so on. I did this with the MING 22.01 GMT and the rest of my small collection. I realized that this watch contains a unique bezel because it’s concave. It’s the polar opposite of all the other pieces, but because it’s polished, it’s not obvious from photos. In hand, it’s an additional precision detail that makes the watch feel higher-end. I like the difference, and it works with the very detail-intensive dial. The polished case also strikes the right balance between sporty and elegant. For those who are wondering about the lume, both the crystal and main hands are bright and long-lasting.
For whatever reason, I’ve always tended more toward simple three-hand watches unless I’m wearing a chronograph. A GMT-style watch isn’t normally my cup of tea due to the extra clutter. When MING gave me a heads-up about the 22.01 GMT, I had reservations before seeing the photos. Aside from the overall design, the main determinant for buying one of these is for a reason that many would consider a detractor. Namely, the 24-hour hand is borderline invisible due to its tone-on-tone coloration. Furthermore, if I’m being honest, the 24-hour track isn’t the easiest to read with my mid-40s eyes (bifocals, anyone?). In a way, the complication on this watch is a bit decorative. It certainly works, but you need to hunt for it. Honestly, I love it because it comes off as a conceptual take on a very traditional complication. Setting the 24-hour hand, by the way, is simple via the crown.
The MING 22.01 GMT shipped on a medium-brown Barenia leather strap with the brand’s game-changing tuck buckle. More on that bold latter comment in a second. The brown is nice, but as my friend Patrick (who also received one) said, it’s very brown. I swapped the strap over to an olive Jean Rousseau Barenia strap, and I think it’s perfect. Regarding the tuck buckle (read more here), it’s so simple, good, and clean. Due to my smaller wrist size, the possibility of avoiding an unsightly strap tail is welcome, and yet there’s no thick deployant clasp.
The Ming 22.01 GMT is classy and distinctive
I’ve been wearing the MING 22.01 GMT quite a bit since taking delivery several weeks ago. In fact, I have taken it to the USA and Switzerland for both work and pleasure. These days, it’s often nice to wear something unique and under the radar yet classy. The 22.01 GMT fits that bill well, and with its 100m water resistance, I could easily throw it on a rubber Jean Rousseau strap for the pool. The case size also works wonderfully on my wrist. At 38mm × 43.9mm × 10.7mm, it has presence while being an easy under-the-sleeve companion. Oddly, despite the titanium construction, it doesn’t feel overly light, but I mean that in a good way. Perhaps two layers of sapphire on the top side plus sapphire on the case back are responsible for the heft.
The MING 22.01 GMT is the most complex watch I own from the brand, so it was a new venture. I’m not disappointed at all, though, even if the 24-hour complication is more abstract than on a dedicated tool watch with the same functionality. This piece carries forth the clean, modern ethos of other MING watches while continuing to introduce uniquely constructed dials. It’s really beautiful in person and, unsurprisingly, finished with extreme care. When these watches were sold, they were listed for CHF 3,250. Currently, I see a few listed Chrono24 for a small premium. If you missed out on these the first time and regret it, I really think it’s worth taking another look. As far as rankings, this watch will easily battle with the 27.02 as my favorite from the brand thus far.