I’ve truly enjoyed my time with various Ming watches. I’ve purchased a handful of them and have always marveled at the attention to detail and innovative use of materials. Since discovering them several years ago, though, I had never gone hands-on with one of the brand’s more expensive models. Today, I’ll share my thoughts on the Ming 29.01 Dubai Edition.

The Ming watches that I own all retailed for below CHF 5,000. That’s not insignificant money, but the brand offers a whole other world above this price point. Some watches cost multiples of my current threshold. I’ve always liked them, but I’d never had the opportunity to handle and wear one for any length of time. Well, the 29.01 Dubai Edition had a nice lengthy stay with me recently, and I enjoyed the experience. Was it different enough to substantiate the price delta? And how do the lower-priced pieces fare in comparison?

Ming 29.01 Dubai Edition

The Ming 29.01 Dubai Edition

The Ming 29.01 Dubai Edition debuted at Dubai Watch Week in November 2023. It’s a limited edition of 25 pieces based on the 29.01 Worldtimer. This watch, however, contains Arabic writing on its dial to signify the various cities. It is made of Grade 5 titanium and is 40mm in diameter with an 11.9mm thickness. The price is CHF 22,000, which makes it roughly four times more expensive than any Ming watch I’d held previously.

Ming 29.01 Dubai Edition movement

The starting point for the higher price is the movement. Inside, the watch uses a Schwarz-Etienne micro-rotor caliber with 5N rose-gold-plated bridges and diamond-cut anglage. I love a micro-rotor movement, and this one is lovely to behold. Here, it has been adjusted to five positions and has a power reserve of roughly 70 hours.

A worldtimer

The 29.01 Dubai Edition is a worldtimer, and the dial rings show various numbers and cities in Arabic. No, I neither speak nor read Arabic, which meant I was more of a distant observer of this watch. Still, it’s impressive how smoothly the dial ring rotates via the crown. Credit a hidden ball-bearing track for the seamless operation. Notably, a third track has been added to account for those cities that observe Daylight Saving Time. The dial and the hands are made of sapphire, and they’re utterly miraculous in the light. Like almost every Ming watch I’ve encountered, they also morph color-wise depending on the viewing angle and lighting conditions.

Ming 29.01 Dubai Edition sapphire hands

The details make the 29.01 Dubai Edition special

I was listening to brand founder Ming Thein on a podcast recently, and he mentioned that a real challenge (I’m paraphrasing here) is to make great affordable watches that respectfully carry the brand’s DNA. From my vantage point, Ming has done that very well. As someone very familiar with those watches, reviewing a more expensive piece like the 29.01 Dubai Edition was a bit daunting. How would this watch differentiate itself from its lower-priced relatives? Would it still offer enough value?

Ming 29.01 Dubai Edition profile view

Well, I’m pleased to say that the 29.01 Dubai Edition does deliver with its details. I mentioned the sapphire hands, and they’re fascinating to view, especially from the side. However, when taking in this watch from the side, it’s here that it separates itself from more affordable Ming offerings. The crystal is quite possibly the loveliest detail on the watch. This sapphire dome encapsulates the internal bezel and creates a flowing, liquid appearance. The sapphire merges onto the case sides without interruption, and it’s brilliant. A side effect of this is that the watch appears much larger than its 40mm diameter.

The other detail that stood out to me is the case finishing in general. Ming’s blade design is on display here, which is used throughout the brand’s range from time to time. On the 29.01 Dubai Edition, though, the media blasting is incredibly fine, and the transitions from blasted to polished surfaces are incredibly sharp. It certainly looks more expensive.

Ming 29.01 Dubai Edition on wrist

That upscale feeling

Whether it’s watches or some other item, many brands offer product ranges at different price points. Luxury car brands do this well where, say, an Audi A4 has a strong resemblance to the A8. It may even contain similar technology and small, thoughtful flourishes of splendor that give an owner a taste of what the company can offer. Stepping up to the flagship, though, reveals more capability and far more attention to detail. Ming has done exactly that with its products, and the 29.01 Dubai Edition does feel like a top-of-the-line model. Even the Jean Rousseau Elastogator (caoutchouc and Alcantara) strap feels like a step up from the already-great accompaniments to other models.

Final takeaways

After spending serious time with the Ming 29.01 Dubai Edition, I’m left with the feeling that the company knows what it’s doing in terms of creating product stratification. This watch feels like it’s on a different level compared to its less expensive relatives. Then again, it should! On the other hand, owners of more affordable Ming watches shouldn’t feel slighted. These watches stand up far better than an entry-level product should in terms of finishing and dial innovation. The fact that Ming has managed to build a brand that manages to keep its design DNA at a high level throughout the price range is admirable. All of Ming’s watches are excellent; it’s just that a piece like the 29.01 is even more so.

For more information on the Ming 29.01 Dubai Edition, visit the brand’s official site.

Watch specifications

29.01 Dubai Edition
Sapphire dial with HyCeram ceramic Super-LumiNova X1 fill, metallic 24-hour disc with Super-LumiNova X1 fill
Case Material
Grade 5 titanium
Case Dimensions
40mm (diameter) × 11.9mm (thickness)
Deep box-style sapphire crystal front (bezel-less construction) with antireflective coating on both sides
Case Back
Grade 5 titanium, affixed with four screws, and domed sapphire crystal with antireflective coating on both sides
Schwarz-Etienne for Ming Cal. ASE 222 — automatic with manual winding, ~70-hour power reserve micro-rotor, 31 jewels, 5N-plated bridges, adjusted to five positions
Water Resistance
5 ATM (50m)
Black Elastogator (22mm width) by Jean Rousseau with stainless steel keeperless tuck buckle with micro-adjustment
Time (hours and minutes), world-time function with DST display
CHF 22,000
Two years
Special Note(s)
Limited run of 25 pieces