We take a look at the MING Abyss 18.01 Abyss Concept, a new foray for the detail-obsessed micro brand.
Today we’ll give you look at the MING Abyss 18.01 Abyss Concept, a model that brings in several firsts for the small micro-brand that designs its watches in Malaysia, but primarily utilizes Swiss suppliers for their construction. It’s been nearly two years since we first took a look at a MING watch, the titanium 17.01, but they’ve definitely remained on our radar. With a focus on details, serious quality, and often working with high-end watch maker Schwarz-Etienne, these aren’t your typical Kickstarter micro-branded watches. In fact, their current lineup of watches start at 7,500 CHF, so that should give you a good idea of the brand’s target customer. MING’s watches thus far could perhaps best be described as dressy with a touch of modern. With unique dials and what has become a hallmark for the brand lugs in the use of flared lugs, the watches don’t appear as delicate, but they certainly couldn’t be classified as tool watches. All that changes now with the MING 18.01 Abyss Concept, though, as the brand truly dips its toe into the water.
To read the press information on the MING 18.01 Abyss Concept, one comes away with the belief that this new diver was made simply to see if the brand could come up with a watch that met the needs of licensed divers on its own team while keeping away from conceiving a “me-too” piece. After purchasing a pressure tester suitable for 1,250 meters, the brand set about designing the watch. A number of cases were made and to crib directly from the press release, the screw backs were “bookmatched” to the case. Each was tested and survived to 1,250 meters and, although, MING was not initially set upon releasing any of these to the public, their adoration for their creation ultimately won out and the concept will be sold. But there’s a catch: only 10 of these will be available for purchase.
At 40mm, the MING 18.01 Abyss Concept uses stainless steel as a case material, which is a first for the brand that normally chooses titanium. The watch will come in at under 14mm in thickness and 46mm in length; this is wearable in keeping with the rest of the MING collection. Also, in its use of an ETA 2824-2, this becomes the first MING with a running seconds hand. Of note, in addition to the sapphire crystal, the outer edge of the dial is actually crafted of composite sapphire – similar to what has been used in the prior 17.01 and 17.03 models from the company.
A heavy dose of Super-LumiNova X1 finds its way to the dial, hands, and polished ceramic bezel insert. The bezel is a 60-click unidirectional affair that’s especially eye-catching due to the inward curvature of its edges and the fact that it lacks knurling. Some might consider this an obvious nod to form over function, but MING states that the smooth edge was easy to grip with wet hands.
Coming back to the movement within the MING 18.01 Abyss Concept, the ETA 2824-2 was chosen due to its reliability and because it is easy to service. Work was done by La Division du Temps (a sister brand of Schwarz-Etienne) to remove the date detent normally found on the ETA and the movements have been adjusted to five positions. Related to setting the time and crown, it is screw-down and the tube contains coloring that makes it obvious to the wearer if it has not been closed correctly. The watch will ship with a stainless bracelet containing a double deployant buckle as well as five Jean Rousseau leather straps. Rounding out the nice details is a leather pouch created by Studio Koji Sato and a Pelican case.
Now that we’ve waded through the specifications, what do I think of the MING 18.01 Abyss Concept? Honestly, I love the looks of this watch. Somehow, the brand managed to come up with what I think is a truly fresh-looking dive watch that still retains MING’s design DNA. It’s legible, clean and wonderfully sized. In fact, the only cue that I take issue with is the somewhat largish application of the brand’s name on the bezel. But I can get past this and I’d love to try one on for size. At 6,500 CHF and available via the brand’s website at time of publishing (delivery will be immediate as all 10 of the watches are ready per the picture above), this is not an inexpensive diver. But, as a design that actually works in practice, I don’t think they’ll have much issue in selling this run of concept watches. MING was extremely non committal as to whether they’ll put a diver into serial production or if this run of 10 will end things just as they’re beginning. Let’s hope for the former as this is a real looker.
For more information on the MING 18.01 Abyss Concept, head to the official MING site.
Michael was born in South Florida in the USA. As a full-time role, he works in the Automotive Industry. He's lived and worked in many locations and when he's not cruising at 30,000 feet, he calls Germany home. Michael became... read more