Today we presented our final watch for 2019 - the MING 17.06 Slate. On behalf of the team, I'd sincerely like to thank everyone for the enormous support this watch received.
However, it's been a bittersweet night as we've received countless e-mails and social media messages from frustrated collectors and supporters about missing out on the 17.06 Slate, including a few saying that our restricted production was intentional.
While we've addressed the challenges of production and launch logistics directly with various collectors and in bits and pieces over time, we wanted to revisit it once more and I hope I can shed some light on what happens behind the scene.
Let's start with production numbers and demand - there are a few inescapable realities: a) we're a young, self-funded, independent watch brand with no manufacturing capabilities of our own, b) there are supply constraints, particularly when it comes to ETA movements, c) watch production is a complex, rigorously planned affair with an elaborate supply chain and lead times of 18-24 months (especially if you want to work with some of the best in the business).
What this means is that we have to decide what watches we are going to make and how many of them we are going to make nearly two years before we even present them to you, the watch enthusiast community and our supporters. Some watches do better than others, some worse and in order to build a sustainable brand, we have to make conservative decisions and once made, these decisions cannot be reversed or altered.
In layman's terms, the production volume for the 17.06 (Copper, Monolith and Slate) was fixed in mid-2018. Even if we wanted to make more watches now, it's simply not possible. We elected to make these many 17.06s because we had access to a limited number of ETA movements (especially ones that met our quality requirements) and furthermore, had limited resources to allocate to various projects like the 19.02 Worldtimer, Abyss Concept and future launches.
Once our volumes are fixed and we are ready to launch, there comes the matter of launch logistics. While we've never publicly announced this, all of our launches always take place at 1PM GMT. As a brand that sells watches directly to collectors around the world online, we had to find a time when most of the world would be awake and 1PM GMT is that sweet spot. Unfortunately, this does mean that it is quite early along the Pacific Coast or quite late in Oceania but it would be impossible to find a time that works for everyone.
With launch timing fixed, we have to think about how we launch the watch. Is there a press release? Do we do an extended set of teasers? Do we take pre-registrations? Over the last two years, we've tried several approaches to varying degrees of success. For the 17.06 Slate, we opted not to do a press junket, extended teasers or pre-registrations because it was a minor variant and not a major new launch.
We did not send out a pre-launch alert via e-mail because previous feedback had indicated that two emails in the space of a week was too frequent for many of our subscribers and felt like spam. We did not send out mailers 15/30/45 minutes before launch because this was poorly received when we did so for the 17.03 GMT Blue Edition and the feedback was to only send mailers when the watch was available to order.
As you can see, a) all of our choices are intentional and the result of trying to listen to feedback and avoid overhyping/overselling something and b) there is no perfect system. Incorporating one piece of feedback means another segment of people are left discontent. This is unfortunate, unintentional but also unavoidable.
I hope I've been able to shed some light on the production numbers and launch for the MING 17.06. The entire team is appreciative of the support from the MING community and it is never our intention for anyone to have a less than stellar experience.
All we can promise is that we'll try our best and if you were unable to secure a watch this time, there's plenty more in the pipeline...
Published: December 2019