Horologer MING - Watches by MING

One Year On, Part 2

Dr Magnus Bosse and Jacky Lim continue our reflections on completing the first year as a brand.

Dr Magnus Bosse

For me, the story of MING is first and foremost a story of friendship, but also of a common horological vision which rapidly took shape, and a small but multinational endeavour running at incredible pace that - for me at least – is an example of what a globalised economy can make possible.

When I mention friendship, I would like to refer to Ming Thein in the first place. We’ve known each other for more than we would dare to admit - from the early days of international watch fora (Timezone, PuristS), when this brilliant (then) kid came up with mind-blowing, completely crazy but at the same time utterly logical mechanical ideas for watch mechanisms.

We became even more close when we strolled around Kuala Lumpur during one of my frequent UN missions to Malaysia, that is also when I was introduced to Nadiah, Ming’s wife. Our friendship weathered seismic ups and downs, but never faded. In the last 2-3 years our exchanges intensified, Ming suddenly seemed to have regained an interest in watch designs - designs which were simple and clear, but at the same time had a stupendous amount of cleverly conceived tiny details which made them so fascinating on many levels of appreciation.

Ming asked me whether I would know people who could assist him in realising these ideas, and quite naively I said ‘yes, let me check’. A bit of back and forth, and finally Ming ‘asked’ me, with a quite firm (almost annoyed) voice: ‘Magnus, are you really that thick? Do you want to be part of the team, answer now: yes or no?’ - I mentioned I was naive, right? There was something that took autonomous control of my conscious, rationale decision making apparatus…

In the opening I made a strong comment about the international nature of the initiative: MING is based in Malaysia, and I reside in Vienna, same timezone also as our suppliers and partners in Switzerland. This is when I got to love and hate, at the same time, WhatsApp - an essential tool that drives the management of MING - with a restless and proliferative team that has a 5-hour head start each morning… I let you guess what that means (sleep is overrated, by the way… it must be ;-) )!

All of them are forgiven (but not for introducing me to the world of fine cigars): the team that Ming put together are a bunch of the finest gentlemen I ever had the chance to get to know - working with you - Chek, Kin-Meng, Jacky and Praneeth - is a blessing. People from different nationalities, ages, religions and social backgrounds - all working seamlessly towards a common goal. That is an aspect which nurtures us every day, and is certainly a role model.

But here is something which I also learned - it is the commitment of our partners, who are more than just suppliers - they are real partners who go the extra mile to find solutions to make MING’s exact requirements possible, and who are not simply telling us something is not possible. People who steered us through all the mistakes and errors neophyte ‘watchmakers’ would make (we know now very well why rotating disks are so rarely used on a dial!). This is not to be taken for granted in this industry.

It is a reward to work for something which - speaking also as an industry-insider and a blogger now - has become quite rare in watchmaking: a thoroughly designed (in both a technical as well as an aesthetic sense) collection of timepieces which bring a fantastic amount of horological value at their respective market level, way beyond what is usually offered. Designed to a coherent vision by a well respected individual.

Yet the greatest reward to me was to witness that these watches are actually sought after by our customers (who have all made this journey possible with their purchases), and enjoy an encouraging recognition by the industry and the industry journalists, bloggers and forum members alike.

I am deeply grateful for having been offered the chance to be part of the team, and I can only look forward for many, many additional years.

Thank you ever so much - and keep on ticking!

- Dr. B.

Jacky Lim

Friends. We all need friends. And it’s great when your friend understands what you mean when you bring up numbers like “7001”, “2892”, “15202”, “1815” or phrases like, “15mm is too thick for a 38mm”, “that devil's tail” or “those heat-blued hands”. For many years, I did not realize that I was the odd one out among my friends - almost no one quite understood my obsession with watches, much less how I made a living with them. Then along came a few more obsessives like myself. People who, thankfully, have the ability to imagine, execute and present ideas and concepts better than I can possibly think to achieve. And I’m proud to call these guys my colleagues and  proud to be a member of Team MING. =)

And as a Malaysian, I’m proud to have contributed in some small way to putting us on the horological world map. Last but not least, I am grateful to everyone - our customers, friends in the media and production partners - who has helped us achieve what we have. I look forward to the years to come. Happy birthday MING and Selamat Hari Merdeka to my fellow Malaysians reading this!

- JL