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Total production: piece unique, delivered 2020

We’ve always felt a chronograph to be one of the most interactive and accessible complications. It is also of the most difficult to make well.

Today, we are proud to present our interpretation of the classical chronograph in our second generation design language: the 20.01 S1 Concept. Despite being ready to go in early 2020, greater global events threw some challenges. Fortunately, we were given an opportunity to do the watch justice – even if nearly a year later than we would have liked.

Level up

Our first flagship in 2017 – 19.01 – was a statement of intent for the new brand: to make interesting watches and avoid constraint to a particular segment or genre. The 19 series has since expanded to include the 19.02 Worldtimer with microrotor automatic movement and hand finishing, in addition to several piece uniques and a final model later this year.

The 20.01 S1 is the beginning of a new family for MING, expanding on our second generation aesthetic debuted with the 27.01 Ultra Thin. It has been in the works since 2018 and represents collaboration with the best of an even wider industry circle, pushing the envelope beyond what we achieved with the 19 series.

A world class movement and new partnerships

High end chronograph movement options are both very limited and further constrained by our symmetric design requirements. There are almost no central-stack chronographs available beyond in-house developments or non-integrated modules.

Fortunately, we found new partners at Agenhor and a movement in the form of their AgenGraphe, which is arguably one of, if not the most significant new chronograph movements of recent years. It contains many advanced and unique features such as a central chronograph core; Agenhor’s proprietary backlash-free gears; proprietary horizontal clutch mechanism; instantaneous jumping minutes; snail reset cams; overwind protection, and proprietary regulation mechanism.

Furthermore, the movement’s level of configurability meant a unique version for us. We were able to fulfil a long-held dream of reinterpreting the classical chronograph by paring the movement back to its essentials: a 60-minute counter and hand winding; with all indication hands on the central stack and the cleanest, most intuitive information display possible.

Finally, we took this even further by finishing our plates and bridges in ascending shades of DLC with diamond cut edges for both longevity of surface finishing, and to further enhance the already impressive sense of depth within the movement.

An obsessively complex case

Traditional watch cases have three major parts, ours has seven excluding gaskets, screws, tubes, crowns, pushers and other associated furniture. In total, there are 34 components to the 20.01’s case. It was developed to accommodate the large 34mm diameter AgenGraphe movement and to also allow for degrees of modularity and customization, whilst maintaining structural integrity.

The core casering carries the crown and pushers, is radially symmetric and fitted to the movement’s specific requirements. Around this goes a cage with separate left and right lug pieces and upper and lower bezels that geometrically lock the other pieces together, with the entire assembly compressed and sealed by four screws.

Our unique solution hiding the interface between lugs and bezel within the inner corner of the lugs allows the contrasting elements to appear seamless yet visually and spatially impossible: how did a continuous yet clearly separate component get inside the outer cage?

Multiple levels of contrasting adjacent finishes give the watch a perceived lightness and very dynamic way of interacting with light. It also allows us to make a larger watch to address collector requests, while maintaining wearability for a wide variety of wrist sizes.

Depth and layering

The complex case is offset by a dial that is both our simplest and most complicated to date: it appears to be a flat two-dimensional plane from some angles and illumination, but at others expands into a quicksilver pool with elements floating at various depths. It adapts to and reflects its environment yet remains clearly legible at all times.

It is a development of the 19-series dial: a thick 1.3mm sapphire with black underside coating, and no antireflective coating on top to provide a defined ‘surface’. Channels for the indices are laser etched into the upper face and filled with flat-polished HyCeram Super-LumiNova, bestowing high brightness and edge definition into the smallest elements. Finally, hands treated with Super-LumiNova X1 and minute marks etched into the underside of the top crystal. Combined, the 20.01 presents a continuously dynamic face for its owner to enjoy.

- Functions:

  • Hours and minutes
  • Central chronograph with seconds and 60-minute counter
  • Instantaneous jumping minutes

- Case, dial & hands:

  • 41.5mm diameter, 14.2mm thickness
  • Grade 5 titanium with 34 parts and 4 different finishes
  • Polished and brushed bezel and ‘flying blade’ lugs; DLC coated caseband
  • Domed sapphire crystal front and rear, double-sided antireflective coating
  • Front crystal with etched and luminous minute markings
  • 3mm thick sapphire dial with HyCeram ceramic Super-LumiNova, in partnership with DM Surfaces
  • Hands with Superluminova X1 fill
  • Rigid case without spacer rings
  • 50m water resistance

- Movement:

  • Agenhor for MING AgenGraphe Cal. 6361.M1,
  • 34mm diameter, 5.35mm thickness
  • Central chronograph with proprietary Agenhor coupling mechanism, regulator and upgraded clutch
  • Manual winding with overwind protection and twin skeletonized barrels
  • DLC coated bridges and plates in three shades with diamond cut anglage
  • ~60h power reserve at full wind
  • Movement adjusted to six positions

- Piece unique

- Made in Switzerland

MING continually aims to improve aesthetics and functionality of products where possible; to this end we reserve the right to make changes prior to final delivery.