Among vintage watches you'll sometimes find a type of dial with a compelling texture descriptively called "honeycomb." It has an interesting look, it provides excellent contrast for a legible dial and collectors love it, so it's kind of baffling that more brands haven't brought it back as part of the boom in vintage-inspired watches. Now, two independent brands have combined forces to show just how great a honeycomb dial can look — and that it can work well on a totally contemporary watch.
The two brands are Massena Lab and Ming, both small companies with a collector cult following. While Massena Lab's primary activity is collaborations, this is the first time that Ming has teamed up with another brand. The watch is Ming's 17.09 with the brand's signature density of design details, from distinctive lug shape to indices that appear to float above the dial.
Both Ming and Massena Lab were founded by watch collectors, so it's no surprise to find these watches full of the type of interesting features enthusiasts tend to appreciate. These range from thoughtful design touches to ergonomics (the watch's 38mm diameter is very wearable) and finishing. For example: those hour markers that appear to float are, in fact, etched into the underside of a sapphire crystal and filled with Super-LumiNova to glow strongly in the dark along with the hands. The Ming and Massena logos at 3 and 9 o'clock are also lumed.
Then, of course, there's the striking dial with its three-dimensional honeycomb pattern, which comes in either a black execution or an appropriately "honey-colored" version. The design echoed on the case back, underneath which is a version of the Sellita SW330-2 modified by the company Schwarz-Etienne to offer an independently adjustable hour hand exclusively for the Ming 17.09. These are very much the kinds of features and details that elevate a watch's level of interest for enthusiasts.
As you might expect from these brands, the watches are being produced only as a limited edition — and Ming watches tend to sell out quickly. There will be 150 examples of the black-dial version costing $2,595 each and only 50 examples of the honey-colored version at $2,795. Both will be available from the Massena website starting 11:30am (EST), May 20, 2021.