For centuries, watchmaking has pursued the goal of precision and complication. Now, a new quest emerges – chasing ever-lower weights. In this race to lightweight luxury, Swiss watchmaker MING has claimed pole position with its groundbreaking LW.01 models.
Tipping the scales at just 8.8g and 10.8g, the LW.01 Manual and Automatic are being hailed as potentially the lightest mechanical wristwatches ever made. MING pushed boundaries in both engineering and metallurgy to achieve these featherweight figures.
Yet these are no stripped-down skeleton watches. The LW.01 retains MING’s signature aesthetic, with details that reflect past references. Neither are they fragile concept pieces – MING insists they are durable and wearable in daily use.
For MING’s fourth anniversary, the brand wanted to create something truly groundbreaking. They set their sights on making the lightest mechanical watches ever, while still retaining wearability, quality materials, and reliability.
After years of research and testing exotic materials, they succeeded in creating the ultralight LW.01 models. The manual wind version tips the scales at just 8.8g for the head, while the automatic is slightly heavier at 10.8g. The watch with strap and buckle weighs 10.6g and 12.6g respectively.
Innovative Construction To achieve such low weights, MING completely rethought the case construction. The dial and movement holder is a single 0.5mm thick ring shaped like a hat. This assembly is supported from the rear by a 3D-printed cage. The bezel is internally hollowed out to save weight, yet retains rigidity.
MING explored materials like carbon fiber but ultimately settled on AZ31 magnesium alloy for the case. Treated with PEO and a composite layer, it retains a metallic feel while weighing 40% less than titanium. The crystal is Gorilla Glass rather than sapphire, saving significant weight. Every single component, down to the screws, was optimized to shed grams while preserving quality.
Despite the lightweight build, the LW.01 incorporates design DNA from MING’s previous watches. The pulse seconds disc echoes the Ochs und Junior Simpleton. The gradient peripheral ring on the crystal and skeletonized indices are borrowed from other MING models.
To work with exotic materials like magnesium, MING collaborated with specialist companies. Machining expert Reto Helfenstein handled the difficult metalwork. Jean-Rousseau created the 1.2g Alcantara straps. Manufacture Schwarz-Etienne modified the base ETA movements, with components selectively removed or lightened.
Availability and Pricing
The LW.01 will be produced in a limited edition of 200 pieces, available exclusively from MING’s website. Customers can choose between the manual wind (8.8g) or automatic (10.8g) versions. Pricing is set at 19,500 CHF and deliveries will begin in Q4 2024.
This novel timepiece pushes the boundaries of watchmaking and engineering. With its featherweight construction and cutting-edge materials, the MING LW.01 redefines what’s possible for mechanical wristwatches. For the ultimate in lightweight luxury, these could be the lightest mechanical watches ever produced.