by Jonathan Fairfield
A Closer Look At: explores second tier Swiss watch brands that have been producing watches sometimes for centuries but that we just don’t get to hear so much about. This week’s article focuses on Swiss mid-range watch brand Mido.
Founded in 1918 by George Schaeren, the Mido brand began life making a range of art deco inspired watches that featured innovative designs and unique shapes. Schaeren was quite an innovator himself and by 1920 he came up with the ingenious idea of producing a range of wristwatches that were shaped like the radiator design found on such cars as Lancia, Bugatti and Hispano-Suiza, which he sold to the members of respective automobile clubs and associations as a form of membership card.
The sales psychology and marketing behind the idea was brilliant. Only very wealthy people could really afford to buy cars in the 1920’s, which meant that Schaeren could target these same people to buy one of his watches, which of course would have its own hefty price tag attached. Mido watches proved to be very popular with drivers as it enabled them to show others that they owned a Lancias, Bugatti or Hispano-Suizas without having to be behind the wheel of the car itself.
This same marketing idea has been used by brands countless times since Schaeren first thought of it in the 1920’s. Even today – Hubolt and Ferrari, Tag Heuer and Mercedes-Benz and JLC AMVOX and Aston Martin, Audermars Piguet and Maserati are just some that spring to mind.
The various collections that have since been produced by Mido are said to take inspiration in their design from some of the world’s most famous landmarks, such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge (Multifort), Rennes Opera House (Baroncelli) and the Arc de Triomphe (Commander).
As part of the Swatch Group, Mido is a stablemate of such brands as Omega, Tissot and Certina and is today located in Le Locle, Switzerland, where it continues to produce a stylish, yet functional collection of watches for men and women.
Mido Multifort Collection
In 1934 Mido launched its Multifort line that would mark a significant milestone in the watch maker’s history. As this was the first anti magnetic watch to feature a self winding movement, as well as built in shock and water resistance, the Multifot would go onto become Mido’s best selling watch up until the late 1950’s.
The Multifort collection is still very much alive today and in 2009, Mido celebrated the 75th anniversary of the collection by designing two new models that paid tribute to the original 1930’s timepieces.
The watch featured here is the 2012 Multifort Chronograph which is equipped with an automatic 1320 calibre movement on a Valjoux 7750 base. The watch beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour and has a 48hr power reserve. The stainless steel case measures 44mm in diameter and features scratchproof sapphire crystal. The black dial displays 30 minute, 12 hour and small second indicators at 12, 6 and 9 o’clock, respectively. There is also a date indicator at 3 o’clock. The other version which is available includes a silver toned dial that features a black crocodile leather strap, which is secured by a folding clasp.
Mido Ocean Star Sport
Mido’s Ocean Star has been one of the brand’s leading collections for almost forty years. The watch featured here is the Sport version that was launched in 2001, which is complete with an automatic movement based on the Valjoux 7750 and is visible through the watches transparent back. The titanium case features anti-glare crystal sapphire and is water resistant to 200m. The black dial, with its appliqué numerals and hour markers displays the date, as well as 30 minute, 12hr and small second’s counters. The rubber bracelet is secured with a robust double push button safety clasp, although there is a titanium bracelet version also available.
Mido Baroncelli Limited Edition
Mido celebrated the 30th anniversary of its classic Baroncelli collection by launching this limited edition, individually numbered timepiece. Consisting of only 300 watches, the Baroncelli Limited Edition is available in 18k pink gold and uses an ETA 2824-2 movement, which is COSC certified. It also has a 40hr power reserve, features 25 jewels at beats at 28,800 vph. The silver dial features polished facetted hands and hour markers and also displays the date between 4 and 5 o’clock.
Mido All Dial Lady Diamonds
From their ladies collection, the 2006 All Dial Lady Diamonds is said to be inspired by the Colosseum in Rome. The red leather strap certainly makes the watch stand out, with the mother of pearl dial featuring 78 diamonds, a date window at 3 o’clock and enlarged Arabic numerals at 6 and 12 o’clock. The steel case also has a transparent back where the automatic ETA 2678 movement, which features 25 jewels is visible.
Mido Novel Belluna GMT
Mido launched its new Belluna line. The 2010 edition, (model no M001.429.16.031.20) is said to draw inspiration from the Chrysler Building in New York. The striking display of the dial includes bold hour and second hands and also a second time zone, which can be read off the 24 hour display which is in the centre of the dial. The steel case measures 40mm in diameter and houses an automatic ETA 2893-2 movement. The genuine leather strap is secured by a stainless steel bracelet, with the whole watch having an ‘Art Deco’ look about it.