Back in 2018, Mido released the Commander Big Date to celebrate 100 years of watchmaking, an impressive feat for any Swiss brand given challenging events like World War II and the quartz crisis that ravaged the industry. The following year, a special edition debuted to mark the 60th anniversary of one of the brand’s most prominent lines, the Commander. The Commander Big Date 60th Anniversary Limited Edition adds some red accents and dial changes for a new personality, and it just might be my favourite piece in Mido’s entire portfolio.
The Commander debuted in 1959 and was chosen over the popular Ocean Star and Multifort lines to celebrate the brand’s centennial. There are several Commander variants in Mido’s collection, such as the vintage-inspired Commander Shade that harkens back to the 1970s and Commander Gradient Calibre 80 with a skeletonized aesthetic under a smoked dial. The Big Date models are the standouts with, according to the company, the largest big date apertures on the market in this price segment. Personally I haven’t seen a comparable piece to prove them wrong, and the date complication is indeed impressive. The Commander Big Date 60th Anniversary Limited Edition is arguably the most stylish of the collection and an excellent ambassador of the series.
The Mido Commander Big Date 60th Anniversary
At 42mm in diameter, the Commander Big Date has the largest case in the collection with the aforementioned Shade and Gradient Calibre 80 coming in at 37mm and 40mm respectively. That’s not a bad thing as the bold case complements its bold date feature and it wears well on my smaller than average wrist (don’t let the number throw you). The case height is also a reasonable 11.97mm for an automatic. A narrow, polished bezel frames the domed sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating – this watch is all dial as the crystal is faceted, almost eliminating the bezel’s appearance as they blend together. The signed crown doesn’t screw down, resulting in only 50 metres of water-resistance, but that’s fine for such a watch. There’s an interesting crown guard that covers much of the top, but a machined groove exposes the crown’s bottom half. This makes it easy to pull to set the date and time, but it’s also a bit tricky to manually wind. The polished caseback has a sapphire exhibition window, while the rest of the case is brushed.
The anthracite dial has a sunray finish and is shared with other Commander Big Date models, but a few things set this limited edition apart. An oversized, applied 60 numeral sits at 12 o’clock to celebrate the line’s 60th anniversary, while a red minute track is printed on a raised internal ring. The ring is notched to accommodate the applied indices and 60 numeral, which is a nice detail. The diamond-cut, polished hour and minute hands are silver with black centres and white Super-LumiNova inserts, matching the applied indices. A red seconds hand matches the minute track. Of course, the star of the show is the big date complication at 6 o’clock with independent discs for each digit appearing in a split-window aperture. This is usually reserved for pricier watches and it’s great to see in such an affordable piece.
The same elaboré-grade Calibre 80 automatic from the standard Big Date models powers this as well, based on the ETA C07.651. It has 25 jewels, beats at 21,600vph (3Hz) with an 80-hour power reserve. Functions include central hours, minutes, hacking seconds and big date at 6 o’clock. Seen through the exhibition caseback, the movement itself is undecorated, but the modified rotor has Côtes de Genève and Mido’s logo engraved.
The Commander Big Date 60th Anniversary Limited Edition comes with a black leather strap sporting an alligator pattern and red stitching to match the dial’s red accents. It features a stainless steel folding clasp that’s among the better ones out there for smaller wrists.
A better than average complication can make an affordable watch special and that’s definitely the case here. The annual calendar on the Longines Master Collection Annual Calendar is another example and it’s great to see brands bringing such features to the masses. I’m a fan of bigger watches and really like the 42mm size of the Commander Big Date line – it’s bold without being overwhelming, even for smaller wrists. I honestly would’ve preferred a pin buckle to the folding clasp, but the execution here is surprisingly good. Although there are plenty of Commander Big Date models in Mido’s collection, the Commander Big Date 60th Anniversary Limited Edition just has that cherry on top that the others lack.
Price and availability
The watch is limited to 1,959 pieces, the date the original Commander debuted and comes with a special box and limited edition certificate. The caseback is also individually numbered. The retail price is CHF 1,090 or USD 1,090, which is a real value proposition for such a watch.
For more information, visit Mido’s website.