Mido is a brand that sometimes flies under the radar, at least here in the United States. Brands like Hamilton, Tissot and Longines seem to garner more attention in the USD 1,000 race, but Mido has both a storied history and portfolio that shouldn’t be overlooked. The brand’s Multifort line has been in production since 1934 and was the first Mido with an automatic movement. The watches were anti-magnetic, shock and water-resistant, offering a rare combination of robustness at an impressive price to quality ratio. The same holds true today with the new Multifort Patrimony collection, featuring a retro design, top mechanics and attainable prices. As part of the Swatch Group, Mido benefits from the conglomerate’s resources, and its latest trio of Multifort Patrimony timepieces continue their legacy of style, innovation and function. Let’s take a closer look.
Mido was founded in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland by George G. Schaeren in 1918. Initial watches featured shaped cases with colourful enamel dials for women and an Art Deco aesthetic for men. The company toyed with an automotive theme in the early years as well, producing watches that imitated radiator grills from popular brands like Ford, Bugatti, Buick and Fiat. When the Multifort was introduced in the 1930s, it quickly became the brand’s best seller for the next two decades. The company was the first to introduce a central-read chronograph in 1945, where all chronograph hands were centralized in lieu of sub-dials.
When it comes to performance and accuracy, Mido has an impressive record. It is currently listed in the top ten makers of certified chronometers and number four within the Swiss watch industry. The name Mido means “I measure” from the Spanish term, “yo mido”. In the 1930s, Mido invented a cork crown-sealing system to ensure absolute water-resistance, later known as Aquadura. And this is just an overview of all the things that the brand achieved in over a century of existence.
But let’s now have a look at the Mido Multifort Patrimony, a recently introduced collection of affordable yet very appealing vintage-inspired watches.
CASE AND DESIGN
The stainless steel case of the Mido Multifort Patrimony is a contemporary 40mm in diameter and 11.95mm in height, giving the watch a retro/modern feel when combined with the dial elements. Two case styles are offered – polished steel or PVD-coated gold – with three dial colours. The lug width is a somewhat unusual 19mm, which works fine aesthetically, but could present a challenge if you’re seeking a third-party strap option. A slightly tapered, knurled crown is signed with MIDO in raised letters and is a push/pull affair that doesn’t screw down.
The case is still water-resistant to 50 metres, which is more than adequate for a piece leaning towards the dressy/elegant category. A box sapphire crystal protects the dial and presents a cool distortion at wide angles, while an exhibition caseback displays the Calibre 80 automatic. Although larger than a vintage diameter of 36mm or less, the new Multifort’s case is an appealing size for the majority and works well in both formal or more casual settings.
DIAL AND HANDS
Three sunray dial colours are available on this Mido Multifort Patrimony, including blue and anthracite for the steel models, and black for the PVD gold. The outermost perimeter features a pulsometer scale, allowing for a simple and accurate measure of someone’s heart rate. A nod to Mido’s watches of the past. It’s not a chronograph, however, so you must wait for the seconds hand to reach 12 o’clock before starting, but that’s a minor quibble. Applied Arabic numerals sit at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock, with baton-style indices marking the remaining hours.
Continuing inward is a printed minute track in either white (blue and black dials) or black (anthracite dial). A bevelled date window is positioned at 6 o’clock with a black background on the blue dial and white on the others. The hour and minute hands have a vintage syringe design with lume inserts, and the seconds hand has an intriguing counterweight. MIDO is printed in a vintage script with AUTOMATIC printed beneath and MULTIFORT above the date window.
The Mido Multifort Patrimony uses the Calibre 80 automatic, based on the ETA C07.621/2836-2. It has 25 jewels, beats at 21,600vph (3Hz) with an 80-hour power reserve. Features include central hours, minutes, hacking seconds and date. Mido reduced the beat rate of the ETA base from 28,800vph (4Hz) to double the power reserve from approximately 40 to 80 hours. Seen from the exhibition caseback, the rotor is decorated with Côtes de Genève. The Calibre 80 is used in many Mido watches and the ETA base is also available as a COSC-certified calibre.
All three models come with a Patina leather strap – light brown for the blue dial, black for the anthracite dial and dark brown for the PVD gold model. The straps are 19mm and come with a stainless steel pin buckle and cream stitching near the lugs. They’re comfortable out of the box and not overly stiff, which is fortunate given the somewhat unusual width. They complement the retro vibe of this Mido Multifort Patrimony well and I personally wouldn’t swap them out.
Mido reminds me of brands like Hamilton and Tissot (both part of the Swatch Group), companies with rich histories that offer a healthy portfolio of models at affordable price points. The brand may not have the name recognition of the latter two, at least in the United States, but its watches are just as compelling. The Multifort Patrimony collection offers a solid balance of vintage and contemporary design cues, powered by the refined and proven Mido Calibre 80.
Altogether, the inclusion of a pulsometer scale is a cool and functional throwback to watches of yore, and the design is overall very pleasant. If you’re looking for a quality Swiss piece with a fresh design, some added functionality and just a bit of exclusivity, all without breaking the bank, the Mido Multifort Patrimony should be at the top of your list.
The stainless steel models (blue and anthracite dials) sell for CHF 790/USD 890 and the PVD gold model sells for CHF 890/USD 1,000. All are available now and can be purchased at Mido’s website or retailers worldwide.