Swiss watch brand Mido celebrates a century of watchmaking

MEASURING A CENTURY. Swiss watch brand Mido celebrates its 100th anniversary amid rare snowfall in Shanghai. Joezer Mandagi reports

Mido is quite a unique brand. it is a Swiss watchmaking company with a history stretching back all the way to the end of World War I, but its name is actually Spanish, based on the phrase “yo mido” which means “I measure.” While definitely an appropriate name for a watchmaker, many people  mistake it for a Japanese name. Even more amusing is how some of the brand’s most dedicated fans in Indonesia are familiar with individual collections, especially the Commander line, but are unaware that it is part of a bona fide Swiss brand called Mido.

With that in mind, right now—as the brand commemorates its hundredth year—seems a great time to familiarize ourselves with Mido, how the brand marks this incredible milestone and what it has in store for the rest of the year and beyond.

A Snowy Soirée

Shanghai might not be the first city to come in mind when you think about Swiss watches, but it is, in fact, the perfect venue to celebrate Mido’s 100th anniversary. china has become an increasingly important market for the brand. and, as a bonus, Shanghai saw record snowfall—the largest, locals claim, in nearly a decade.

Indeed, VIP guests, brand representatives from all over the globe and members of the media gathered at iconic Shanghai Expo I-Pavilion, they were greeted by a light dusting of snow. The night continued with a lovely dinner, interspersed by speeches from Franz Linder, president of Mido and other dignitaries, along with a stunning array of artistic performances. Robi, the brand’s iconic robot mascot, joined in the festivities, but the definite star of the evening was Mido’s commemorative timepiece: the Commander Big Date.

“I think it’s a perfect product that reflects the identity of Mido,” Linder exclaimed in an interview following the party. “We had two ambitions for this anniversary. First, we really wanted to launch an exclusive caliber.” As its name indicates, the Commander Big Date features a new movement—based on Mido’s Caliber 80—with a big date indication. “And second is the timeless approach, the iconic approach,” Linder continues. “Out of our collections, the most iconic, especially also in Indonesia, is the Commander. Everybody knows the look of the Commander. So, we wanted to combine the best of Mido in a new watch for this occasion.”

The Mido Man

Linder, however, was quick to point out that t he end user remains his top priority. That, and maintaining the brand’s DNA. After taking up the mantle of company president in 2002, heshifted the brand’s focus away from innovative products like the Bodyguard and Worldtimer—which were fantastic but not quite in line with Mido’s DNA—and back to its original direction. In short he “purified the assortment by using the key collections the brand traditionally had, which were four: Multifort, Ocean Star, Commander and Baroncelli.” The only addition to this lineup was the Belluna line.

For sure, his efforts has borne fruit. “It takes time; you need to get the confidence and trust from the consumer and step by step you grow up,” Linder elaborates. “And we always have the ambition to become the leading brand in the mid-price category for mechanical watches, in the markets we are in. We are only present in about 66 countries, but every year we are able to grow our market share. So, the key to success is patience. Passion and patience!”

Furthermore, Linder also noted that despite notable differences in consumer profiles between countries, purchasing a Mido watch is more often than not a well thought-out decision. “If i go to Germany, we have a lot of engineers buy Mido,” he offered as an example. “They could afford a 5,000 dollar watch, but they like this kind of understatement and they feel that they’re smart for getting good value for their money. They don’t just buy the glamor of a brand; they buy a product.”

That there are people who identify those products by the names of individual collections instead of as Mido watches seems to amuse Linder, but he’s not too surprised. “If you look at our  collections, our core collections, with the exception of Belluna, which is more recent, the name of the family is registered,” he points out. “That’s why you find the name of the collection
on the dial of the watch. Not many watch brands have their product lines written on the dial, because theirs are not protected.”

The Next Step

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mido is already looking into what its next hundred years might bring. While there are quite a few novelties, including, for instance, the limited edition Multifort
Datometer, there is one particular innovation that perfectly captures the essence of the brand.

“We will launch what we call the Baroncelli Trilogy,” Linder explains with quite a bit of pride behind his voice. “The theme of our jubilee is ‘past, present and future,’ and we want to show
that even as time is passing by, this philosophy of Mido remains the same. So, we have one watch which is a very traditional, classic looking one: a Baroncelli with small seconds which reflects
1918. Then we have a more contemporary interpretation of the watch, presenting today. And we have a more progressive design, reflecting the future: 2118, the next one hundred years.” The Baroncelli 1918, Baroncelli 2018 and Baroncelli 2118 are each limited according to the years each represents. “But the aim of this,” Linder then concludes, “is really to say: Things evolve, Mido remains what it is.”