The Swiss watch company Mido was founded by watchmaker George G. Schaeren in 1918, marking this year as the company’s centennial. A century of existence is no small accomplishment, particularly one that spanned world wars, the quartz crisis, and changing tastes and social trends.
I spent a few days in Mexico City recently to join Mido’s 100th anniversary festivities, and during that time I had the opportunity to speak with Mido CEO Franz Linder, who has been with the company for twenty-three years and has served as CEO since 2002. I gained much insight into the brand and its history—including its role as a pioneer in moderately priced self-winding watches, which dates to the mid-1930s.
But even before that, Mido was creating some exceptional pieces, including automotive-inspired men’s watches and lovely, diminutive ladies enamel-decorated pieces.
As an interesting aside, decades later, in 1967, with a continuing interest in timepieces for women, Mido launched the smallest ladies automatic watch ever manufactured on an assembly line.
Automatic since the 1930s
Today, about 90% of Mido’s watches are automatic, but its first self-winding watch, the Multifort, was launched in the 1930s. It was also touted for its anti-magnetic, anti-shock and water-resistance properties. Later in that decade, Mido devised a crown-sealing system utilizing cork. Later known as Aquadura, the system garnered the brand the informal title of King of Waterproof Watches, according to Linder.
Multifort, which was Mido’s hottest seller through the 1950s, is still part of the company’s core collections, which also include the Commander, Baroncelli, Belluna and the sportier Ocean Star.
New in 2018
Several new watches are being introduced during this anniversary year, including the Baroncelli Limited Edition Trilogy, the Multifort Datometer and the Commander Shade. Each is representative of those characteristics that have sustained Mido’s success, says Linder. (Stay tuned to iwmagazine.com for more about these new watches, as well as my on-the-wrist review of the Commander Shade.)
As part of the Swatch Group, the Switzerland-based Mido has the opportunity to avail itself of the opportunities this affords—in expertise, watch components—Mido was the first brand to introduce a silicon balance spring in its price category—and value for money.
Why did Mido choose Mexico City for the anniversary festivities? Besides being one of the most important economic hubs of Latin America, rich in history, art and stunning architecture, Mexico, as a whole, is Mido’s largest market and there it holds seventy percent to seventy-five percent of market share within its price category. The city also hosts a broad network of Mido retail locations, including space at the Palacio de Hierro Polanco.
The Mido anniversary party, held the evening of May 23 at the Antiguo Hotel Reforma, included about 200 friends, celebrities and journalists. Linder toasted his guests and emphasized the 100th milestone anniversary. Mido also curated a display of Mido watches from the 1930s through the 2000s. Of course Robi the Mido robot brand “ambassador,” first introduced in 1939, was on hand for any and all photo ops.