Mido, a brand founded in 1918 and based in the Swiss Jura, has gained a substantial following in Latin America for its mostly very affordable Swiss-made watches, many with chronometer-certified movements. Owned by the Swatch Group, it has been largely under the radar in the U.S., overshadowed by sister brands in a similar price category such as Rado, Hamilton, and Longines. This year, however, Mido embraces the U.S. market in a big way, doubling down on its identity as a brand with design codes influenced by contemporary architecture, with the launch of the new Inspired by Architecture Limited Edition — a timepiece that channels the look of one of America’s most iconic buildings, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City.
The watch — which was introduced, appropriately enough, at a gala launch event at the Guggenheim last night — can also be considered crowd-sourced. It is the result of Mido’s #BeInspiredbyArchitecture campaign, a 12-week around-the-world trip in which 12 cities and 60 iconic monuments were visited and considered as the inspiration for a new watch. More than 100,000 participants worldwide voted in the campaign, and the clear winner was Frank Lloyd Wright’s groundbreaking modern art temple on New York’s Upper East Side, a landmark of 20th-century architecture that opened in 1959. Wright, who passed away shortly after designing the building, once referred to it as a “temple of spirit” that offered visitors an entirely new way of looking at art. Its circular design, with continuously curving gallery halls, was the architect’s way of rebelling against upper Manhattan’s rectilinear grid.
The watch, which is limited to 500 pieces, is true to Wright’s aesthetic vision, with a satin-finished and polished stainless steel case whose profile evokes the curved levels of the museum’s exterior. This pattern is repeated on the crown and its black rubber insert. Under a domed sapphire crystal, the grained, eggshell-colored dial takes its cues from the glass dome, known as the oculus, that covers the building. “Inspired by Architecture” is subtly engraved on the dial’s flange in a sans-serif font. The hours are marked by long, satin-finished and polished indices, swept over by diamond-cut hands treated with Super-LumiNova that glows green in the dark.
A timepiece paying tribute to a masterpiece of modern architecture requires a resolutely contemporary movement. Nestled inside the 40-mm case is the self-winding Caliber 80 Si, based on the ETA C07.811 produced by the Swatch Group, Mido’s parent company. It has been chronometer-certified by the Swiss testing agency COSC (Little known fact: Mido regularly makes the top 5 list of watch brands with the most COSC-certified movements, right behind titans like Rolex and Breitling) and fitted with a silicon balance spring. Used in numerous Swatch Group-produced calibers, silicon has been touted for its antimagnetic properties and shock-resistance, two qualities that lead to better long-term timekeeping accuracy. Wound by a large oscillating weight adorned with Geneva stripes and Mido logo, the movement has 25 jewels, a 21,600-vph balance frequency, blued screws, and an impressive 80 hours of power reserve (hence the 80 in its name; the “Si” represents the silicon components). The movement is visible through a clear window in the caseback, which is also engraved on its periphery with the limited edition number (XXX/500) and serial number.
The Mido Inspired by Architecture Limited Edition comes mounted on a shiny, black calfskin strap that integrates seamlessly into the case and closes with a traditional steel pin buckle. It retails for $1,590. At the launch event, guests were prodded to suggest another architectural icon that they thought would inspire an interesting watch design, so one would expect that this Inspired by Architecture timepiece just may be the first of several, especially considering the brand turns 100 in 2018. What landmark structures, in the U.S. or around the world, might you like to see adapted into a watch design? Let us know in the comments. In the meantime, check out Mido’s official “making of” video below.