Vintage Ladies Mido Multifort Super-Automatic Watch - 1940 by Farfo's vintage watches

Watch making tradition was born in the Jura Mountains of the Swiss Alps. The Jura (meaning "forest" in Gaulish language) is a beautiful land of lakes, rivers, waterfalls, forest and caves. The Jura Mountains form a natural border between France and Switzerland (200 Km-125 miles- long) with a maximum elevation of 1 723 m (5 650 feet) at the "Cret de la Neige". They are known for their good hiking and skiing. This peaceful and quite atmosphere is buried under snow throughout the 6 months of winter. From as early as the 18th Century the farmers living in this area sought an activity that would let them work throughout the winter months for a handy extra income.

When the land could not be worked the farmers were spent their time in fashioning tiny mechanical components, which required cutting, shaping, and polishing before finally being assembled by hand, one by one. Faced by a growth in activity and prosperity, the early farmer-artisans rapidly became master watchmakers, and the individual workshops gave way to watch factories. This gave birth to a completely new industry where hand-finished work nevertheless keeps its place. For, strange as it may seem, in this part of the world where the grand watch-making names were founded, time was not the deciding factor, but the quality of the finished product.

In the early 1900’s, George G. Schaeren began earning his reputation for innovative watch design. On November 11, 1918, he founded Mido (Latin for “measuring") in Biel, Switzerland. From the start, two values have become synonymous with Mido: Technical innovation and timeless designs.

In 1934, the Mido Multifort surprised the world to be the first automatic, anti-magnetic, water-proof, and shock resistant watch. Having been the most popular Mido design through the 1960s, the Multifort was re-launched in 1998 in celebration of the company’s 80th anniversary. Today’s rendition of this old favourite combines an Arabic dial, reminiscent of the 1940s with a see through case-back, available either with automatic or autoquartz movement.

Over the next few decades, Mido kept pushing the envelope technologically, as well as aesthetically. On the technological front, Mido made the first watch with unbreakable springs (1934), the world’s first Center Chronograph (i.e. all hands arranged in the center; 1945), the world’s most powerful winding mechanism (1954), and the world’s smallest automatic ladies watch (1967). Aesthetically, Mido collaborated with the leading luxury name brands of the day to create watches of unique designs, such as the Mido Bugatti. The Swiss maker made only 20 of the Bugattis, primarily for the Bugatti family and close friends.

During the fifties, the Mido Robot a symbol of robustness became famous. In its heyday, a prominent newspaper dedicated its daily rendition of the comic strip to the adventures of the Mido Robot!

With the introduction of Mido Commander in 1959 also came the revolutionary single shell case, which improved the life span of watches significantly. Today, the Mido Commander is one of the most recognized watches in the world featuring a variety of models, including an 18-carat Gold model, Chronographs, and watches certified as Chronometers (see overview below).

In the 1970’s, Mido secured its fame as the “King of Waterproof Watches” with the ingenious “Aquadura Crown Sealing System”, - still a hallmark of Midos classic watches today. Aquadura stands for a specially shaped and treated piece of natural cork, which seals the watch at its most vulnerable place, the crown. It guarantees water tightness up to 100 ft. even if the crown is pulled out! Watches from the Commander, Captain, Elegance, and Baccara Series are all equipped with Aquadura System and carry the name “Ocean Star” on the dial.

The late 90’s brought us the Mido Worldtimer, one of the most functional watches ever made. Simply twist the bezel (cities represent all the time-zones) to the 12 o’clock position, and press the crown. Instantly with almost play-like ease of use the Worldtimer shows you the local time anywhere in the world! A special third hand indicates day/night of local time.
Today Mido is part of Swatch Group family. Compared to its sibling brands such as Omega, Breguet, and Blancpain, just to name a few, Mido was clearly designed for the value-oriented consumers who understand that quality timepieces doesn’t have to be accompanied by a high price tag.

Sources: Official Mido website, History of Mido watches article by Zai Zhu, The History and Technology of Mido Swiss Watches article by Swiss Watches USA