MIDO Commander Big Date Anthracite PVD
The accessible sports watch in steel par excellence, featuring an anthracite PVD treatment and a Big Date complication. Price point? Unbelievable.
Between a Mido watch and the Big Date complication, there's a long-lasting "love affair", it seems, at least since the Baroncelli Big Date, the most classic yet mechanically complicated wristwatch from the Swiss brand, has hit the market. Another Mido watch, the Commander, has this year celebrated sixty years of production; Mido has therefore extended what did in 2018 when a Limited Edition Commander Big Date joined the line-up of products released to honor the brand's first 100 years of watchmaking. The Commander pictured here is currently the most accessible proposition to have recently joined the crowded group of full steel sports watches, a business whose sales have never plummeted since the first premium timepieces appeared in the early seventies.
There are two main topics I'd like to touch here: from a design perspective, this specific Commander debuts a never-seen-before anthracite PVD coating. It is interesting news, even more so when mated to a Big Date complication. The satin-finished steel case's color achieved has a somewhat ceramic plasma or titanium look and feel. Nonetheless, bracelet and dial sport the same finish: the Commander Big Date M021.626.33.061.00 is the most refined and understated variation belonging to the collection, especially when compared to the 2018 Limited Edition, whose sparkling colors aimed at primarily highlighting the brand's corporate colors (black and orange). A vivid green Super-Luminova® contrasts the grayish look and is applied to both indexes' end tips and hands: it is a remarkable touch and a useful feature too, considering how poor is visibility under dim light on all the timepieces that belong to such product category.
Additionally, the Mido caliber 80 integrates a Big Date complication; if eighty-hours of maximum power reserve are no first-page news any longer, although the competition keeps struggling in closing this gap, the outsized date is quite surprising. I did use a Mido with the Big Date when I got my hands on the brand's Baroncelli that comes equipped with the same mechanical movement, last year: offering such a feature on a timepiece that costs nearly €1,000 approximate, is a challenge, primarily from a profitability standpoint. From a technical perspective instead, I was more than surprised to discover how smooth and quick is the date change, and how has been improved the displacement of the two discs inside the window placed at six o'clock, in comparison to a Baroncelli, where the gap between tens and units is too wide instead, from what I can tell. Finally, if you get familiar with an outsized date, a single date window will look poor and outdated all of a sudden.
I would hardly list the Commander Big Date among classic-looking sports watches as among cutting edge timepieces; my feeling is that it combines the spirit of the former with the design language of the latter: this is the direction the development team embarked during the design process, I believe. The anthracite PVD coating adds on the sports watch with integrated bracelet's feel, that is, anyhow strengthened by the bracelet's vaguely H-shaped link design. The case combines traits from the historic Commander collections with sharp edges and multifaceted surfaces, like the faceted glass, the circular case (42mm, across) with a no bezel style, and a slightly rounded and faceted case back too. Additionally, I would mention polished applied indexes and hands, filled with green Super-Luminova® along with a polished rectangular window frame around the Big Date visualization.
As sleek as it gets, once on your wrist, thin enough to slide under the cuff (it is less than 12mm thick), the Mido Commander Big Date was also conceived with resistance-to-wear in mind, thanks to the PVD treatment that helps reduce, never eliminate, the nicks and dents resulting from unwanted shocks. Considering how prolific is Mido in often being one step ahead of the competition in terms of performances, I would instead suggest them to introduce a feature that is today restricted to the premium luxury, like applying a self-service device to remove (or add) the bracelet's links quickly. That would be yet another massive improvement.
(Photo credit: Marco Antinori for Horbiter®)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®