Timepiece Chronicle

In-depth, passionate and entertaining articles that explore the stories behind great watches

Inside & Out: The Mido All-Dial

Inside & Out: The Mido All-Dial

How I got this watch: Mido contacted me about reviewing one of their pieces and I selected the Mido All-Dial. I wore the watch for two weeks. This is not a paid review.

The Mido All-Dial is a fun, retro-inspired piece that has a great value movement inside.

If you'll allow me a moment of confession, I'd like to admit something. When I first received the Mido All-Dial I knew next to nothing about it and that's me being generous to the amount I did know. The name was somewhat familiar to me and I half remembered reading a review over at Hodinkee but apart from that I was entirely ignorant. Even though Mido has been making watches for almost a century (2018 will mark the 100th anniversary of the brand), they have never been a household name in either my native England or my current home in America. 

The brand was founded in 1918 by Mr. Georges Schaeren and named after the Spanish phrase Yo Mido, to measure. Mido started by making novelty-esque watches in shape of different car radiators grills so drivers of Buicks, Bugattis, Fiats and Fords could reminisce about the travels whilst away from their vehicles. In 1930 Mido invented the 'cork-crown' sealing system, later known as the Aquadura system, which purported to be fully water-resistant. In 1939, Mido started using Robi, the Mido robot, as a brand ambassador and as a symbol of progress and robustness. It's a shame that Mido no longer uses Robi in their advertising, he's an adorable automaton that would give some character to a slightly unknown company. 

Mido focuses on international markets rather than the US as their position as a 'middle range' brand in the Swatch hierarchy would place them in competition with more established brands such as Tissot and Hamilton. For the curious, Longines, Rado and Union Glashutte are considered 'high range' and Omega, Jaquet Droz, Breguet and Blancpain are 'Prestige and Luxury range'. 

You shouldn't judge a watch brand simply because you haven't heard of them and I was happy to wear a watch with absolutely no preconceptions of what to expect. 

The All-Dial collection was launched in 2002 with a design inspired by the Coliseum in Rome. This started off quite the trend at Mido for watches whose designed were inspired by famous structures; the Multifort is inspired by Sydney's Harbor Bridge, the Great Wall is inspired by The Great Wall of China and the Big Ben Collection, well you get the point. Upon first glance I wouldn't have placed the resemblance to the Coliseum but I suppose I can see similarities now that the link has been planted in my mind; the angular chapter ring could be seen as the walls of the arena if one is imaginative.

However when I look at the All-Dial, I see a seventies inspired piece that perfectly walks the line between retro and contemporary. The applied rectangular hour markers, the use of orange highlights, case shape and of course the integrated bracelet all scream retro to me. Not togas, bloodsport and Latin retro but bell bottoms, vinyl and disco retro. The All-Dial is just a really fun watch that you can wear with a T-Shirt and jeans or in a more casual office environment and sometimes that's all you need in a watch. On the other hand, the qualities that make the All-Dial so fun mean that trying to wear it in a more formal setting is a fool's errands.

It is the dial where I believe the All-Dial really shines as it makes a simple design work within the restraints of budget. Other brands within the 'middle range' of Swatch pyramid, I'm looking at you Tissot, often try and do too much with too little which results in cheap looking watches. Printed numerals and poorly proportioned hands can ruin an otherwise acceptable watch. The All-Dial has a design that looks good within its constraints and for a simple black dial with three words printed in block white text, the design just works thanks to excellent use of depth. 

The sunken inner dial instantly contrasts against the raised chapter ring set at an angle, the edge almost sitting flush against the crystal. Orange pips are placed every five minutes with longer, thin channels cut into the ring to mark each minute. It might lack the ornate finishing of a hand-engraved piece but sometimes less can be more. The applied hour markers are well proportioned and sit slightly in relief of the chapter ring atop an orange surround. These twelve flashes of color really accent the black dial by adding just enough color to make it interesting but not enough to appear garish.

If the design of the All-Dial suffers in one respect, it's the lack of lume. This isn't a dress watch so there is no excuse for at least a token amount of lume on the hands, there is even a seemingly perfect channel on each hand where lume could be placed! Apart from this small niggle, the hands are another great part of this watch. The wide set polished hands compliment the seventies aesthetic and are very well proportioned and finished for a watch of this price. 

I liked the integrated bracelet is something but I know that the lack of after-market straps will be a sticking point for some people. If this watch was not in a seventies style, the proprietary fitting for the bracelet might irritate me but in this style of watch I really like it. Not that one should compare watches at different prices but, if forced, I would struggle to see any difference in the bracelet quality to the supposedly superior 'High Range' Longines.

The Mido All-Dial represents value. You might not know the name but you'll appreciate how much you get for your money.

Chronometer. The word carries a lot of weight in the watch community and whilst you will see the occasional mid-tier brand with chronometer rated watches, it is a designation usually reserved for the high end. I've worn one other certified chronometer this year, the Bremont MBII-WH, and another that claims to be at chronometer rating, the Nomos Metro 38 Datum, and both of these watches cost several thousand dollars. The Mido All-Dial is only $1190 and the Caliber 80 inside is COSC rated. How's that for value?

The ETA C07.621 base is exclusively provcided to Mido by the Swatch group (There are benefits for being entombed in the Swatch pyramid) and is itself a variation on the ETA 2824-2. The 2824 is seen in other middle tier Swatch brands like Tissot and Hamilton as the Powermatic 80, named for the 80 hour reserve, however these are not chronometer rated. To obtain such a long power reserve, the Caliber 80 COSC has a reduced frequency of 21,6000 bph and has a special balance. The All-Dial had spo-on timing during my weeks with it and combine this with a day/date complication, a style I'm partial too and an attractive price then you've got a winner. 

When you talk about value for money, I don't think you could get a better example for a quality movement at a great price than this. It's not in-house, it's not overly decorated but in terms of sheer power, the Caliber 80 is very hard to beat. 

Some may not like the seventies style, the 42mm case or the integrated bracelet but I loved the casual, funky look of the Mido All-Dial and for $1190, you can't argue about the price. For more information, head over to www.midowatch.com.

 

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