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Mido Commander Icône Watch Hands-On

Mido Commander Icône Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The often overlooked Swatch Group brand Mido has been producing Swiss mechanical watches since 1918, and their Commander line has been around since 1959. It's been something of a challenge for Mido to really stake a cohesive brand identity (in the United States, especially) but the Commander has been their most easily recognized line. It hearkens back to a more classic era that can be better described as "traditional" which also runs the risk of being unfairly classified as too old-fashioned. The new Mido Commander Icône watch is definitely a retro-styled dress watch but one that has substance to it at a really attractive price under $1,500. Of note is the silicon balance spring-equipped, COSC certified movement that achieves an 80-hour power reserve for the Commander Icône.

Mido Commander Icône Watch Hands-On Hands-On

All images by Ariel Adams

Mido Commander Icône Watch Hands-On Hands-On

I want to start off by recognizing that though Mido have been producing quality timepieces for just shy of 100 years now, that no amount of history can make up for lack of a real marketing strategy that gives a brand some image to work with in regions where it's not popular (namely China, Mexico, and some parts of South America). This proves itself to be true when reading Mido's materials regarding the Commander Icône, though I believe the Eiffel tower metaphor has been around for some time now. When one of the first sentences I read says "Its slender, round case in satin-finished steel endows the Commander collection with an inimitable and immediately recognizable silhouette, just like the Eiffel Tower," it's quite obvious when an obviously unrealistic premise is being forced.

Mido Commander Icône Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Mido Commander Icône Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Mido Commander Icône Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Fortunately, being someone who is in watch media, I know what to take with a grain (or fistful) of salt. What's unfortunate for Mido is that a casual consumer might just roll their eyes and move on. Just something for the brand and the Swatch Group to consider. I understand the brand does quite well in China (so much so that another previous watch was named the Great Wall) but I really believe that a more effective and contemporary revamp of Mido can broaden the appeal. The Commander Icône packs a strong visual identity (for better or worse) along with an impressive modified Swatch movement at an already reasonable price that I'm sure you can get a good deal on. Let's take a look at the substance of what I'm talking about.

Mido Commander Icône Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Mido Commander Icône Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The Mido Commander Icône is the brand's tribute to the longstanding Commander dress watch. Measuring 42mm wide in that perfectly round and recognizable case, it has a very clean and retro-slick dial that successfully matches a classic aesthetic with a modern sized watch. Available in either a gray or white sunray satin-brushed dial, the conservative Commander Icône comes in a satin-finished stainless steel case.

Mido Commander Icône Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Mido Commander Icône Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The lumed hour and minute hands are quite legible and fortunately, the dial doesn't fall victim to glare. The dial is pretty minimalist but, of course, the day/date window at 3 o'clock might evoke some polarizing opinions. I actually think it looks pretty good here but I have to admit it lends a very old-fashioned aesthetic to the watch. This is particularly true on the white dial version with the gold framed day/date window but the gray dial model does a good job in keeping the whole thing a little more sleek. On the other hand, the white aperture matching the white dial works in that version's favor. You'll also notice the applied polished hour indices match the hour and minute hands, looking really nice and well done.

Mido Commander Icône Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Mido Commander Icône Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Mido Commander Icône Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The round case is mostly undisturbed by a subtle crown and the integrated Milanese bracelet really is a great choice in that it brings a masculinely refined attitude. The bracelet utilizes a sliding clasp for easy adjustment, as well. I really like how the Milanese mesh bracelet looks on this watch and the sleek integrated lugs look so natural that it really is one of the aspects of this watch that drives its subtle appeal. The finishes of the hands, indices, the bracelet, and the movement all go into what makes this such a unique value proposition when considering what else is out there. There are prerequisites, though, in that the round case and day/date window are the first things you'll notice.

Mido Commander Icône Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Mido Commander Icône Watch Hands-On Hands-On

When turning the watch over, you see the exhibition caseback which reveals the automatic Mido Caliber 80 Si, which is a modified ETA C07.821 movement. This is a modified version of the "Powermatic 80" movement used by Tissot, Rado, and other brands. Utilizing a silicon balance spring and low friction materials, this movement (which operates at 21,600 vph) affords the Commander Icône an 80-hour power reserve which is obviously pretty impressive.

The COSC certified movement isn't going to blow you away with its looks but the Geneva stripes, blued screws, and overall quality finish of the Mido Caliber 80 Si is attractive especially when considering the price point here.

Mido Commander Icône Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Mido Commander Icône Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Much like their Ocean Star Captain V watch, the Commander Icône relies on the combination of distinct aesthetics, thoughtful and well-done finishes, and a solid, even impressive, movement at a very attractive price. Finding an audience in China, Mexico, and parts of South America (the word "Mido" means "measure" in Spanish), I am reticent to say that Mido will capture a similar segment of the market here in the States. However, if the classic design paired with an innovative movement appeals to you, then it's tough to argue with the price of $1,360.

About the Author

Bilal lives in Los Angeles by way of New York and shares the same appreciation and love of watches that likely brought you to aBlogtoWatch. His least favorite question to be asked is "what's your favorite watch?" since the answer changes every day.

His collection began with the watch that has likely fueled horological obsession for countless people, the Omega Speedmaster. Since then he has worn, enjoyed, or mocked about every other watch out there. You'll have to ask about the whole collection in person, though.
What do you think?
  • Thumbs up (34)
  • I love it! (14)
  • Classy (9)
  • I want it! (8)
  • Interesting (3)

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  • Pete Pete

    sweet! nice one. should be smaller though.

    • Agreed — this is all dial so 40mm would have been plenty.

  • Mikita


  • Wow what a nice looking quartz Kickstarter watch – no wait…

    But seriously, the integration of the bracelet with the case is well done. Otherwise, wake me up when the next post is up.

  • Is this week going to be a roundup of Swatch’s bargain basement? Can’t wait until tomorrow to see what Flik Flak is up to.

    • Sheez Gagoo

      Superhero based toddler watches. You may remember Flik Flak as an aluminium watch with mineral crystal. Now it’s full plastic.

      • But genuine *Swiss* plastic!

        • Sheez Gagoo

          Yes, from Bettlach SO, Switzerland.

  • Pete L

    A bit dull but great value quality product with understated classic looks. Nice bracelet and very legible but nothing to get excited about.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    I love this.

  • SuperStrapper

    Meh. Lugs would have gone a long way in saving this watch. Lugless is lifeless.

  • Radium head

    Zzzzzzzz. Zzzzzzzz zzzzzzzz.
    Mum Swatch Mum
    ~ Fart roll over ~
    zzz zzz. Zzzzzzzz Zzzzzzz


    What happened to the lugs,is it winter yet? Did they shrink?
    Aside from the lugs it isn’t as dull as yesterday’s Tissot thank goodness and you get a lot of movement for the price.
    Goes to show when u involve robots and economies of scale you can get the price tag to go down. Still not my style especially that escalope milanaise bracelet

  • mark

    I think its a nice watch for the price. Its would have been nice if it had been slightly thinner. But still a nice watch for the price.

  • DanW94

    I don’t like the lugless design but other than that it’s a sound choice as a dress option. I prefer their Baroncelli line with the dauphine hands (and lugs). If so inclined you could pick one of those up at about half the price of this. Not trying to be harsh but if those two model lines disappeared it would take people a while to notice, if at all.

    • egznyc

      The lack of lugs is a little unusual but I’m not sure quite how I feel – never had such a watch before. The Baroncelli line does seem more my cup of tea: better size, thinner, classic dial look overall. Also lower price ;-). Have you ever had one?

      • DanW94

        No, I haven’t. I did pick up a vintage Multifort at an estate sale a while back just for kicks though. The build quality was outstanding but it was way too small to wear.

        • egznyc

          I bet it was very nice, and curvy, too, which unfortunately this modern interpretation lacks (flat dial, flat crystal). But what do you do with a watch you don’t want to wear because it’s too dainty?

          • DanW94

            LOL…Exactly. It was only a few bucks and pretty beat up so I figured why not? Since been taken apart and mostly discarded.

          • egznyc

            So you dismantled the damned thing, and then realized it would be a real bitch to try to put it back together again? 😉

  • egznyc

    Too big – 38 to 40mm would’ve been perfect – for a dress watch IMO and a little chunky looking nonetheless, but not a bad aesthetic. Its big day/date aperture is not something I generally want but here it almost seems to fit the overall look. What doesn’t fit is the rather flat crystal. Nothing against them but I think here a domed one would’ve helped.

  • William McKinley Ryan

    No lugs, no go.
    Love the Milanese mesh bracelet. What other watches can you get, from the factory, with that bracelet? I dig it…

  • Anna Nuehm

    Not bad, but doesn’t hold a candle to the original Commander.

  • Shinytoys

    I like the watch, but for me, I’m just happy to see Mido back in the game. The watch has a nice appearance, it’s a good size and has a decent motor under the hood. For the money, there’s a lot of watch there…

  • Larry Holmack

    I like the rose version with the white dial, but I would not consider it because I can’t take off the bracelet and put a nice XL alligator strap on it without having a custom strap made for it. I don’t like mesh bracelets…but that’s just me.

  • Mario

    For all those wondering what happened to the lugs…you’re probably not familiar with the Mido Commander. The modern Commander in its other iterations has lugs. This “icon” version resembles the 1958 version still made today, vintage style, in a one piece case (monocoque) with a Hesalite crystal, serviced from the front.


    Should’ve colour-matched the day/date discs on the gray one. Could’ve been a contender.

  • Yan Fin

    Day/date really kills for me all positive about this watch.

  • IG

    Nice clean design but it should be hand-wound.

  • Mido means “I measure” and it’s used “Yo mido” almost always. “Medir” means “measure”.

    Back when watches were cheap and every great grandfather and grandfather had a Rolex or an Omega, the Commander was right up there completing a trilogy of famous watches… here in Mexico. In gold, of course.

  • Ulysses31

    A manufacturer of very under-rated and elegant watches. I’ve always been a fan but they are practically invisible on the watch scene.

  • DaddyFlip

    I have a ca. 1975-76 Multistar 39mm with day date. My dad wore it every day 20 years then it sat in a box another 22 years until my mom gave it to me about a month ago. It’s the only watch I ever saw him wear and now it’s my daily wearer. Original bracelet is so comfortable. It’s never been serviced and it’s running about -10s/day based on just a little data. Personally, I love the old fashioned framed day/date. The Mido dial hasn’t changed much in 40 years. I don’t like the style of the reviewed watch, but there are a few others I love and would like to have. My wrist is 8.25″.

  • PR

    The original commander re issue with hesalite remains one of my favorite and comfortable watches (save for the crown which is near impossible to operate). This one leaves me a bit cold

  • LongLazySloth

    This is my daily watch now. My first automatic in fact. So far so good, it sits well and doesn’t make a fuss of itself. All in all, a very tidy watch for the price.