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Mido Commander II & Great Wall Watches

Mido Commander II & Great Wall Watches Watch Releases

Mido is one of Swatch Group's smaller brands that you rarely hear about. If you do, you know that like Tissot or (not available in the US) Certina, Mido offers some decent looking pieces at pretty reasonable prices (for a Swiss mechanical watch). As one of the underdog brands, sources say that the Swatch Group just isn't quite sure what to do with them. Sounds like Mido just needs the right type of person in charge. If you look at the pieces they've offered over the last few years, there are some real keepers. One of the most iconic collections from Mido has always been the dressy Commander. It sort of fits in the same vein as a Rolex - not in price necessarily, but more what it was trying to be for a man.

For 2013 Mido returns the Commander with the "Commander II," as well as the similar sibling watch the "Great Wall." Now, according to Mido, the Commander's design - that is the new Commander for 2013 - was  influenced by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Something about how the sunray finished anthracite dial and hour indicators are reminiscent of lattice work on the Eiffel Tower. Yea, I know... a 'big' stretch of the imagination - even for Swiss marketers. Oh and the Commander II's case is meant to remind you of the "curves and iron of the Eiffel Tower." Major eye roll going on right now.

Mido Commander II & Great Wall Watches Watch Releases

Mido Commander II & Great Wall Watches Watch Releases

For comparison's sake I included some images of older Commander watches in addition to the Commander II models. They have been offered in a range of styles with different bracelets and even some with diamond hour markers. Though, the rank and file Commander has squared hour marker and easy-to-read hands. Many came on "Milanese" mesh metal bracelets. They are sort of a hip find today for vintage watch lovers. I would probably even wear one once in a while myself. How much does the most modern incarnation of the Commander resemble the original? Thematically some of the same stuff is there. You have the thin bezel and hands that look much like those on the originals. There is also a diminutive lug structure which sort of makes the bracelet look as though it is sticking out of the case. Of course there is the day/date complication. Otherwise Mido's interpretation of the Commander is rather new.

Mido Commander II & Great Wall Watches Watch Releases Mido Commander II & Great Wall Watches Watch Releases

Aside from the slightly disorientating outer dial on one version, the Commander II is a fine looking and legible watch. I would have liked to see a few more elements of the original if it were up to me (which sadly it rarely is). Those elements include the more squared hour markers as well as the classic Mido logo, which has a lot more soul than the industrial looking modern interpretation of Mido-ness. I can easily live without the mesh metal bracelet. The 1960s can keep those.

The Commander II watch is 40mm wide in steel with a few dial styles and silver, gray, and black colors. Inside is a Swiss ETA 2836 day/date automatic movement. It appears as though some versions of the movement are Chronometer certified. At least the dial retained the quirky "Datoday" label on it. The Commander II arrives with a slightly higher-end brother, a new version of the Great Wall watch.

Mido Commander II & Great Wall Watches Watch Releases

Mido Commander II & Great Wall Watches Watch Releases

I believe the Great Wall was originally introduced a year or so ago and like its name implies, is a visual and thematic nod to the Great Wall of China - where a lot of Mido watches are most likely sold. The Great Wall is actually a pretty decent looking watch. For me, it has a slight edge over the new version of the Commander. For one thing, the Great Wall is a bit larger at 42m wide, but has a very similar case design. The steel case has a unique looking bracelet and a more intricate dial. Mido appears to be using the same hand design for both of the collections, and they both have day/date dials with ETA 2836-2 automatic movements. However, the movements inside of the Great Wall are COSC Chronometer certified while the Commander II movements are not. Don't miss the neat seconds hand on the Great Wall.

There are already a few Mido Great Wall watches out there and people seem to really enjoy them. If the same goes for the Commander II then Mido will be off to a good year. I'd like for them to however focus a bit more to the West again. I think the brand could be something interesting in the US. Their prices are pretty reasonable as well. Mido says that the Commander II watch will be under $1,000 while the Great Wall will be between $1,000 - $2,000. mido.hk

Mido Commander II & Great Wall Watches Watch Releases

Tech Specs from Mido:

Commander II

Movement Automatic ETA 2836-2, 11½’’’, Ø25.60 mm, height: 5.05 mm, 25 jewels, 28,800 A/H, INCABLOC and NIVACOURBE shock-absorber, NIVAFLEX NO mainspring. Finely decorated elaborate movement with blued screws, decorated oscillating weight with Geneva stripes and engraved Mido logo. Function HMSD+Day. Adjusted on 3 different positions for a high accuracy. Min. 38 hours power reserve.

Case Stainless steel 316L, 3 pieces, sapphire crystal, screwed case back, engraved serial number, water resistant up to a pressure of 5 bar (50 m / 165 ft).

Bracelet Stainless steel 316L with stainless steel folding clasp.

Dial Anthracite, sunray satinated, indexes individually applied, date at 3 o’clock.

Hands Diamond polished, hour and minute hands with white Super-LumiNova® for easy readability at night.

Great Wall

Movement Mechanical automatic, ETA 2836-2 calibre, COSC-certified, 111/2 lines, 28,800 vib/h, minimum 38-hour power reserve, “Côtes de Genève” motif

Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, day and date

Case 316L stainless steel, 42 mm

-Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides
-Transparent back engraved with series number
-Water-resistant to 100 m (10 bar/10 ATM/330 ft)

Dial Silver-toned, black or anthracite, central raised motif
-Nickel-plated or black nickel-plated applied hour-markers
-Superluminova-enhanced hands
-Day and date window at 3 o’clock

Bracelet/Strap 316L polished and satin-brushed stainless steel with steel folding clasp

About the Author

Fueled by an unshakable love for horology and a general curiosity for intricate things, Ariel Adams founded aBlogtoWatch in 2007 as a means of sharing his passion. Since then, ABTW has become the highest trafficked blog on luxury timepieces, and Ariel has become a contributor to other online publications such as Forbes, Departures and Tech Crunch, to name just a few. His conversational writing style and inclusive attitude brings a wider appreciation for watches the world over, and that's just the way he likes it.

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  • Ulysses31

    Been a fan of Mido for quite a while.  Distinctive watches that offer a lot of style for a good price.  They have a few models that are not what I would call pretty but lines like the Commander have a good design and they haven’t messed with it much.  I wish they had stuck with the earlier bracelet design (similar to a Panerai bracelet) instead of this “normal” looking one.  I wonder if they still use the traditional cork seals.

  • Will__Gibb

    Ariel, 
    I’m curious who you mean when you say “sources say” Swatch doesn’t know what to do with them. Do you mean someone in the know, or just on watch blogs. 

    Will

  • Kris C

    Good stuff, these. Distinctive enough to be recognized as Mido, and they paint with a wide enough brush to appeal to a large audience. I can’t say that I’m the biggest fan of the (basically) lugless design, but that’s not to say I find it offensive, or a deal breaker. They’re able to keep it as an identity, and expand on it effectively.
    Agree on the old logo. Much nicer than the stark, directionless new one.

  • CG

    My Mido is one of my favorites, just stylistically different to get noticed but pleasingly simple in design. Don’t see them much in the USA.

  • JQ

    Here in Mexico Mido is very well known. The commander datetoday is one of the most iconic watches along with the rado diastar. The gold commander is used from businessmen to politicians to drug smugglers. You can get them for very cheap at any pawn shop near casinos; is the first thing gamblers use to get money

  • Dan Finch

    Always liked well kept secret Mido and wondered why they aren’t bigger in the US. Here in California I mostly find them in Latino shops. I think many of their designs are among some of the classiest of swatch’s ETA brands and with COSC it seems like they should be positioned higher. The Commander and the Great Wall are unique looking and have a nice retro 70s feel.