Watchmakers love paying tribute to the past. Long-gone decades and even centuries are a veritable fount of design inspiration and storytelling, with nostalgia serving as a powerful enticement for modern consumers old enough to remember a simpler time. And now it seems that the time du jour is the 1970s.
The Seventies weren’t exactly the Swiss watch industry’s finest hour. Quartz movements were decimating interest in mechanical ones thanks to the former’s accuracy, affordability, and convenience. But the Swiss brands that managed to ride out the crisis managed to do so with one salient strategy: Great design. It was a time of bold experimentation, where precious metals mixed with industrial materials, where traditional case shapes were dropped in favor of zanier forms, and the idea that a steel sports watch could be luxurious took root.
Today, you’ll find those codes revived and running rampant in new collections across various brands, and Mido is the latest to join the parade with the return of its TV-shaped case.
Mido prides itself in being adaptable, often giving the people exactly what they want in well-made products at accessible prices. When the brand was inaugurated in 1918, its focus was on Art Deco-inspired forms. When the 1930s rolled around, it cemented its position as a serious horologer by releasing the automatic, anti-magnetic, and shock resistant Multifort collection. And to sate the desire for the “sporty chic” movement in the ‘70s, Mido unveiled its first TV-shaped case in 1973. It had a thick, beveled bezel, steel case with integrated bracelet, distinctive geometric indices, a green and silver gradient dial, and vertical day and date indication — truly a timepiece that embraced the funky spirit of 1970s watch design.
The TV case reappeared in 1973 in a sleeker guise, and again in 2000 with a pulsometer scale and leather strap for a more traditional take. After 23 years, it’s finally back in the new Multifort TV Big Date — and it has all the trendy fixings that have been driving watch enthusiasts absolutely wild.
Measuring 39.2mm by 40mm, the stainless-steel case features a vertically brushed bezel and a screw-down crown that gives the watch its impressive 100m water resistance. Once unscrewed, the crown utilises three different positions to allow manual-winding of the watch, date adjustment, and time-setting.
The outsized date sits prominently at the 12 o’clock position, accompanied by a printed minute track around the outer flange, as well as round and baguette-shaped hour indexes around the horizontally brushed dial. The indexes, hour, and minute hands are filled with white Super-Luminova that glow blue in the dark. The dial is available in three colors — grey, blue, or green, all of which darken to black at the edges to create an impression of depth.
(Related: Mido Introduces Special Editions of the Ocean Star Decompression Worldtimer)
Despite sharing the TV case shape, the Multifort TV Big Date is fairly divergent from its predecessors — but that was a deliberate move. “There are many watches that are basically a copy of their historical versions, and all you have to do is adjust the size since vintage watches tend to be very small,” explained Mido CEO Franz Linder at the watch’s recent launch event in Bangkok. “It’s much easier to develop a replica, but what we did was to combine a lot of different elements to give the Multifort TV Big Date a contemporary look. It still reflects the ‘70s, but it is a modern design, which is much more difficult to do.”
The watch runs on the brand’s Calibre 80 (based on the ETA C07.651), which houses a Nivachron balance spring. Developed by parent company Swatch Group, the balance spring boasts superior resistance to shock and magnetism. The movement can be viewed through the mineral glass caseback, where the Geneva Stripes-decorated oscillating weight will keep the watch wound when in use, but will offer a generous 80 hours of reserve power when it’s not.
All three dial variations are offered with a satin-brushed stainless-steel bracelet with contrasting polished center links, but the blue and grey dials have the option of being paired with a blue or orange rubber strap respectively. Either way, the straps can be easily interchanged without the use of tools.
For everything the Multifort TV Big Date offers, it’s an absolute steal at $1,590 for the models with rubber straps, and $1,620 for the bracelet versions. “And how many Swiss brands do you know have a TV-shaped watch?” Linder continued. “Even at Mido, our watches are mostly round. So I think it is a good time to revive a very particular design that we hope will attract new and existing consumers, because you can’t typically find this shape in our price category.”
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