‘Less is a bore’: The new Mido Commander Gradient assembles the watchmaking mechanics in a new light

‘Less is a bore’: The new Mido Commander Gradient assembles the watchmaking mechanics in a new light

If I were to summarise this review of the new Mido Commander Gradient, I could perhaps define it with a short quote. The American architect Robert Venturi once famously quipped: ‘less is a bore’. Not afraid to lay bare its mechanics, in a nutshell, is Mido’s latest release. 

The More, The Better

Nestled under the dial is a movement, the watchmaking mechanics; Mido unmasks it, revealing the beauty of the dial. With this new release, they reveal more; and in the case of the Commander Gradient, it works too.

Like a fog that shifts shape to reveal the mysteries lurking behind it, the gradient dial of the new watch shifts from smoky to clear, revealing the gears of the watch mechanism. 

Mido Commander Gradient
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The Context

I have a confession to make; I have always had a soft spot for Mido. You can blame this on my architectural background, but when a watch design company is so closely linked to the world of architecture as Mido is, it’s hard not to be a follower. So when they announced their latest release, the new Mido Commander Gradient, it was with a certain deal of enthusiasm that I decided to review it.

Mido Commander Gradient
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Synonymous with technical innovation and timeless designs, Mido has been around for over a century. It first came to life in 1918, thanks to its founder Georges Schaeren. Out of the numerous collections they have — Ocean Star,  Baroncelli, Belluna, Multifort, Commander, Rainflower, and All Dial — Commander and Multifort are my favourite. The former for its design language, and the latter for its connection to the Sydney Harbour Bridge (we are a Sydney based Aussie watch review website after all). 

Not Just a Hat Rack My Friend 

The Commander Gradient is not just another variant of an existing watch. It seems the brand has put in a considerable amount of thinking before releasing this version. 

It’s very different to their existing collection as for the first time in the Commander collection’s 61 years of existence — Mido first released its Commander model in 1959, and was known for utilising a one-piece case design — they have released a transparent dial that pays tribute to the movement. 

Full of sporty-chic charm, the new Commander Gradient brings a welcome dose of transparency to the wrist thanks to the acrylic dial on the front and a transparent case back on the rear. 

Mido Commander Gradient
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The Variations 

The Mido Commander Gradient is being released in four variations, listed in price ascending order below:

– Reference M021.407.11.411.00: Steel case with a metal stainless steel bracelet, and costing 1’325 AUD;

Mido Commander Gradient
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– Reference M021.407.37.411.00: Black PVD-treated steel case on a black fabric strap with orange topstitching and a folding clasp, and costing 1’400 AUD;

Mido Commander Gradient
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– Reference M021.407.36.411.00: Steel and rose-gold-coloured PVD-treated case on a black leather strap, costing 1’400 AUD;

Mido Commander Gradient
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– Reference M021.407.33.411.00: Black PVD-treated steel case with a metal bracelet, and costing 1’550 AUD.

Mido Commander Gradient
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Our favourite is the ref. M021.407.37.411.00; there is something very sporty about the combination of a dark smoky dial with a black watch case and a black fabric strap with subtle hints of orange.

Mido Commander Gradient
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The Specifications 

The heart used — Calibre 80 with an ETA C07.611 base module — is an automatic movement adjusted on 3 different positions for high accuracy. It is worthwhile to note that the calibre 80 is also available as a COSC-certified movement though this watch doesn’t come with the offical certification.

This finely decorated Elaboré-grade movement features an oscillating weight decorated with Geneva stripes and the Mido logo. The 25.6mm x 4.74mm movement beats at the frequency of 3Hz (21’600 A/h), comprises of 25 jewels, and offers an impressive 80-hour power reserve.

Mido Commander Gradient
Courtesy Copyright © MIDO, All rights reserved.

The movement is cased inside a 40mm diameter and 10.84mm thick satin-finished stainless steel case with black PVD treatment — Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) is used to coat watch components in a hypoallergenic, impurity-free film to ensure continued resistance to corrosion — featuring a polished bezel and offering a decent 50m (5 ATM) water-resistance. 

The Dial

Along with the impressive 80-hour power reserve, the dial — especially of the ref. M021.407.37.411.00 with orange accents — is the real winner here.

The watch face shows the traditional functions of central hours, minutes and seconds, and a date at 3’o clock. The beautiful black acrylic dial is transparent in the centre and gets increasingly opaque towards the edges providing with the gradated smoky effect. 

Legibility is pretty high owing to polished applied indexes with a bit of orange Super-LumiNova®. 

This romance with the brand’s emblematic orange colour continues with the use of orange Super-LumiNova® in the flat diamond-cut hour and minute hands. Designed to mimic the dashboard indicators that are clearly visible even at night, these orange Super-LumiNova® in-filled hands also accompany an orange varnished seconds hand on the dial.

This flirting with orange raises the sporty-chic feel making this particular reference fun and quirky.

Mido Commander Gradient
Courtesy Copyright © MIDO, All rights reserved.

Watch Ya Gonna Do About It?

Since its inception, Mido has come to champion the ideas of aesthetics and functionality. Never to shy away from attention to detail, we admire how in the variations listed earlier the indexes and hour/minutes hands change colour to match the case colour. It is subtle aspects like these that truly warrant Mido’s existence in the echelons of watchmaking.

Like we said before, architecture is an important field of study at the WYGDAI office. It then comes as no surprise that we like this watch release that is a tribute to the inimitable silhouette of the Eiffel Tower. The Commander Gradient’s round shape echoes the arches of the monument, while the rectangular indexes and hands, complete with polished metal bars, recall the tower’s iron lattice.

The contrasting surfaces of polished black on the slender bezel, satin-finished black on the case, and touches of bright orange on the indexes and hands add finesse to watch. 

The use of orange plus the standing out of the date against the aperture’s white background, topped with a shock-resistant faceted and domed sapphire crystal, further enhances the readability of the dial. 

The watch comes in a daily wearable size, high power reserve of 80-hours and a strong personality. Dark yet fun, it won’t jump out of your wrist but when noticed, it is sure to receive a compliment or two. 

Mido Commander Gradient
Courtesy Copyright © MIDO, All rights reserved.

The diameter of 40mm and the slim thickness of the watch coming in at only 10.84mm will ensure that it will fit comfortably under the cuff. Versatile, it can also be paired with anything from board shorts to jeans and t-shirts.

Starting from only 1’325 AUD, anyone looking to own a watch that lays bare its watchmaking mechanics is truly looking at solid value proposition option. 

Full of mysterious vibes, visual oomph, sporty charm and decent legibility, the new Mido Commander Gradient is a beautiful and value proposition watch release.

For more information on this watch and other Mido watches, head to their website here.