First Look: The Mido Commander Shade

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As the trend toward small watches goes mainstream, reissues from the mid-20th century are everywhere these days. However, the Mido Commander Shade is part of a model line that Mido has been producing continuously since 1959, so they are riffing on a living legacy rather than merely jumping on the reissue bandwagon. Furthermore, 2018 marks Mido’s 100th anniversary, so this special edition’s unmistakable 1970s aesthetic helps to celebrate a specific moment within a century’s worth of compelling designs.Based on a specific 1979 model, the Commander Shade sports a 37mm case, acrylic crystal, framed day-date window, and integrated steel Milanese mesh bracelet, but it’s the silver-to-black faded dial that’s ready to disco. As a child of the 70s, I am a sucker for a faded paint job like this, and I wish more brands would take advantage of what seems an obvious and lovely way to adorn a circular dial.

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Mido has decorated the Shade’s faded dial to subtle perfection. Note the black accents on the tail-side of the hands which pop against the gray center, as well as the diamond-cut steel markers with a touch of black varnish which gleam against the black outer edge of the dial. In the middle ground, Mido drops in plenty of text: steel applied “Mido” and “Commander” logos are a six and 12 respectively, while black text reading “Automatic Datoday” at nine and the very ’70s dual day-date window at three add perfect balance to the face. The effect is a dynamic and full dial with multiple fonts, but the monochromatic colorway keeps it elegant, perhaps even subtle.

It’s hard to imagine another bracelet here than the steel Milanese mesh, which naturally extends the color scheme around to the pulse-taking side of the wrist. The lack of extended lugs on the Commander Shade makes for a clean, dressy and decidedly circular shape, which helps support that dial’s concentrically faded paint job. Perhaps this is a watch that doesn’t beg for strap changes, and there is something appealing—even comforting—about a watch that has it’s mind made up about which strap looks perfect.Coming in around $800, one can easily excuse that this model does not feature a chronometer certified movement like it’s bigger brother, the Commander 2, though it would have been interesting, and quite a vintage nod, to pack a COSC movement into a smaller watch like this. However, the automatic ETA 2836-2 movement features a Nivaflex mainspring and a Nivarox balance spring, making the price-to-performance ratio very attractive, as is Mido’s norm. This model is also available in a gold PVD version, which goes straight over into dress watch territory. The Shade, however, straddles the boundary between dressy and retro-cool with a look that will be hard to find anywhere else. Mido

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At age 7 Allen fell in love with a Timex boy's dive watch his parents gave him, and he's taken comfort in wearing a watch ever since. Allen is especially curious about digital technology having inspired a revival of analog technology, long-lasting handmade goods, and classic fashion. He lives in a one-room schoolhouse in The Hudson Valley with his partner and two orange cats.
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