The Mido watch personally owned by Ettore Bugatti has been sold by the Stanislas Machoïr auction house for 272’800 euros (more than 300’000 Swiss francs).
Classic cars and classic watches featured in the catalogue for the sale held last Saturday, on April 17th in Toulouse, France. This unique Mido Bugatti watch illustrates the richness of the watchmaking expertise Mido has offered for the last century. Once again, the brand has made its mark at auction, with one of the most iconic and exclusive pieces from its watchmaking heritage.
A patented radiator grille shape
From 1926 to 1932, Ettore Bugatti ordered four exclusive series of manual winding “Radiator grille watches” from Mido in gold and in silver. The case echoed the shape of a Bugatti radiator – a completely new source of inspiration, then patented by Mido. The founder of the eponymous vehicle manufacturer gave them to friends and family, and to the most deserving drivers and mechanics. This special order of less than hundred pieces included a gold watch owned by Ettore Bugatti himself.
Bolstered by the success of the Bugatti series, Mido made versions of this case shape for many other car manufacturers in 1925 and 1926, including Alfa Romeo, Buick, Chevrolet, Chrysler, and Rolls-Royce. The dials on these wristwatches, table clocks and pendant watches – known as “Montres de l’Automobiliste (Motorists’ watches)” – were inspired by the different radiator grille designs used on these vehicles.
More than a century of expertise
Founded in 1918, Mido has its own special place in the history of watchmaking, combining timeless design, high-quality materials and technical innovation. At the end of the 1920s, its “Montres de l’Automobiliste (Motorists’ watches)” were presented as elegant pieces, with movements offering resilience and reliability under all circumstances. In the 1930s, Mido made a name for itself in the field of water resistance, using its own system with a cork crown gasket, christened “Aquadura” in 1959.
Illustrating this rich expertise, Mido watches from this period are highly sought-after by collectors, from the Mido Bugatti – often fetching five-figure sums at auction – to the iconic Ocean Star Decompression Timer from the 1960s.
Vintage inspiration, cutting-edge technology
Today, Mido continues to reinvigorate and redevelop its vintage flagship models, enhancing them with the latest materials and technologies. The brand has just released several new pieces with irresistible vintage charm, such as the refined Multifort Patrimony Chronograph, a reinterpretation of one of the brand’s oldest and most iconic chronograph models: the Multifort Multichrono from 1937. Also surfing the vintage wave is the Ocean Star Tribute, which takes its inspiration from the aesthetic of divers’ watches from the sixties, and pays tribute to the world of the sea, as well as Mido’s expertise in water resistance, first demonstrated in the 1930s.
Georges Schaeren chose to found Mido on 11 November 1918, on the same day as the Armistice. Since this symbolic date, Mido has continued to look towards the future with confidence, sustained by the visionary strength of its founder. In 2018, the brand celebrated its 100th anniversary by continuing along the path set out by Georges Schaeren and the values that have been an essential part of Mido’s DNA for a century: timeless design, quality materials and technical innovation.
Today, Mido is based in the town of Le Locle in the heart of the Swiss Jura mountains. The name Mido comes from the Spanish “Yo mido”, meaning “I measure”.
Since its inception, Mido’s philosophy has combined innovation, aesthetics and functionality. The brand shares these essential values with some iconic architectural glories from which it draws inspiration for its collections. Cutting‑edge technology, automatic movements renowned for their excellence and high-quality materials are the three pillars on which Mido’s unique expertise rests. In addition, the refined, understated designs of Mido timepieces endow them with a resolutely timeless quality. Beyond fashion and passing trends, Mido watches are thus distinguished by their durability.
For a century, Mido has been a global benchmark in Swiss-made mechanical watches. Mido watches are available from 2,700 official retailers in 70 countries. The brand is part of the Swatch Group, the world leader in watchmaking.