Mido Commander II Review
Who’s That Looking Stunning in Gold? The Mido Commander II, That’s Who
Review watch supplied by Certified Watch Store, who generously loaned us this watch for nearly three weeks.
Two Mido’s in as many weeks- I’m on a roll! The Multifort Automatic was the first Mido I reviewed hands-on, and now here I am with a golden Commander II.
The Commander II is quite typical of an entry-level luxury watch from a Swatch-group manufacturer: it’s an automatic, made with upper-end materials, priced in the $600 range in the grey market ($1,000ish MSRP – like most of the Hamilton’s and Tissot’s of a similar caliber I’ve reviewed).
The modern Commander is available in a large variety of versions in both men’s and women’s sizes. I picked the gold Datoday version of the Commander II for two reasons:
- I rarely have an actual gold watch on my wrist. Plenty of rose gold, but very little gold.
- I wanted to remind myself why I don’t wear gold watches.
If gold isn’t your cup of tea, the Commander II comes in several color/strap/bracelet combinations. But even if I can’t (read: shouldn’t) wear it, I love gooooold…
Mido Commander II “Datoday” Technical Specifications
$1,040 (found discounted)
Automatic, ETA 2836-2
Estimated 36 hours
50m / 165ft
Brief Introduction to Mido Watches
The first watch to bear the Commander name left the Mido factory in 1959. The late-50s Commander featured a then-unique single-piece case, a self-winding automatic movement, and various examples of different dial and bezel combinations. The Commander has traditionally been available with both day/date and single date display.
Mido was founded in 1918 in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland. They released both men and women’s collections in the early 1920s that featured color-enameled shaped cases, art-deco styling, and designs that emulated components from the quickly-expanding automotive market.
Today, Mido is one of the world’s top-10 producers of certified chronometer watches, and is a small but notable component of the Swatch Group of Swiss brands.
Other options you might consider with similar complications and grey-market affordability:
- Seiko Presage Day/Date
- Reveue Thommen Airspeed Day/Date
The Commander II is an Aesthetic Knock-Out
For a dressier watch, the Commander can make quite a statement. In gold, the Commander is every bit a peacock watch, sized down for the more reasonable gentlemen.
Of course, the Commander isn’t really gold; it’s PVD-treated stainless steel. Still, while it may not be made from precious metals, it will look the part thanks to the excellent application of the PVD. Both the case and bracelet are finished to a high aesthetic standard*
Once you look past the color scheme, your eye is drawn to the dial; the monster sapphire crystal, which looms over the dial and adds considerably to its perceived-depth, contributes to the eye-candy. It’s not quite imposing – a result of a fairly conservative 40mm diameter – but almost. It deftly walks that line, though, and I quite like it.
The dial – particularly in champagne-gold – is attractive, and not just for the light show. I love sunburst dials – whether they’re on something like the Alpinist, Pan Europ, or even on something more entry-level like this Bonvier – and I think its application works well with the Commander’s style.
The dial is well-executed, with luminous hours laid atop gilded indices, themselves standing like pavilions encircling the center column. There are small imperfections in the application of the lume on the markers, but it’s not something you could notice with your naked eye. The rest of the finish is excellent.
Most of the case is brushed, save for the bezel which is finely polished. All-told, the Commander II, in gold, is a real looker and has made for some really excellent photography. But, there’s an * up there for a reason.
But There’s a Problem…
When I am handling a watch on loan, I don’t take it out of the box I receive it in until the photo shoot. This ensures no scratches, dings, dents, etc. in the shots that the watch didn’t already come with.
During the shoot I wear cloth gloves and wipe down the watch frequently with microfiber and lens-cleaning towels. I take great care of the watches in my possession.
So, when I began to find scratches in the finish of the bracelet, you can imagine how impressed I was with the discovery.
This is especially disheartening because of the integrated lugs and bracelet links, meaning that your options for replacing this bracelet in the future are limited. I’m not sure what the cost would be on a new bracelet direct from Mido, but expect at least a $300 investment when the time comes.
And clearly, this watch is going to attract scratches like a bad habit, so its time will come sooner rather than later if you make this gilded Commander a frequent part of your rotation.
That’s a problem, for a couple of reasons, but mostly because it’s such a good looking watch. The gold variant is easily my favorite among them.
Powered by ETA 2836-2 Automatic Movement
You can get other versions of the Commander with the Mido Caliber 80, a variant of the C07.xxx movements that feature, most notably, an 80 hour power reserve. That movement is what powers my Pan Europ, and it – or a close relative of it – is used by most Swatch brands. Hamilton has the H-30, Tissot has the Powermatic 80, and Mido has its Caliber 80.
Well, none of those are what’s in this particular Commander. This “Datoday” model has an ETA 2836-2, which may not benefit from the sizable 80 hours on reserve in the C07-family, but it does benefit from being a notable Swiss movement all the same.
The ETA 2836-2 in this Commander beats at 28,800bph, has 25 jewels, hacks, and features a day/date display.
Mido uses a high caliber ebauche ETA 2836 which should have an accuracy in the +/- 10 second range. I did not test the accuracy of the Commander so I am unable to speak to my observed accuracy.
- To adjust the time, pull the crown to the farthest position (position 3). Turn the crown clockwise to adjust the time. Note that the day/date display will automatically rollover at midnight.
- To adjust the day/date display, pull the crown to its middle position (position 2). Turn the crown clockwise to adjust the date display, or turn the crown counterclockwise to adjust the day.
Beautiful, Sized Right, & Impossible to Wear
Aside from the fact that I lack anything resembling a base color for the gold tones to actually have something to work with, the Commander’s got a wearability problem.
This version of the Commander will set you back a titch under $600 (from Certified Watch Store), which is not an expensive investment for a luxury watch, but is certainly an investment just the same.
I look at a $600 watch as I do an entry-level luxury car: it may not have the most amount of horsepower under the hood, but I expect that it’s going to carry itself with a bit more esteem and ability than what I’d experience from a less luxury-focused segment.
In that respect, the PVD-gilded Commander has the looks and engine to compete. However, I’m held back by the idea that any and every time I wear it, it’s going to wind up with a new scratch or two. A watch should be worn, but the PVD finish on the Commander would make me wary about wearing it.
That the bracelet and lugs are integrated, thus greatly reducing third-party replacement options, only makes this fact more difficult to swallow.
But I would definitely recommend a different version of the Commander, especially if its got the Caliber 80 movement in it.
Mido Commander Datoday Photo Gallery
Affiliate Relationship Disclosure
The folks at CertifiedWatchStore.com sent us this Mido tor eview. They also have an affiliate program that we participate in, where we receive a portion of the revenue of each watch that one of our reader’s purchases.
We only recommend watches that we would personally wear, and as you can see, we get hands-on experience with each one. We purchase most of the watches we review and recommend, as well as all camera equipment (over $3,500 so far), software licenses, and so on.
We are thrilled to work with Certified Watch Store, who are excellent partners that offer a great selection of watches at great prices (and 2 year warranties).
If you are interested in the Commander and want to purchase, we’d love it if you did so at Certified Watch Store. Thank you for supporting us!