Mido Multifort Automatic Chronograph
On one of my cruises around the internet looking at watch sales sites I happened across an interesting looking watch by a maker I had not previously encountered – Mido.
My interests are generally toward Seiko as a maker but I have always had an abiding interest in tool watches. Here were two watches that hit my favorite tool watch categories (Chronographs and Pulsemeter watches) and both by the same maker – Mido. I was intrigued and looked into the watches further. The smaller watch is a Pulsemeter with a Modified ETA 2824-2 and the larger is the Mido Multifort Automatic Chronograph. Here were two beautiful old fashioned style watches that combined traditional 1940’s era looks with modern materials and specifications. I liked their looks and the specifications but at the time I did not buy the Mido Multifort Automatic Chronograph. because it lists for between $1695 and $1795 with a street price typically in the $1100 range.
A couple of weeks ago I was looking for a watch as a present for myself for achieving a rather large goal at work and recalling the Mido Multifort Automatic Chronograph. I did a Google search. I found two listings on sales forums and went looking. Listed as nearly never worn, perfect condition, and by a WIS that I had chatted with a couple of times. It only took me 30 minutes to decide and I paid for it immediately via PayPal. The watch arrived 5 days later (MLK Holiday delayed it some) and was exactly as described!
Now for the technical specifications of the Mido Multifort Automatic Chronograph:
·Champagne Dial with shadowed Arabic numerals
·Black hands with Superluminova fill on main timekeeping hands
·Tachometer scale in blue (Speedometer for distance of 1000m, scale from 50 to 250km/h) and seconds scale in black
·316L surgical grade solid stainless steel case 43mm
·Scratch-resistant anti-reflecting sapphire crystal
·Transparent mineral caseback
·Screwed back and crown
·'Conical' chronograph buttons
·100 meters (330 feet) water resistance & quipped with the Aquadura crown sealing system – “it's swimming, shower and sauna resistant”
·Fine padded Leather strap with steel butterfly deployant clasp engraved with Mido
·Super-LumiNova® on hands and numerals
·Decorated and fine elaborate Swiss Made Mido® 1320 calibre (based on the ETA Valjoux 7750) automatic movement:
·Adjusted in 5 different positions
·INCABLOC and NIVA-COURBE shock-absorber
·GLUCYDUR balance wheel
·ANACHRON and NIVAFLEX hair and mainspring with power reserve in excess of 45 hours
·Blue screws, pearled bridges, and oscillating weight with Côtes de Genève and engraved Mido® logo
·Hacking and hand winding
·Time: hour and minute hands, small second at '9', date and day window at '3'
·Chrono: central 60-second-counter, 30-minute-counter at '12', and 12-hour-counter at '6'
·Quickset day and date with day indication in English
Now that I had this beautiful watch I needed to learn more about it. Upon inspection the movement appeared different in several respects to other 7750 movements I have inspected. I opened my Swiss Army 9G-600 (a truly exceptional value and one of my long-term favorites) to look at its Valjoux 7750 side-by-side with the Mido. The first thing that was obvious is that the Mido has Blue screws, pearled bridges, and an oscillating weight with Côtes de Genève and engraved Mido® logo. That was not all that I saw that seemed different between the two watches. The balance seemed different on the Mido. While not technically accurate it looked like the wheel was rounded instead of straight up-and-down. Additionally, many of the parts seemed better finished. This got me intrigued and I recalled several posts over the years about different “Grades” of Eta movements – particularly 2824 movements. I posted to several WIS forums. Oddly on one of the forums that has the highest “tone” I got no helpful posts and many that were…..well frankly derisive. Then Mike Stuffler posted to my request on the Public Forum of WUS with some interesting information, he said “if you know the difference between an Etachron shock protection and an Incabloc shock protection, if you know the different look of a Glucydur balance in regards to a Ni balance you should tell.” I had read about some of these in various articles and went in search of more information – and hoping for pictures!
The Mido technical specifications on their website included the following:
"Technical characteristics Mido® 1320 calibre (based on the ETA Valjoux 7750) Ø 131/4’’’ or 30.00 mm, thickness: 7.90 mm, 25 rubies, 28 800 A/H, 165 components, power reserve in excess of 42 hours, INCABLOC and NIVACOURBE shock absorbers, GLUCYDUR balance-wheel, NIVAROX I balance spring, NIVAFLEX NO barrel spring, burnished screws, circular-grained bars, oscillating weight with Côtes de Genève and engraved Mido® logo."
Here was some information that helped. So, the movement reportedly has INCABLOC and NIVACOURBE shock absorbers, GLUCYDUR balance-wheel, NIVAROX I balance spring, and NIVAFLEX NO barrel spring. This seemed to fit with what Mike had said about how to tell, but were these improvements or the standard components? Well, why not ask Mike? He responded with:
“The "ingredients" you mentioned for sure are what I’d call the "key components" of a "high grade" movement. I sum it up:
Balance wheel: Glucydur vs Ni
Hairspring: Nivarox 1 versus Nivarox 2 or Anachron (ETA)
Mainspring and barrel material: Nivaflex NO vs NivaflexNM
Shock protection: Etachron vs Incabloc vs KIF.
Incabloc is more expensive than the Etachron shock protection and belongs to the "top" and "chronometre" grades of ETA. NIVACOURBE is a patented spring treatment by ETA. The open spring end is treated with heat in order to prevent deformation of the spring in case of a shock. This treatment is named: ETA SA: "ETASTABLE"
Most of the mechanical-ETA-movements can be ordered with ETASTABLE if you are willing to add some $$. Certainly a "high end module". Nivarox 1 is the best quality of Nivarox (1-5 is available). 0...0,5 sec deviation within 24 h on a change of temperature of 1º. I’ve to admit: very technical thing. The movement you described imho must be a "Top" or "Chronometre" movement.”
This sounded GREAT! As much as I like the watch aesthetically this information was only making me enjoy the watch more. At this point it sounded good. Then I got a response to my query on the TZ-UK Forum. I had lots of compliments on the watch but had one or two technical inquiries. When I responded Lysanderxiii said again that it sounded like a “Top Grade” Eta movement. I asked if he had any specifics on the various grades and he kindly responded with:
“The material differences are listed below.
Standard and Elabore:
Mainspring - Nivaflex NO
Shock protection - Etachocs
Pallet stones - Polyrubies, Epilame-coated
Balance - Nickel gilt
Balance staff - Epilame coated
Collet - Nivatronic
Hairspring - Nivarox 2
Hairspring heat treatment - Etastable
Top and Chronometre:
Mainspring - NivaflexNM
Shock protection - Incabloc
Pallet stones - Red rubies, Epilame-coated
Balance - Glucydur gilt
Balance staff - Epilame coated
Collet - Nivatronic
Hairspring - Anachron
Hairspring heat treatment - Etastable
The performance differences are the big differences between the various grades: ("The limit values are subject to interpretation: 95% of the pieces delivered in a lot must be within the specified limits.")
2 positions (CH, 6H)
daily rate: +/-12 sec/day
Maximum positional variation: 30 sec
Isochronism (between 0 and 24 hours): +/- 20 sec
3 positions (CH, 6H, 9H)
daily rate: +/-7 sec/day
Maximum positional variation: 20 sec
Isochronism (between 0 and 24 hours): +/- 15 sec
5 positions (CH, FH, 6H, 9H, 3H)
daily rate: +/-4 sec/day
Maximum positional variation: 15 sec
Isochronism (between 0 and 24 hours): +/- 10 sec
As per COSC specifications, which as far as most owners will notice, isn't much different from Top grade.
There are variations in the finish that will come with the movement, the Top and Chronometre come with snailed rotors, and elabore is a little better decorated that standard. But, even standard grades can be gold plated or even decorated.”
This all fit the Technical Specification from Mido and the fact that the movement was listed as "5 Positions". So, my odyssey through WISdom in search of information and explanation about the technical aspects of my new Mido Multifort Automatic Chronograph led me to the firm opinion that it is both beautiful and one of the best mechanical 7750s available!
My Mido Multifort Automatic Chronograph has kept superb time in the week that I have owned it at ±2 seconds per day. The pushers are smooth and operate with crisp let off. The crown turns and threads easily. The deployant, my first butterfly, is firm and locks with authority. The strap is well padded near the watch head, which gives the strap some firmness, and tapers rapidly to an unpadded strap on the underside of the wrist. It is comfortable and best of all for me is the first and only factory strap that was long enough to wear out of the box! The mirror finish on the upper surfaces is perfect and the fit and finish is better than any watch I have ever owned (including my only long-gone Rolex). The lume lasts throughout the night and while dimmer than some of my Seikos is readable in a darkened room after sitting on the bedstand for ~8 hours. The hands are easier to read on the Champaign dial than many because they are outlined in black. The display back is one of the best features as the movement is a wonderful and mesmerizing combination of beauty and function that captivates and fascinates at the same time.
The Mido Multifort Automatic Chronograph is one of the least well-known watches on the WIS fora and is certainly well-worth your time and effort to track down. Thanks for reading the review and a special thanks to Lysanderxiii and Mike Stuffler for all their time and effort in answering my often uninformed and naïve questions. The watches are a great part of our passion but the wonderful people who share their knowledge and passion for watches make it even more enjoyable. Thanks go Mike and Lysanderxiii and all the WIS who have helped educate me over the past couple of years!