For some untold reason, the pointer date complication was always a source of fascination for me. On vintage models from the 1930s, 40s and 50s, the complication is somehow contained in what is generally a sub-36mm watch, a veritable city’s worth of tiny mechanical pieces working together to drive this eloquent mechanism that simply informs the reader what day it is, and yet manages to do so gracefully and without cluttering a small dial (don’t even get me started on waxing poetic about the perpetual calendar).
Thankfully the complication has seen somewhat of a resurgence lately from the likes of Oris (a brand that has had one in its lineup in one form or another for decades), and more recently, from Mido. The Mido Multifort Datometer Limited Edition (hereafter simply the “Datometer,” because there’s no way I’m going to repeat all of those words over and over again) is a special re-edition of a piece from the 1940s available in a limited run of 1918 pieces (in honor of the brand’s 100th birthday). Though the original Datometer was made in steel, the current version is available exclusively in a rose gold-colored PVD finish.
The Good: Plenty of things. For one, this watch looks sharp, and though the fact that the case is a rose gold-colored PVD rather than actual gold (solid or otherwise) may turn some people off, the case finishing is actually very nicely done, with brushed sides, a polished case back, and interesting faceted lugs, and the watch is affordable precisely because it’s only a gold-colored coating ($1,350). The dial is clean and legible, with different materials and surfaces, and time and date setting are very smooth via the non-screw-down crown. I also rather like the 19mm faux-alligator strap (you get that wonderful alligator look without killing any actual alligators, so that they can be left alone to do alligator stuff in the Everglades), though the leather has worn away near the buckle, so perhaps the finishing isn’t the best (it was certainly comfortable enough).
Who They’re For: This is a noteworthy question, as the watch occupies some interesting territory by virtue of its size and materials. On the one hand, the Datometer certainly doesn’t strike me as an everyday watch, given its rose gold PVD finish and lack of much water resistance (50m). On the other hand, its 40mm diameter and 11.85mm case depth and complication don’t necessarily relegate it to dress watch territory (to my mind, a dress watch should be slightly slimmer and of a smaller diameter and without a complication, though this is merely my opinion). When I wear a watch with a suit, or even with slacks and a jacket, I want something 38mm or smaller (36mm or 34mm is a common size in my collection), and certainly want it to fit snugly under my cuff. Perhaps the Datometer is ideal for a bigger guy who wants a dress watch but doesn’t want to be stuck with something that will be dwarfed on his wrist, or someone who wants a gold-tone watch without having to shell out for a solid gold piece.
Watch Out For: Honestly, there isn’t too much that I don’t like about the Datometer besides the size. Somewhere between 36mm and 38mm would have been ideal for me, given the watch’s (assumed) intention to function as a dress piece, and I would also have welcomed a slightly thinner case. That being said, the watch uses the Mido cal. 80, based on the ETA C07.611, which is evidently the only pointer-date movement available in the ETA lineup – as the Swatch group apparently doesn’t have another choice available, I can’t very well complain about their having to design a taller case to accommodate it (the domed crystal also adds somewhat to the height, but admittedly looks great). I suppose the strap quality could be better as well, given its tendency to wear down near the buckle.
Alternatives: We’ve got you covered. As I said earlier, Oris has generally kept a watch with a pointer date complication in its lineup for some time, but this year at Basel 2018 they really upped the ante with the new additions to the Oris Big Crown Pointer Collection . Pricing on these begins at $1600 and goes up to $2000, and the Collection features pieces in 36mm and 40mm in several dial colors and materials. Look out for a review of the 40mm version from us soon.
Review: The Datometer checks a lot of boxes – it’s got vintage-inspired design upgraded with modern components, an interesting case and a beautiful dial, and it’s comfortable on the wrist. While I find myself wishing it were 2mm (or even 4mm) smaller, I also understand current sizing conventions in the watch industry, so I’m not going to fault Mido for making the Datometer 40mm wide (though I do think that given the very recent reverse trend in the industry, had this watch been designed perhaps even 6 months later, the manufacturer might have considered making it smaller).
The dial is where the watch really shines for me, with its beautiful combination of fonts, concave hour markers, inner minute/second track with individual minute and 1/5th second demarcations, silver-tone background, and graceful hands. The upside of having a 40mm dial on a watch with a pointer date complication is that the outer date track really has space – it’s not encroaching upon the timekeeping function of the watch itself and instead stays out of the way of the inner tracks while still integrating well into the overall design. Aesthetically, I haven’t seen many other dials recently that really catch my eye the way that of the Datometer does.
The watch features an exhibition case back that lets you view the cal. 80 movement ticking away beneath. While the cal. 80 isn’t the most highly finished or decorated movement in the history of horology, it’s certainly fun to watch it doing its thing, and I don’t think the exhibition back detracts at all from the overall aesthetic of this particular watch the way it does in certain other models (there’s something endlessly fascinating about watching a watch movement work, and if there isn’t, you’re probably not a watch collector, and you’re likely not reading this, anyway).
As the crown is not of the screw-down variety, it should come as no surprise that the Datometer is only rated to 5 bar (50m) of water resistance, though it’s likely evident that this is not a sport piece meant to be taken into the pool or ocean. Changing both the time and date are smooth and easy procedures (the date is changed via the crown, rather than via a mini-pusher, which is a nice touch and in my opinion, a simpler, cleaner design).
Internally, the cal. 80 beats at 21,600 vph and features an 80-hour power reserve, so you could conceivably put the watch down for several days and not have to worry about resetting the time or date when you put it back on again. Externally, the faceted lugs and different case finishes offer a variety of surfaces to catch the light, and give the Datometer a sophisticated appearance. For those who prefer the cachet or weight of a solid gold wristwatch, this watch is certainly not the correct choice – however as modern PVD finishes are very sturdy, if it’s durability that the wearer is concerned with, it is doubtful that this will be an issue here. Indeed, it was the price point rather than the watch’s appearance that first alerted me to the fact that this was in fact a rose gold-colored PVD case, rather than one made of solid gold, or even gold plate over another metal.
Verdict: I like it! I want it to be 2-3mm smaller, and I want it in steel, but I like it. The Datometer has a lot going for it, and I think if they took a page out of Oris’s book and produced a non-limited version in steel with a vintage-style leather strap, it would fly off the shelves. As is, the watch is a solid value proposition, and you’re getting a lot for your money – and what’s more, it may be the perfect piece for someone who’s been hesitant to get into his first gold (or gold-colored) watch.
What Others Are Saying:
• “The Multifort Datometer is a simple watch that offers a lot of value for the money, and looks like something much more expensive on the wrist.” — Stephen Pulverint, HODINKEE
• “Mido did a really good with the Multifort Datometer. It gets things right where it counts, and it’s simply a very attractive watch. The dial really nails it, and though it’s basically a replica of the ’30s original it feels at home on a wrist in 2018.” — Zach Weiss, Worn & Wound
Movement: Mido cal. 80 (ETA C07.611); 80-hr power reserve
Case Diameter: 40mm
Case Thickness: 11.85mm
Water Resistance: 50m
Other Notable Features: pointer date complication; rose gold-colored PVD case
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