rom 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.
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 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.