It was not all that long ago that I brought you my first hands-on impression of a Mido watch. That was a big one, and I dug the Geneva stripes on the dial. Then I wrote about their newly announced GMT (here), and it would be easy to slip into thinking that Mido just makes large, sporty watches. If so, that would be a mistake, because they’ve got some rather lovely, smaller pieces. Today, we’re taking a look at one of those, the Mido Baroncelli III.
Now, credit where credit is due. I have to admit I was totally oblivious to the existence of the Baroncelli, until a recent episode of the Two Broke Watch Snobs podcast. In that episode, Kaz and Mike do a great dive into the history of the brand, and that’s where I came across the Mido Baroncelli III. I mean, you tell me there’s an automatic that’s under 7mm thick, I’m going to be interested, for sure. Not an hour later I was in touch with their awesome PR folks, and we arranged to get a loan in.
What strikes you about the Mido Baroncelli III is, of course, just how thin it is. There’s a lot of hullabaloo around watch thickness, particularly for automatics, and who can reliably make the thinnest one out there. Then you’ve got Mido just sneaking in under the radar. Take a little dash of ETA 2892 (for the movement), whisk out the unnecessary bulk, and voila – a sub-7mm thick watch, no muss, no fuss, no trumpet fanfare. It belies a sort of quiet confidence the brand has, and is imbued into this watch.
It also sort of forces you to reset your frame of reference. We’re used to the 2892 showing up in all manner of watches, but they tend to be sportier pieces, which then tend to be thicker. That a movement that (dare I say it) work-a-day can be put into a elegant piece gives you pause. Sure, this thin of a case is going to limit shock resistance, and you’ve only got a 3 bar WR rating, but that’s fine. This is a watch meant for the gentler and finer pursuits in life. Or, you know, looking good on your wrist when you head into the office.
For as small as the watch is (at 39mm around, along with the aforementioned 6.95mm thickness), there’s still a lot of style baked into it. Take, for instance, the bezel on the case. While you may not see a lot of metal for the bezel, Mido did some nice styling with it on the Mido Baroncelli III. You’ve got rounded steps coming up from the case side, which grants an almost Art Deco feel to it. That was the first pleasant design surprise. The second came in the form of the dial.
As I mentioned in that prior review, I really liked the dial treatment. On the Mido Baroncelli III, it’s much different, but it’s still pretty nicely done. To look at the dial, you think, oh, it’s just a flat dial. As it turns out, no, there’s actually a subtle texture to it, and that just elevates the watch in my book. Again, it speaks to that quite confidence the watch has.
All of this works together to create what is a rather amazing dress watch. It’s thin, it’s (modernly speaking) small, and it’s light. With the included 20/18 black strap, the Mido Baroncelli III is ready for any dressier occasion, and swapping in a different strap on the 20mm lugs will widen it’s flexibility (just make sure it’s an appropriately thin strap to complement the case). For that matter, I think it’s even a good option for every day wear if you’re in an office environment. Or, to put it another way, if you’re like me, the Mido Baroncelli III will work out fine, just fine.
The only quibble I have with the Mido Baroncelli III is the seconds hand. Now, on one hand, I love the blueing, and it’s prominence. On the other hand, at the right angles (when the main hands are not reflecting the light) it can be easy to mix up the hour and seconds hand. Sure, looking at it for more than a few seconds clarifies things. But there was more than once that I caught myself doing a passing glance, and then having to double take because I knew I didn’t just read the correct time. At the end of the day, though, that is a rather small nit to be picking.
For the time I spent with the $990 Mido Baroncelli III, I found myself, once again, enamored. I guess the folks over at Mido have my number, so to speak (and, oh man, that GMT looks to be more of the same). While not everyone may be on the hunt for a very dressy watch, if you are, I think you’ll find the Mido Baroncelli III to be a very pleasant – and under the radar – surprise. At those dimensions, with this design and a sub-$1000 price tag (not to mention the Swiss automatic movement), I would be surprised if the Mido Baroncelli III did not have a lot of fans out there. It is, in my book at least, svelte and stunning. us.shopmido.com
- Brand & Model: Mido Baroncelli III
- Price: $990 (for the rose gold variant, price goes to $1,090)
- Who’s it for? You want your watch dressy, you want it light, and you want it thin
- Would I wear it? Without a doubt
- What I would change: The second hand is almost too prominent – I found myself at times (with a fairly steep angle) mixing it up with the hour hand in a quick glance)
- The best thing about it: Aside from just how thin and light it is? I really like the texture on the dial
Tech Specs from Mido
- Weight: 51.2 g
- Lug width: 20mm
- Thickness: 6.95mm
- Diameter: 39mm
- Case Material: Stainless Steel
- Movement: Mido 1192 (base ETA 2892-A2)
- Crystal: Sapphire with double-side AR treatment
- Water Resistance: 3 bar
- Strap: leather
- Caseback: exhibition