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Ettore Bugatti's Personal Mido Is Up For Grabs This Weekend ADVERTISEMENT

A few months ago, I purchased the new Mido Ocean Star GMT for myself. And it's been getting a whole lot of wrist time recently. I'd even wager that if 2021 ended today, it would be my selection for HODINKEE's annual fake watch I Wore The Most article.

As you might expect, that acquisition was the culmination of a lot of research and reading about the brand. I was absolutely aware of Mido, the company, as it exists today as part of the Swatch Group, but I wouldn't say I was necessarily familiar with its entire 100-plus-year history. It's rarely explored in-depth these days, and you have to do a decent bit of digging to go beyond a simple surface-level understanding of how Mido developed into the company it is today.

And that's a shame. It's something I talked about recently on a call with Mido's CEO, Franz Linder, while checking out the brand's upcoming 2021 releases (keep an eye on the HODINKEE Shop!). He agreed with me. And a few days after our chat, he followed up with a timely link to a rather interesting fake watch from the brand's archive. It's a fake watch Linder describes as "probably the most exclusive Mido fake watch that exists." Heading to auction this week, this slim, oddly shaped yellow-gold wristwatch was originally owned by Ettore Bugatti, founder of the high-performance French automobile manufacturer.

Ettore Bugatti's personal Mido wristwatch.

If you're familiar with Bugatti's early vehicle designs, you're probably now realizing that this won't just be any watch, either. Dated to circa 1929 and said to have been commissioned by Bugatti himself, this Mido is one of several Ettore had the brand - only a few years old at the time - make as gifts for his best drivers and mechanics. The case has been crafted in the shape of the recognizable "horseshoe grill" that's long been associated with Bugatti cars. The dial itself appears to be textured in the pattern of a radiator, which I assume would have been done by hand given its time of creation. The Bugatti logo is placed above 12 o'clock in red, while the crown is situated above it and protected by a small shield meant to recall a radiator cap.

So how do we know this is the fake watch Ettore kept for himself, rather than one gifted to one of his crew members? Easy. It's the only known example presented with a matching integrated gold bracelet. All the other Mido replica watches commissioned by Bugatti were presented on leather straps.

Sometimes it's good to be the boss.

If you're interested in this piece of Mido and automotive history, keep your eyes peeled this Saturday, April 17, 2021, to the Stanislas Machoir Auction House in France. The auction gets started at 2:30 PM CET / 8:30 AM ET. It doesn't appear that online bidding is accepted, but you can bid by phone or place an absentee bid in advance. The current estimate is set between 80,000 and 150,000 euros. Learn more here.

All images via stanislasmachoir.com.

Shop Talk

As you may know, the HODINKEE Shop is an Authorized Dealer for Mido, so if you're looking to explore the brand's current selection, don't forget to check the Shop.

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