Mido serial number project

Discussion in 'Wrist Watches' started by Hayesbd, Feb 17, 2011.

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  1. Hayesbd

    Hayesbd Registered User
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    Feb 13, 2008
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    Hello, all!

    I posted this in another forum as well, hoping for some information...

    Does anyone know of any lists of serial numbers vs. date for Mido watches? I have not been able to find such information, so I have started a little research project. The reason for this is that with Mido, the age of the watch is often difficult to judge since some case and dial styles lasted for decades, especially watches in the 1935 to 1955 time frame.

    I have been collecting Mido case serial number information by surfing the net and eBay and it's pretty clear that the cases (not movements) were serialized and these appear to be synchronized with the chronology of the watch movements and styles. This even appears to pre-date the Taubert-made waterproof cases.

    Right now, it looks like I can tie some serial numbers to definite milestones in Mido production. For example, it looks like serial numbers around 1,500,000 would date to approximately 1954, the year in which the "Powerwind" full-swing rotors were introduced. This has been estimated by finding the lowest serial number of a Powerwind model (so far 1,528,098). I have also found that serial number 893,803 dates to 1946 or earlier since I found this watch for sale with its original, dated sales receipt.

    If you have any case serial number data (usually on the inside of the case back) you would like to share, I'd love to have it. As I collect this data, I plan on posting a case serial number vs. date chart as best I can.

    Also, does anyone know the sigificance of the letters R and M seen on some dials? I have seen these letters on watches that are probably in the 1935 to 1945 range. One watch has a dial that is not labeled "Mido" at all and instead is labeled "Perpetuum" and "ZentRa" along with the R and M letters. This watch has German lettering indicating waterproof, etc. instead of the more normal English, but it's clearly made by Mido. ("Zentra" auf Deutsch ist "Central" auf Englisch und ist eine aktuelle Uhrenmarke in Deutschland.) Could the R and M letters signify some German approval marks?


    Thanks,
    Brian
     
  2. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User
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    When I saw your Mido thread, I had an "AHA" moment, recalling back to the day about 20 years ago when I attended an estate sale where I purchased a Mido watch. It came with its original presentation case, outer shell, and warranty. I still have everything. I retrieved the box and removed the warranty to find it had not been filled out at the time of the sale! The warranty is printed Mido Multifort Superautomatic Powerwind. I estimate it was likely purchased circa 1951. It has the serial number 1631666 inside the case back, and the movement is caliber 817 which is AS 1081 as pictured in Roland Ranfft's movement archive here.

    http://www.ranfft.de/cgi-bin/bidfun-db.cgi?10&ranfft&&2uswk&Mido_817

    There are two repair numbers inside the case back, neither of which has a date.

    Best of luck in your project.
     
  3. Hayesbd

    Hayesbd Registered User
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    Doug,

    Thanks for the reply. It's interesting that your watch has the 817 movement which I thought was only a bumper wind. Is there a suffix, like 817P (although I have not heard of any 816/817 series with full rotor)? Based on Mido's history and corroborated by Google book searches of Life Magazine, the Powerwind series debuted in 1954 and would have had a full, 360 degree winding rotor as in the 917P, or similar movement. Your serial number would suggest something newer than 1954 if my deductions are correct.

    Thanks again,
    Brian
     
  4. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User
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    Brian,

    As I said in my post it IS an 817 with the "bumper" automatic. This warranty indicates "Powerwind" which might indicate that it should actually have been matched with a later "full-rotor" type? I suppose it could be, if this one was still in stock later when the full-wind type appeared in the store, and the wrong warranty was issued. I have just re-read the warranty, and it is no help in identifying just what the "Powerwind" means. It refers to the simple form of automatic wind that has only 7 parts. That's all! But the movement in this one is just like the one shown in the link in my earlier post.
     
  5. Hayesbd

    Hayesbd Registered User
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    Doug,

    Interesting...

    Is there any chance you have a photo to post? If not, can you describe the case style and dial markings?

    Thanks again,
    Brian
     
  6. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User
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    #6 doug sinclair, Feb 17, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2011
    I'll send a picture or two, later. But for the meantime, have you checked the NAWCC BULLETIN index re: Mido watches?

    http://www.nawcc.org/BulletinIndex/search-bulletins-1.php?BeginNumber=1&StartID=1&var1=mido&Count=100&SearchType=1&SearchOption=3&SortType=1

    I was astonished at how many listings there are for Mido watches over the years. As an NAWCC member, you may or may not have the particular issues of the Bulletin, but if you haven't, you can access them on line. But I suspect you know that.

    In an article by Bruce Shawkey in Bulletin issue 333, page 524, he mentions the Multifort Superautomatic. He says the name was introduced in 1935, and it described a watch that had a "bumper" automatic.So Superautomatic doesn't necessarily describe a full rotor, modern automatic. He describes these early Midos as having an automatic winding system that made use of "sixteen parts". The warranty with mine describes an automatic wind with only SEVEN parts. Go figure!
     
  7. artbissell

    artbissell Registered User
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    #7 artbissell, Feb 17, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2011
    Know nothing about this one 1240182 except it has lead gasket and cork stem seal, and Incabloc. Gold on top of s.s. Runs like new. Disappointed to know it is Schild movement. Box newer than watch? 84624.jpg 84625.jpg 84626.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  8. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User
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    Here is a picture of the watch, the case, the box, and the warranty. Not a great picture, but you get the idea.

    Art,

    The listing from Roland Ranfft says that AS built this caliber specifically for Mido. 84627.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  9. goldspur

    goldspur Registered User

    Jan 30, 2011
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    i have two mido watches 3x adj 17j 903052 has small 24hr red numbers inside the standard dial multifort bumper wind. next one 3x adj 17j 554928 standard dial somewhat of hex case multifort bumper wind but you can not manually wind this watch.have no idea of year made.
     
  10. Hayesbd

    Hayesbd Registered User
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    Doug,

    Yes, I have been through all the Bulletins with Mido references. I've also done a lot more searching for Mido history. Here are a few definite date milestones that I think can be relied upon:

    1934 - Multifort developed; water resistant, anti-magnetic, and shock resistant; Mido were among the first to use Incabloc jewel settings. Manual winding movements were offered up to the early 1950s, I think, but were less common than automatics (at least in the US).

    1935 - Multifort automatic watches introduced; these were bumper movements and the dials usually labeled "Super-automatic", although some early ones may have been labeled only "automatic". Most of these seem to have the 816 or 817 movements, but early ones exist that are not marked or are marked "Mod. 1938", "Mod. 1939", and "Mod. 1941". It's awfully tempting to infer that these model numbers refer to the year that these movements were introduced, but I am not sure.

    1954 - Powerwind was introduced. This improvement was to change to full 360-degree winding rotor instead of the bumper movement and this is where the part count reduction came in. I believe the first of these were the 916P and 917P calibers. Watch dials were now labeled with both Superautomatic (ususally no dash) as well as Powerwind.

    Since your watch has the 817 movement and no "Powerwind" on the dial, I am tempted to think that the movement/dial/hands were swapped at some servicing interval. The box, papers, and case serial number all fit within the post-1954 date clues that I have found so far.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Brian
     
  11. artbissell

    artbissell Registered User
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    Can I say the 1240182 is about 1940? it is marked with Brit Harwood autowind patent. I thought it must be among first to use Incabloc. Was that also about 1940?
     
  12. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User
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    The dial on mine says Mido Multifort Super-Automatic. Its condition is such that I think I can say with utmost confidence that the dial has not been changed. Might it have been re-finished and marked as per the markings on a later model? Again, the condition of the watch is such that I seriously doubt it. It is almost inconceivable that a dial intended for and marked for a more advanced model would fit the Mido 817. Thereby, it is conceivable that the warranty that is with mine was intended for a later model. Interesting discourse.
     
  13. Hayesbd

    Hayesbd Registered User
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    Art,

    I believe I already have your watch in my database (if this is what you published a while ago in the Bulletin). Incabloc dates to 1934 and Mido may very well have been the first company to use it. It's interesting that you mention the British patent marking as I have been tracking these markings as well. If the patent number is 385509, this is the patent for the decagonal case back, and not for autowind. The Multifort cases were made by Taubert, and originally referred to the British patent, with early cases stating "Brit. Pat" or something similar. Later, the cases switched to also showing the Mido name and the actual patent number. Still later, the case marking switched to "Vacuum" instead. For an interesting treatise on the history of the Mido cases, please see this link for David Boettcher's excellent research on Borgel cases and their developments.

    Unfortunately, I don't have enough confidence to give you a date on serial number 1240182, but it's probably not as early as 1940 - these would be 6-digit numbers for sure. If I had to guess, this would date from around 1950 to 1953.

    Regards,
    Brian
    -> posts merged by system <-
    Doug,

    What I meant to suggest was that the entire 817 movement/dial/hands from an older watch may have been placed into the newer case. This could have happened if the owner brought the watch in for service and the original 0916P/0917P movement was damaged beyond repair. Perhaps the watchmaker had an old working 817 he offered for a good price. Both movement types are 11''' size and maybe would fit the same case.

    Anyway, this is all speculation and may never be fully understood.

    Thanks again,
    Brian
     
  14. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User
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    Since the warranty and the box both say Powerwind, and since the watch is clearly NOT a Powerwind, one can only conclude that the box is not (or should not have been) the one that should have been sold with the watch. At the same estate sale I bought a Le Coultre automatic with a wind indicator on it (long ago sold), so maybe the guy was a bit of a watch collector who collected bits and pieces, and who "married" this Mido to an incorrect box. But I can say without equivocation that this movement is original to this watch case. Now if only we could explain the apparently much later serial number. The number between the lugs and inside the case back match.
     
  15. Hayesbd

    Hayesbd Registered User
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    How does one know definitively that a movement is original to its case? I always have to guess/assume about whether or not all parts are original. Any tips you can pass along would help me in discerning all the pictures I'm wading through as well as better understanding my own collection.

    The serial number on the case being higher than expected might be explained by the possibility that Mido could have continued to offer bumper wind movements for some time after Powerwind movements were introduced. The ads I've perused don't suggest this (as well as Roland Ranfft's Mido caliber listings), but of course they may simply have been touting the "latest and greatest" in those ads, while older models continued to be available. So far, your watch is the only example I've found that indicates this possibility, but after more research time, I hope to be able to have enough data to figure it all out.

    Thanks,
    Brian
     
  16. Roland Ranfft

    Roland Ranfft Registered User

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    Hi ladies,

    the Mido production records after 1938 are almost complete, and you can
    request the production year over the Mido site. The time before 1938 has
    lots of missing links, and I try to fill them with samples of known production
    date, under agreement with Mido. So I guess, meanwhile almost every Mido
    between 1926 and 1995 can be dated after the case number.

    The years (+/- 1 year) for the numbers mentioned in this thread are:

    1938: 554,928
    1945: 893,803
    1945: 903,052
    1949: 1,240,182
    1953: 1,528,098
    1953: 1,631,666

    Regards, Roland Ranfft
     
  17. artbissell

    artbissell Registered User
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    I really am impressed with the design and durable quality I found in the little old homely 1949 Mido I thuoght was much older. Good to know others seem to appreciate it as well. This thread is a fine reference.
     
  18. Hayesbd

    Hayesbd Registered User
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    Roland,

    Thank you very much for this information! It looks like there is no need for my database after all. I have had some trouble with their website as it re-directs me to the US site automatically, and the page does not load properly. I assume you contact them throught the Swiss site? Are these requests automatic lookups or do you have to email them?

    Thanks,

    Brian
     
  19. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User
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    Brian,

    There is no way a later Powerwind movement could have been shoehorned into this tiny case! You indicated that the later Powerwind movement was 11 ligne I believe. The 817 is 10 1/2, and it is a tight fit in this small case. In 50 plus years in this business, I can say that many, many years ago, we used to service a lot of these just exactly like this one of mine. It has not been re-fitted, be assured!
     
  20. Roland Ranfft

    Roland Ranfft Registered User

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  21. Hayesbd

    Hayesbd Registered User
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    Roland,

    Thanks very much. I still get re-directed to the US website, but I did contact them via the request form.

    Best regards/mit freundlichen Grüßen,

    Brian
     
  22. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User
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    I found out from Mido this morning that my Mido Multifort, serial # 1631666, was from 1954.
     
  23. comolake

    comolake New Member

    Feb 26, 2011
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    Hello to everyone,

    I am getting close to midos in these days, I am thinking to buy the multifort show below. It is problably one of the first automatic... 1936, 37? Anyway it is very fascinating and I'd love to hear from you :)

    Mauro
    from Como Lake, Italy 85379.jpg 85380.jpg 85381.jpg 85382.jpg
     
  24. tattoobaker

    tattoobaker New Member

    Nov 28, 2011
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    I'm hoping someone can help me. my father gave me a Mido oceanstar powerwind, sn#2,435,520. I took it a watch place and all they can tell me about it is it's solid gold. They want to charge 125$ to appraise it for me. I'd like to know what its worth for Insurance and for my records. If anyone can help me out I'd be very happy! thanks and hope evryone has a great holiday, tattoobaker
     
  25. Raullt

    Raullt New Member

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    Hello,

    I think I have something that may help:

    This is my Super Automatic Mido Multifort.
    Serial number of the case: 0003

    Inside the cover:
    Brit.Pat
    385509
    Mido
    Limited
    Switzerland
    Rustless
    Steel
    1140003

    Movement:
    Mido Limited 816
    Made in Switzerland
    3x adjusted
    17 jewels

    The movement has no serial number.
    External case number: 0003.
    Internal case number: 1140003.
    The first case number for Mido Multifort is 1140001?
    120243.jpg 120244.jpg 120245.jpg 120246.jpg 120247.jpg
    Thank you very much.
     
  26. Roland Ranfft

    Roland Ranfft Registered User

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    Hi Raullt,

    Mido movements are not numbered, of course except certified chronometers.

    No, even this one with #444459 is not the first, but surely from 1934, the first production year of Multifort models:
    http://www.ranfft.de/cgi-bin/bidfun-db.cgi?10&ranfft&&2usau&1224082815
    Unfortunately almost all records before 1938 are lost, and it will be impossible to find out the first Multfort ever.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft
     
  27. Raullt

    Raullt New Member

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    Thank you very much for your help and the excellence of your website.
     
  28. Dave Haynes

    Dave Haynes Registered User
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    I have followed Mido for years. Old jewelers I talked with said that it was the equal of Rolex in both quality and price in its peak years. The Super Automatics I've owned were all AS based bumper automatics and I've used AS parts sometimes when I couldn't find anything else. If I recall the Powerwinds I've owned were also bumpers. The Multiforts I have now are #816550 and #1941205 also marked VACUUM inside. The original Mido crowns are a match for Movados hubcap style.
     
  29. Hayesbd

    Hayesbd Registered User
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    Roland,

    I have gradually been compiling some observations of Mido serial numbers, and I believe your 444,459 probably dates to around 1936. Mido did not make self-winding Multiforts until 1935 (according to their own published history) and I have seen several serial numbers substantially below 444,459. For example, I just recently acquired a self-winding Multifort with a chromed brass case, steel back and a 7-jewel AS1049 movement. Its serial number is 367,377.

    I also have a 15-jewel AS1049 with serial number 382,305 in an all-steel case. Other self-winding Multiforts' serial numbers include 409,266 (the earliest 17-jewel AS1049 I have seen) and 441,936 (did not see the movement on this one).

    Furthermore, I found that if I assume a date of 1935 of serial number 367,377 and combine it with later verified serial numbers, I can put a curve fit through the data to make a crude estimator. Lo and behold - I found very good correlation to suggest that all the movement labels of "Mod. 1938" through "Mod. 1941" are probably date markings, not model numbers.

    Just thought you might be interested.

    Regards,
    Brian
     
  30. m1k10s

    m1k10s New Member

    Sep 20, 2012
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    i have mido pocket watch with number 222897 one one side and 222946
    when i open the watch
    do you have any data obout this watch 141141.jpg 141142.jpg
     
  31. clockmendergb

    clockmendergb New Member

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    I have a Mido Multifort super automatic

    Case Number between lugs 6405 Rolled gold case by the looks of it.

    Inside case back
    Brit pat 385509
    Mido ltd Switzerland
    rustless steel-back
    11-16405

    Automatic movement (Buffer) Mido limited 816
    adjusted three positions.

    Can be wound by the crown.

    Needs cleaning and a crystal but all looks to be in good shape.

    No other information to add.

    good luck on your search

    clockmendergb
     
  32. blue92

    blue92 Registered User

    Sep 24, 2012
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    I know it's not as old as the others in the thread but here's my 1974 Mido Multi*Star serial number 6781493, case number 1689.

    157892.jpg

    It's has an ETA movement in it but the model number is up under the balance wheel so I'm not taking it apart to read it.
     
  33. onlychrono

    onlychrono New Member

    Jan 20, 2012
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    My Multichrono 170291.jpg
    170292.jpg
     
  34. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    Mine is a 3x adj 17J 566432 marked mod. 1940 bumper wind (AS 1081) 817. 183124.jpg
     
  35. Arnold Theisen

    Arnold Theisen Registered User
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    This thread may be too old to be relevant, but I have an old Mido that I just opened to inspect. It has the 0917P full rotor movement. The serial number inside the caseback is 2568815, and the serial number on the outside the case between two of the lugs is 8815. It has 17 Jewels. The case is stainless steel, dial is white with gold numbers at 12, 3, 6, and 9 and V-shaped markers in between. The dial is simply marked "Mido", with no other info, not even the ubiquitous "Swiss". It looks like a Multifort in appearance. The back has marking including "powerwind", "stainless steel", "shock resistant", "waterproof", "antimagnetic", "Switzerland", and "Mido". If you have any info about this watch please let me know.
     
  36. Roland Ranfft

    Roland Ranfft Registered User

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    Hi there,

    the seral number indicates the production year 1962. Between the lugs the last four digits of the serial number are repeated. In times when cases were manually made, such partial numbers were used to keep case parts together. Later they were used for administratio purposes, here likely to identify a watch without opening the back, as long as it didn't leave the factory.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft
     
  37. BroGeo

    BroGeo New Member

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    #37 BroGeo, Oct 9, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2017
    Hello All:
    I have a Mido Multifort Super-Automatic I recently acquired:
    • Case Number between lugs = 1356727
    • In a circle around the case back:
    RUSTLESS STEEL MIDO MULTIFORT SUPERAUTOMATIC SWITZERLAND
    • Automatic Movement (Bumper)
    • Can be wound by the crown
    • Needs cleaning and a crystal but all looks to be in good shape & keeps good time (keeps up with my 1950's vintage Rolex GMT-Master)

    I have not removed the case back. I was hoping to get an approximate year of manufacture.

    Thanks!
    BroGeo 216015.jpg 216016.jpg 216017.jpg 216018.jpg
     
  38. artbissell

    artbissell Registered User
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    Glad to see this really fine thread continuing. When I first got nice 1950? gold cased one for $6.00 at estate sale it was a complete unknown to me. Thus an NAWCC article about my appreciation for it but that it was generally unknown. Soon learned otherwise. Especially here. One of few w.w. I would like to add is Mido chronograph. artbissell
     
  39. Midoinseattle

    Midoinseattle Newbie

    Nov 7, 2014
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    I've read all your great work on the Mido Multifort serial numbers and dates, and I have an interesting one. I'm interested in your thoughts about it. Here are photos -- serial number 654544 (case), Mod 1941 on the movement. This is the condition straight out of my drawer, where it has resided for the past 35-40 years, since my father stopped wearing it. It has a 14k rose gold case. It seems pretty early because it just says "automatic" on the back (not pictured), and says nothing on the face except "Mido." It seems like the serial number fits in with the theory that "Mod 1941" implies manufacture in 1941 or maybe 1942, don't you think? Any other comments or observations? I'm having it cleaned and serviced right now.


    218602.jpg 218603.jpg 218604.jpg
     
  40. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    And here's my #566432... 1940?

    218620.jpg
     
  41. odelay01

    odelay01 New Member

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    Hello everyone, first time poster, but long time lover of watches.

    I too have a Mido Multfort Super Automatic. It is serial number 531490, has an octagonal case, and the sub seconds dial. The amazing thing is that it still works and looks pretty good!

    I was wondering if I have a man's watch as it's pretty small, maybe 30 or 32mm or less. I assumed it was a ladies watch because of the size.

    From the serial number is it from the late 1930s? Also, did these watches come with a stretch band?

    Thanks,

    Eddie 231484.jpg 231496.jpg 231497.jpg
     
  42. Roland Ranfft

    Roland Ranfft Registered User

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    Hi There,

    the number 531490 was likely made in 1937, and yes, 30mm was a quite common size for gents watches back then. Makers wanted to demostrate that they were able to achieve pocket watch accuracy even with such small sizes, and customers who paid the price for a new watch, didn't want it to be confused with a converted ladies (or even gents) pocket watch. Thus a small size was synonymous for both, advanced technology, and prosperity of the owner.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft
     
  43. odelay01

    odelay01 New Member

    Mar 15, 2015
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    Thanks for the information!
     
  44. timewinder1

    timewinder1 New Member

    Jan 14, 2018
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    Hello!
    I have a mystery Mido here. Case number says 434,993. I’ve researched everywhere I can think of looking for a clue whether this dial actually belongs on this watch. I can find no hint that Mido ever had such a dial with “ Sckerbel St. Moritz” name. Does anyone have any knowledge about this? This looks quite old and by everything I’ve read on this thread, perhaps this watch dates in the 30’s. It looks rough but runs great. Thanks in advance for any help!

    F7A0986F-005F-4B9E-97C9-5C1149DD1778.jpeg 8C664CFC-C2DC-4D82-A0DA-C75FF3BEDFFA.jpeg 345FDE43-624B-4460-83FD-C8E052400DD9.jpeg
     
  45. Steven Thornberry

    Steven Thornberry User Administrator
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 15, 2004
    18,265
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    You meant to write "Scherbel," right?
     
  46. timewinder1

    timewinder1 New Member

    Jan 14, 2018
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    Hi Steven, looking at the name Scherbel, I wrote Sckerbel because it sure looks like a “k” and not an “h”. The Scherbel makes more sense though. I’ve also noticed that the word “automatic” is under the hands but very faded. “Made in Switzerland” on low end of dial. The dial must have been interchanged from another watch brand then. .Thank you for the reply!
     
  47. Steven Thornberry

    Steven Thornberry User Administrator
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 15, 2004
    18,265
    38
    48
    Scherbel was a long-time Jeweller's in St. Moritz, but now,apparently, closed. Perhaps they placed their own dial on the watch or had their name added to the dial.
     
  48. timewinder1

    timewinder1 New Member

    Jan 14, 2018
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    How interesting! So it IS an original dial. I certainly appreciate that information. Thank you!
     
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