While I’ve never really had any interest in wearing anything other than steel watches, over the past little while I have started to become gold curious. Am I a gold watch guy? Can trying a few examples change my opinion? How will it change me? I'm going to do a little series of stories over the coming weeks in which yours truly, a self-professed steel watch enthusiast, attempts to warm up to the distinct appeal of gold watches. We'll start with something entry-level.
For my first foray into these precious waters, I selected a watch that I really liked at Baselworld this past March, hoping to stack the deck in my favor. Enter the Mido Commander Shade in a plated gold finish shared by its rather perfectly-suited Milanese mesh strap.
At 37mm wide and not quite 11mm thick, the Commander Shade wears well, with the gold adding a nostalgic sort of flare to its already very vintage-inspired design. Like I mentioned in my original hands-on, it’s strange and funky, and it makes me smile. After spending more than a week with it on wrist, the appeal has only grown, and I think it may be the gold getting in my brain. Maybe I am a gold watch guy.
From the wrist shot to the macro, the Commander Shade definitely captures the appeal of a time long past. The dial features an awkward but adorable mix of four fonts, a day/date display, and applied markers on a two-tone graduated smoked ground that is silver at the center and a pinkish dark grey at its edges. Transitioning between silver/grey to more of a silver/taupe depending on the light, the Commander Shade’s dial threads the design needle between fast and loose and funky fun. This is a watch that makes me want to tan without sunscreen, smoke cigarettes with abandon, and maybe unironically celebrate a friend’s birthday party at an elaborate Tiki bar. It’s pure charm, and I want to wear it bowling.
This watch is a good illustration of my appreciation for things that possess a distinct style. And while you could definitely label this Mido as having a style that is "Grandpa adjacent," is that really a bad metric? Who's to say your Grandpa didn’t have game? (Even Don Draper presumably became a grandpa, though it’s unlikely he became a strong presence at family get-togethers.) While I am far from an expert on style, I think most people can identify a strong look when they see it and while trendy can certainly help (in this case, the trend of vintage-inspired watches), I think the gold Commander Shade has a very distinctive look and, to my eyes, a defined stylishness.
The key here isn’t necessarily to be on-trend (though gold is definitely rising in popularity), but rather to consider, maybe even outside the confines of deep watch enthusiasm, how the style of a watch might match or even influence your personal style. For me, that’s never been gold; not on watches, jewelry, sunglasses, or otherwise. I’ve always considered it old man flare – maybe I was wrong, or maybe I’m getting old.
After wearing the Commander Shade for a couple days, I found myself wondering where one could acquire a Hawaiian shirt, and, if I could pull it off. Like a vintage-inspired gold watch, a Hawaiian shirt is less directly referential than it is pointedly nostalgic. I’m not saying I want a bungalow with plastic flamingos on the lawn, but if I had such a home, a modern cookie-cutter car would not look right in the driveway, would it?
Look, I get it if gold watches aren’t for you, I do, but I would encourage you to explore outside the confines of your usual collecting aesthetic. Have some fun. Watch appreciation (and the coverage therein) is often a bit too serious, often pedantic, and at times myopic. So get outside your comfort zone, work on that tan, and think about buying a dumb shirt just to pair it with a really fun watch. The Mido Commander Shade, in gold or steel, is a watch I really genuinely enjoy. It wears well, looks great, and should fit well as the wildcard in a wide range of collections, especially those that don't typically go gold.
For more information, visit Mido online.