Ettore Bugatti's Mido Watch Sells Big At Auction
Vintage & Auctions

Ettore Bugatti's Mido Watch Sells Big At Auction

Over 90 years ago, the founder of the legendary car manufacturer asked Mido to make a series of Bugatti-inspired watches. Recently, Ettore Bugatti’s personal piece sold at auction for $330,000.

By Steven Rogers

Swatch Group brand Mido has been pretty active recently, having launched its Multifort Patrimony Chronograph and Ocean Star Tribute at the end of March.

Both creations are decidedly retro-inspired. The former is a reinterpretation of the iconic Multifort Multichrono launched in 1937. And the latter is a nod to the brand’s pioneering expertise in water resistance – first demonstrated in the 1930s – and to its dive watches from the 1960s.

But it is a rare, vintage Mido from yesteryear that has been making the headlines of late, namely the personal Mido watch owned by Ettore Bugatti, founder of the legendary, eponymous car brand, which fetched €272,800 euros (approximately $330,000) at a recent auction in Toulouse, France.

Unmistakably Bugatti

The timepiece in question was one of several watches that the Milan native ordered from Mido between 1926 and 1932, and its design has old-school Bugatti written all over it.

For starters, the yellow gold case is in the shape of Bugatti’s distinctive horseshoe radiator grille, with the effect enhanced by a crisscross lattice engraved on the silvered dial featuring Arabic numerals and pomme (a.k.a. Breguet-style) hands in blued steel.

At 12 o'clock on the case, the EB of the Automobiles Ettore Bugatti logo is emblazoned in yellow and red. Above that is the winding crown which takes the identifiable form of a car radiator cap.

References to Dashboards and Tires

The Bugatti references don’t stop there. The interior of the hinged case back has been decorated with a fish-scale spotting pattern that echoes the finish on the dashboards of classic Bugatti racing cars. Even the link pattern of the integrated mesh bracelet evokes the tread of car tires.

It is this last detail that reveals this was Ettore Bugatti’s personal, very-on-brand timekeeper. All the other radiator grille watches he commissioned Mido to make during this period came on a leather strap. Those he gifted to friends, family, and faithful employees, including his drivers and mechanics.

However, Bugatti kept this piece, with the yellow gold bracelet, quite understandably, for himself.

And receive each week a custom selection of articles.

Cliff Diving With Red Bull And Mido For The Launch Of The Ocean Star 600 Chronometer

By Ash LongetPR & Business Development
Supreme precision in every movement; that’s what the world’s best cliff divers and Mido's new Ocean Star 600 Chronometer had in...

A Century Of Wristwatch Advertising: 10 Vintage Ads Worth Revisiting

By Victoria GomelskyContributor
These vintage ads tell an alternate version of watchmaking history.

You Asked: Why Are F.P. Journe Prices Soaring?

By Hyla BauerContributor
We spoke to watch industry experts Paul Boutros, William Massena, and Richard Lopez to find out what’s going on.