Dual-Crown GMT

Mido Multifort GMT Review: Two Time Zones for the Price of One


September 18, 2018 Reviews By Photo by Hunter D. Kelley
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Once reserved for the likes of airline pilots and wealthy travelers, the GMT complication has proliferated somewhat and found its way into more affordable packages. Mido, in expanding upon its popular Multifort line, has capitalized upon the newfound popularity of the complication and released the Multifort GMT, available in four variants. I received the steel bracelet, 24-hour inner rotating bezel variant to try out…

The Good: This is an affordable GMT available in multiple colorways with a comfortable bracelet (or strap) and an automatic movement. It’s easy to use and well-finished, and two of the variants include world-timer capabilities in the form of a 24-hour ring printed on the dial and a rotatable bezel featuring city names. I’d consider the bracelet version a “tool” GMT and the gold-colored PVD steel variant on the strap a “dress” GMT, which means you’ve got a lot of variety within one model.

Who They’re For: Someone looking for a (relatively) inexpensive dual-time zone watch that nevertheless features solid build quality and is available in multiple configurations will appreciate the Multifort GMT. Dual screw-down crowns in a compressor-style case and a screw-down case back provide 100m of water resistance, so there’s no need to worry about getting this watch wet.

Watch Out For: I think the Multifort GMT could easily have been given a 40mm case rather than its 42mm, though with a relatively slim case height of 10.35mm, it doesn’t feel cumbersome on the wrist. I also would have appreciated a 24-hour scale printed on the dial itself, which would have been an easy way to give quick access to three separate time zones rather than two (especially on a 42mm dial with lots of dial real estate) — you can certainly track three time zones with this watch, but it takes a bit of mental gymnastics. A more signifigant gripe is that the dial is utterly devoid of any luminous material, which makes reading it in low-light conditions virtually impossible.

Alternatives: The “democratization” of the GMT complication has been good for the consumer — it means that seemingly every month we have more and more options available for affordable GMTs. On the “tool watch” GMT front, there’s the Monta Skyquest, though this retails for a bit more money at $1,730 and features true 3rd-time zone functionality due to the presence of both a rotatable, 24-hour bezel, and a 24-hour scale printed on the dial. The Farer Oxley is priced within range of the Multifort GMT at $1,410 and uses a 24-hour scale on the dial along with a 24-hour hand to provide a second time zone.

Review: As I mentioned ealier, the case on the Multifort GMT is 42mm wide by 10.35 high with a 22mm lug width. The transparent sapphire and steel case back is fairly flat, and between this and a relatively flat crystal, the watch manages not to sit too tall on the wrist, which I appreciated. Featuring both brushed and polished surfaces and several different facets on the lugs, the case appears dynamic and interesting and was comfortable to wear. In true super compressor-style, the upper crown (both are screw-down types) controls the inner rotating bezel, while the lower controls the movement functions.

An AR-coated sapphire glass crystal protects what is, to me, an interesting dial with myriad surfaces, colors and textures. The general background is a glossy black mirror-like finish done in Geneva stripes, atop which sit steel applied hour markers and an outer minute track. Beyond the minute track is the inner rotating 24-hour bezel, half in blue (night hours) and half in red (day hours), whose background color matches that of the dial. Minute, seconds and hour hands are polished steel, while the fourth GMT hand is done in a red varnish. A date wheel sits at 3 o’clock, and the dial is un-lumed.

Because the watch utilizes a Mido 1193 caliber (a base ETA 2893-2), the fourth GMT hand can be set independently and is not linked to the date function (the movement includes a quick-set date function in the crown’s second position). This, while convenient for setting a second time zone, is slightly more cumbersome when traveling than having an independently-adjustable hour hand, such as on a Rolex GMT-Master II, whose functionality allows one, upon touching down at one’s destination, to quickly adjust the local time without affecting the minute hand. However, this isn’t necessarily a drawback, but rather something to be aware of.

The movement itself isn’t anything spectacular to behold (though it is a top-grade, elaboré movement, and Mido does include a rotor decorated with Geneva stripes and its own branding), but the Multifort GMT does have a sapphire case back, so you can watch the Mido 1193 ticking away in all its dual-time zone glory. The ETA 2893-2, by the way, offers hacking, beats at 28,800 bph (4 Hz), and features 21 jewels and a 42-hour power reserve.

The bracelet on the steel version of the Multifort GMT is a steel, Oyster-style affair, though the clasp releases via a button and opens in two directions. As this is not a dive watch, there is no dive extension, but the bracelet is sizable via removable links that use tiny set screws (like, really tiny — so tiny that I couldn’t locate a micro-flathead screwdriver small enough to change them myself and embarrassingly had to take the watch to an AD to get the bracelet sized for me). The bracelet is fine, but it feels like everyone and their mother is doing an affordable version of the Oyster bracelet these days, from Swatch-group brands down to the smallest micro-brand, and I’d love to see more variety amongst the more affordable watch offerings.

Verdict: It’s nice to see more options cropping up in the realm of affordable GMTs — this was a category that was dominated by Rolex for a long time, and in the past few years we’ve seen brands taking advantage of the ETA 2893-2 and the equivalent Selitta SW330 to produce dual-time zone watches that are accessible to a younger clientele. The Multifort GMT is a solid addition to this new crop of budget GMTs, and is made more attractive by the option of purchasing one in rose gold-colored PVD on leather, or in one of two “world timer” variants. If you like a compressor-style case and the look of an internal rotating bezel, then the Multifort GMT is certainly a solid choice.

Key Specs

Case Diameter: 42mm
Case Depth: 10.35mm
Water Resistance: 100m (330 ft)
Movement: Mido 1193 (base ETA 2893-2)
Notable Features: Dual-time zone functionality; inner rotating bezel; date; Super Compressor-style case

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