Am I going to try to put as many television references as possible into this article or not? I needed to ask myself that question before starting this hands-on introduction to the new Mido Multifort TV Big Date S01E01. Well, obviously, I couldn’t help myself, as you can read in the subtitle. But I will refrain from saying this watch is like season 1, episode 1 of a potential hit series. From now on, I will keep it focused. So, without further ado, here’s an objective review of a new watch with a retro-looking TV dial. Keep reading until the end, and don’t switch channels halfway, now. Oh, darn…

As a young kid, the most horrible thing on TV was not the 8 o’clock news. No, what truly upset me was the test screen, the sign of technical issues that brought me back to reality in the harshest of ways — come on, I was enjoying watching Zorro; no, I was Zorro! Anyway, Mido thought it would be a good idea to use its recently introduced watch with a TV dial — an old-school TV dial, not a rectangular, flatscreen LED one — as the starting point of something that stirs up childhood frustration. The result is the Multifort TV Big Date S01E01 (M049.526.11.081.01) watch with a test image on the dial.

Mido Multifort TV Big Date S01E01

Mido Multifort TV Big Date S01E01: A 100% television-style watch

Last August, I tried on two versions of the Multifort TV Big Date with way more regular screens, sorry, dials. Mido already released watches with a TV-style shape in 1973, 1980, and 2000, and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of that style, the brand presented the Multifort TV Big Date. That watch not only made me think of an old-fashioned television set but also of the Patek Philippe Aquanaut. Well, the special edition with a test screen for a dial certainly won’t provoke a comparison with a high-end sports watch from the brand with the Calatrava cross as its logo.

Mido Multifort TV Big Date

The Multifort TV Big Date S01E01 has all the features of the regular models. This means you will be putting a steel three-part 40mm case with an 11.5mm thickness and a 46.85mm lug-to-lug on your wrist. These dimensions make for a substantial watch. But the polished and brushed surfaces of the particularly shaped case help give it a luxury look and feel rather than Radio Shack vibes. Inside the case that’s water resistant to 10 bar (100 meters) with a screw-down crown beats the Mido automatic Caliber 80 (ETA C07.651 base). This Powermatic 80 variation beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour, uses a Nivachron balance spring, and has a winding rotor decorated with Côtes de Genève and the brand logo. The star of the show is not the 80-hour power reserve, though. Rather, it’s the instantaneously changing big date.


Don’t touch that dial!

You can bang on the Mido Multifort TV Big Date S01E01 all you want, but the test image on the dial is not going to go away. And it’s quite the dial. It’s not just a flat print of a test image. On the contrary, Mido created a dial with a highly detailed and sophisticated decoration. The dial shows a subtle and hypnotic play of three-dimensional, colored geometric shapes. It’s an artful take on a test screen of yesteryear, and it uplifts the watch.

TV Dial

At first glance, you might think this watch belongs in the shop of a design museum — you buy a few postcards, maybe a book, and if you’re in a particularly good mood, you’ll shell out for something a bit more exclusive. But the way that Mido created the dial puts the watch way above a souvenir that will be forgotten days after it’s purchased.

Mido Multifort TV Big Date S01E01

The details make it work

The dial shows a series of differently sized four-faceted pyramids in relief and all the colors and geometric layouts you remember from the TV tuning screens of yesteryear. It’s the subtle three-dimensionality and the different sizes of the small pyramids that create a visual impression of ever-so-slight movement, just like on an old-fashioned TV screen. On the dial/screen, the Mido logo acts like the TV station having technical issues, but the big date is integrated seamlessly into the design. The double aperture at 12 o’clock almost makes you think it shows you the channel instead of the date.


Around the colorful dial, there’s the prominent, flat, square-ish, satin-brushed bezel that gives this watch its robust appearance. Please note the two small bulges at 6 and 12 o’clock to prevent the watch from looking too much like an Aquanaut. And there’s also the sandblasted dot at 12 o’clock that serves as an index. The dot harks back to former Multifort models with a similar bezel design. To help you read the time correctly on the busy dial, there are black trapezoidal indices at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock and dot indices at the other hours, all filled with Super-LumiNova. That’s the same stuff you will find on the faceted hour and minute hands. Nothing is as bad as glare on your TV screen, and that’s why Mido outfitted the Multifort TV Big Date S01E01 with a sapphire crystal with an antireflective coating on both sides for your viewing pleasure.

Mido Multifort TV Big Date S01E01

The Multifort TV Big Date S01E01 on the wrist

The Multifort TV Big Date S01E01 comes on a 22mm-wide H-link bracelet with two additional rubber straps in yellow and turquoise. The rubber straps show a relief motif that’s very much in sync with the looks of both the case and the dial. The colors are a bit much, though. I’ve learned that if you wear something very striking, exuberant, or extravagant, you should pair it with more toned-down stuff to ensure your party piece shines as brightly as it possibly can. When you pair the Multifort TV Big Date S01E01 to the two rubber straps via the ultra-easy quick-change system, the dial and the strap start to battle for attention. The bracelet, on the other hand, doesn’t draw attention from the dial and the case shape at all, so it suits the watch better in my humble opinion.

Having said that, the rubber straps with a tang buckle are nice and comfy on the wrist, whereas the bracelet is a bit clunky. This is something you see a lot in Mido’s price segment. The bracelet shows brushed surfaces, has polished central links, and is outfitted with a push-button butterfly clasp.

Mido Multifort TV Big Date S01E01

Pricing and other practical details

I mentioned the price segment, so I might as well disclose the exact price of the newest Mido watch. The Multifort TV Big Date S01E01 has a price of €1,550. Another number that might interest you is 999. There will be 999 TV-style watches made with a test screen for a dial. On the screwed-down transparent case back is the engraving  “one of 999” and the engraved serial number.


So, how does the watch wear? Well, just like the one I had on my wrist last summer, except for the vastly different dial. It’s not so much the size that makes this watch a noticeable companion. Rather, it’s the shape. It just stands out while sitting snugly on the wrist. Determining what time it is exactly is not a forte of the Multifort TV Big Date S01E01. But being practical was never paramount. Being strikingly different and fun was. And Mido has succeeded in creating something that isn’t for everyone, is probably not your first and/or only watch, and needs to be applauded. That’s not because it’s colorful and loud but because it shows a fun theme executed in a very serious way. The dial has great attention to detail and uplifts the Multifort TV Big Date S01E01 from a gimmick to a proper theme watch.

Is it worth the €1,550 that Mido wants for it? Yeah, I think it’s a fair price. Would I be willing to pay €1,550 for it? Nah, I already have too many artsy or silly things in my possession. But if I didn’t, I would consider this watch with a test image for a dial, only hoping that one day, Zorro would appear on my wrist. What are your thoughts? Please let me know below.

Watch specifications

Multifort TV Big Date S01E01
Multicolored, pyramid-shaped relief with white Super-LumiNova indices and big date window, nickel-coated diamond-cut and faceted hour and minute hands with white Super-LumiNova, flat diamond-cut large seconds hand
Case Material
Stainless steel
Case Dimensions
40mm (diameter) × 46.85mm (lug-to-lug) × 11.5mm (thickness)
Sapphire with antireflective treatment on both sides
Case Back
Stainless steel with exhibition window, fastened with four screws
Mido Caliber 80: ETA C07.651 base, automatic with hand winding, 21,600vph frequency, 80-hour power reserve, 25 jewels, Nivachron balance spring, rotor with Côtes de Genève decoration and Mido logo, adjusted in three different positions
Water Resistance
10 bar (100m / 330ft)
Stainless steel bracelet, 22mm width, satin finish with polished central links, push-button deployant clasp; additional rubber straps in yellow and turquoise blue with relief motif and stainless steel tang buckle
Time (hours, minutes, seconds) and big date
Special Note(s)
Limited edition of 999 pieces