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INTRODUCING: Amida Digitrend Take-Off Edition

Amida Digitrend Take-Off Edition

The iconic driver’s watch is making an unexpected return.

Truth be told, barely a week goes by without news of another vintage watch reissue/revamp/relaunch hitting our inboxes. But we couldn’t help but perk up when we learned that the cult-favourite Amida Digitrend is making a surprising comeback after a 45-year absence. A delightful combination of 70s kitsch and unbridled retro-futurism, the original was a timepiece ahead of its time and has, nonetheless, gained horological relevance through the decades. After all, this is the plucky watch that inspired Maximilian Büsser to create the MB&F HM5, HMX, and HM8 models; the latter was just updated last year.

Amida Digitrend
The Amida Digitrend was first launched at the 1976 Basel watch fair.

Before we get into the new Take-Off Edition, let’s take a look at the brief history of the brand. Founded in 1925, Amida frankly wasn’t remarkable in its early years until it filed a patent for a jumping hour disc and a trailing minute disc in 1970. This was followed by another patent for its Light Reflecting Display (LFD) system in 1973, which essentially works like a prism, allowing the time to be shown vertically. However, it would take another three years before the two came together in the Digitrend, which was officially launched at the 1976 Basel Fair. Its distinctive form invited comparisons to other ‘cap-shaped’ watches of the time, such as the Girard-Perregaux Casquette, Bulova Computron, and Mido Swissonic, but it set itself apart from its quartz-powered LED counterparts with its mechanically driven digital display.

Amida Digitrend Take-off Edition
Barring subtle aesthetic tweaks and technical updates, the Amida Digitrend Take-Off Edition is a faithful rendition of the 1976 original.

Although Amida didn’t survive the Quartz Crisis and went bankrupt in 1979, the legacy of its Digitrend lives on, inspiring generations of watchmakers and entrepreneurs, including the trio responsible for this revival – watch designer Matthieu Allègre; the founder of founder of KOPPO and Depancel, Clément Meynier; and movement engineer Bruno Herbet. Looking at the result of their combined talents, it’s clear that the team has an unquestionable passion for the Amida Digitrend, if not palpable reverence, as it has stayed true to the original while thoroughly updating the watch from the inside out.

Amida Digitrend Take-off Edition
The caseback features the beating heart of the self-winding Soprod Newton calibre alongside the Take-Off Edition’s exclusive engraving.

While the 1976 Amida Digitrend was fitted with a pin-lever or jewelled lever hand-wound movement, the new Take-Off Edition is equipped with Soprod’s Newton self-winding calibre featuring 44 hours of power reserve and an in-house developed module with a unique dual-disc construction of only nine components, incorporating jumping hours and doubling as both a plate and a casing ring. The beating heart of the movement is now revealed by a partially open caseback alongside engraving exclusive to this edition. 

Amida Digitrend Take-off Edition
The LFD system’s sapphire crystal prism enables the time to be shown vertically, now with a brand-new typeface.

At first blush, the car body-style case of Amida Digitrend Take-Off Edition is virtually indistinguishable from the OG, but it has been subtly reworked with a more fluid profile and improved finishes, and it’s been machined from a solid block of 316L steel, another upgrade from the original’s chrome-plated metal shell. Through the sapphire crystal prism, the time is clearly shown, albeit with a redesigned minute window and a brand-new typeface, though the signature orange tone remains. The 39.6 x 39mm watch is still highly wearable, and it has a water resistance of 50m.

Amida Digitrend Take-off Edition
The 39.6 x 39mm stainless steel case of the Amida Digitrend Take-Off Edition has been subtly reworked with a more fluid profile and improved finishes.

If, like us, you’re wondering how you can get your hands on the watch, do note that the Take-Off Edition is a limited-production model available for pre-order from 28 May 2024 exclusively via Amida’s website at CHF2,900 (excluding taxes). Presumably, the prices of subsequent variants may be higher, so one would do well to bookmark the site and set a reminder on your calendar.

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