Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 Diver Watch Review

 

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Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 Diver Watch Review

Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 Diver Watch Review

Mido watches have been famous for decades, particularly for their expertise in water resistance. In 1961, they released the original Ocean Star Skin Diver watch, also known as the Rainbow Diver. With its multicolored dive meter display, it became an instant hit, and the unique dial remains iconic to this day.

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The newer model has been upgraded with a more powerful, more accurate Caliber 80 movement, which boasts an impressive 80-hour power reserve. And because it’s a commemorative re-release, it comes in a beautiful display case for showing it off to your friends.

The Mido Story

Mido was founded at the tail end of the industrial revolution. Taking advantage of local prosperity due to Switzerland’s neutrality in World War I, watchmaker George G. Schaeren founded Mido in Biel/Bienne. Schaeren borrowed the company’s name from the Spanish phrase “Yo mido”, which means, literally, “I measure”.

Mido Rainbow Diver Photo

Mido Rainbow Diver Photo

During the company’s early days, Mido focused primarily on ladies’ watches. During the 1920s, they released a line of color-enameled watches, as well as some cutting edge men’s watch straps in art deco style.

In 1934, Mido released their first automatic watch. Their Multifort watch was the best in its class, with water resistance, shock resistance, and anti-magnetic properties. The same year, Mido also released a watch with reinforced mainsprings, the first such watch to be released to the general public.

Mido 1961 Decompression Timer full watch photo

Mido 1961 Decompression Timer full watch photo

After World War II, in 1945, Mido introduced the world’s first central-read chronograph, with the stopwatch function built into the primary dial. They followed this up in 1954, with a more efficient winding mechanism. In 1959, they released the Commander watch, which featured a one-piece case. In 1967, they created what was the world’s thinnest ladies’ watch at the time, reclaiming some of that market.

Decompression timer on wrist

Decompression timer on wrist

In 1970, Mido reached the pinnacle of their success. That year, they released the Aquadura Crown Sealing System. This system uses a natural cork gasket to seal the crown, improving water resistant at a watch’s most vulnerable point.

The company remained quiet until the early 90s, when they released their new Mido World Timer display. Today, they remain one of the world’s top 10 chronometer manufacturers. They’re now part of the Swatch group, and maintain a branch office in Shanghai.

Decompression Timer Design

Macro of Decompression dial

Macro of Decompression dial

The case of the Ocean Star Decompression Timer is virtually identical to the case on the original. It’s constructed from corrosion-resistant stainless steel, with a medium diameter of 40.5mm. This lends it a medium wrist presence, so it’s suitable for most people’s wrists under most circumstances. The case measures only 13.43mm in thickness, surprisingly lightweight for a full-featured dive watch.

Super macro of Rainbow dial

Super macro of Rainbow dial

The case is water-resistant to 200 meters, and sports a screw-down crown at the three o’clock position. In addition to the screw-down design, the crown is also protected by a raised guard. This makes it virtually impossible to snag or pull by accident. On top of the case, you’ll find a sapphire crystal that’s ever so slightly raised and beveled. The curve isn’t enough to distort the dial, unless you’re already looking at an extreme angle.

Side view and crown of watch

Side view and crown of watch

The dial itself is what makes the 1961 Decompression Timer iconic, with the blue, pink, green and yellow dive calculator in the center. A rotating bezel lets you keep track of dive time. The only feature keeping it from being a true “dive watch” is the absence of a Pepsi bezel. Other than the dive calculator, the date window is the only complication on this already busy dial.

Clasp and logo

Clasp and logo

The remaining dial surface is satin black, with fine, cream-colored applied lume hashes marking off the minutes. The minute hand is long and thin, while the hour hand is short and arrow-shaped. Both feature applied lume stripes, which make it easy to tell time in the dark.

The Movement

For the Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1960 Diver Watch, Mido used their tried and true Caliber 80 movement. This is one of their most popular movements, based on the stalwart ETA C07.621. It has 25 jewels, and beats at a crisp pace of 21,600 beats per hour.

Caseback and caliber 80 movement

Caseback and caliber 80 movement

Perhaps the movement’s greatest appeal is the 80-hour power reserve. This is more than three full calendar days, so you can take your watch off for a long weekend without having to reset the time. With most modern automatic movements hovering around a 40-hour power reserve, this is a refreshing feature.

Strap and Extras

The Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 comes with a fine metal strap already attached. It might require some fitting, but it’s otherwise very secure. Moreover, it’s a perfect match with the case, lending a tight, unified look to the entire watch. If you prefer the look of a leather strap, there are not one, but two included in the package.

You also get a black collector’s case to keep your watch and extra straps. With felt lining and orange highlights, it’s both stylish and functional.

To view the full range of Mido watches visit their official website here.

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