If the rising tide of dive watches has taught us anything it’s that the 1960s were minimal, monochromatic and generally a bit boring. That or the constant wave of retro throwbacks have been playing things a little too safe. Either way, Mido didn’t quite get the memo. With the Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961, their 60s was evidently a hell of a lot more fun.
As with most (read all) of these things, the new Ocean Star is modelled off an original heritage model from, in case the name didn’t give it away, 1961 – and it’s obvious why they picked this particular reference to bring back. Not only is it an incredibly popular watch among collectors, the ‘rainbow’ dial is something else.
The multi-coloured table that rings around the entire dial is a decompression tool. It works thus: you look up the depth of your dive in the black section at 12 o’clock (always rounding up for safety). You then match that to the correct coloured ring and follow it around to how long you’ve spent underwater. You’ll fall between two numbers that mark possible decompression times; use the lower against the hour marker for the depth you need to stop at, the upper one for the time you need to stay there.
Hopefully you followed that. If not, don’t worry, if you’re going down to those depths I’d assume you have something a little more reliable than a mechanical watch. Either way, the result is a necessarily rainbow-faced dial in charmingly retro pastel shades. Not every ‘professional’ diver needs to be blue and black, thank god.
That fantastic dial is paired with a more toned-down, 40.5mm stainless steel case, an upsizing from the original 38mm. I’d have liked the option for the smaller size personally, but then I wasn’t planning on using the dial for anything more than looks and the larger it is, the easier it is to read.
The case has all the necessities for a diving watch: a unidirectional rotating bezel, complete with minute markers; a screw-down crown, here with its own little crown guard, too, and plenty of lume on hands and indexes. Its water resistant to 200m which is really a given by now. Inside is Mido’s ETA-based Caliber 80, with the 80-hour power reserve it gets its name from.
It’s available on a trio of straps. Two are yellow – one black calfskin, the other with contrast yellow stitching – and a stainless steel mesh bracelet. You’ll obviously want to go for the latter. Not only is it the only tool watch option, mesh straps are incredibly comfortable on the wrist and just so happen to hammer home the retro credentials of what is one of the most fun, funkiest revived divers around.
1,961 of these will be available (see what they did there?) and I doubt they’ll last long.
Price & Specs:
Model Name: Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961
Case/Dial: 40.5mm diameter x 13.43mm height, stainless steel
Water Resistance: 200m (20 bar)
Movement: Mido Caliber 80 (base ETA C07.621), automatic
Power Reserve: 60h
Frequency: 25,200 vph (3.5 Hz)
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet and two additional black leather straps (interchangeable)
Price: £870, limited edition of 1,961 pieces
More details at Mido.