The new Mido Ocean Star Tribute Gradient is a Time+Tide exclusiveBorna Bošnjak
Due to a market saturated with great pieces that evoke the times of yesteryear, you’ve no short of options when it comes to a vintage-styled dive watch, regardless of budget. The Mido Ocean Star Tribute slots in towards the value-oriented end of the spectrum, all the while offering a design that’s directly derived from past models and powered by one of the best movements for the price.
A long-standing model in the Mido lineup, the Ocean Star didn’t become the dive watch we know it as today until the 1961 decompression timer ref. 5907 – 17 years after the first Ocean Star. The Tribute looks back to the models of the 1960s, particularly the Mido SkyDiver. The two brand-new, gradient-dialled options I had the chance to spend some time with are currently exclusive to the Time+Tide shop in Australia. Here are my thoughts.
The obvious highlight of the new Ocean Star Tributes are the dials, featuring a red-black and grey-black gradient. The surface itself is completely matte, with no texture or sunburst to speak of. Highly contrasting white indices surround the dial, with elongated minute markings in between.
With no applied features and being fairly small, the after-dark performance of the indices is satisfactory, if not spectacular. The Ocean Star’s handset is one rarely seen – as Mido opted for truncated fencepost hands, resulting in blunt, rectangular hour and minute hands. The seconds hand is a classic lollipop, giving a flash of colour in the grey model. Thankfully, Mido chose not to print the entire spec sheet on the dial, keeping the text restricted to three lines which is great to see on any watch, especially a cool, old-school diver.
Another trait taken from those ’60s model is the day-date window, which I’m sure has polarised some already. The SkyDiver shown above isn’t the only vintage Mido diver that sported this complication, so it makes sense for it to return in the Ocean Star Tribute. There is something to be said about its integration, however, as it is unframed and takes up a large portion of the dial real estate. Finally, the Ocean Star wouldn’t be worthy of its Tribute name and vintage inspiration without a great crystal. The domed box sapphire accounts for 2mm of the overall 13.7mm height of the watch, and offers lovely distortions at its edges – a bit of AR coating would take it to the next level.
No-nonsense finishing, compact size
Let’s start off with the dimensions – at 40.5mm across and 46.8mm lug-to-lug, the Ocean Star Tribute will please many, as its vintage appeal goes hand in hand with the sizing. It wears exactly how you’d expect a 40(ish)mm vintage reissue to wear – comfortable and to the point, helped by the proportional 100g weight. The stainless-steel case is simple and no-nonsense.
Completely polished, the small chamfers along the top of the stubby, squared-off lugs are almost completely hidden. The only design feature that breaks away from this mould of simplicity are the dramatic, sharply pointed crown guards that shroud the screw-down crown closely to give the Ocean Star 200m of water resistance.
The stainless-steel bezel has a loud, ratchety action, though I did find it difficult to grip at times due to the rounded-off serrations. The aluminium insert features a lume pip at 12 o’clock, and is a welcome stand-in as opposed to a ceramic or sapphire one. Turned over, the screw-down caseback shows off a polished starfish on a bead-blasted backdrop, with the usual engravings around the perimeter.
The Ocean Star Tribute comes mounted on a quick-release tropic-style strap and complimentary NATO strap. The rubber is comfortable and pliable, though I was surprised to find that the regular pattern of a tropic strap was replaced with wide pin holes. You might have a harder time than usual swapping the Ocean Star onto aftermarket straps, owing to the odd 21mm lug width.
One of the best movements at this price point
MIDO Caliber 80, Tissot Powermatic 80, Hamilton H-10 – the names are all but too familiar already. All coming from ETA’s C07.XXX family, the movements are a common sight across all Swatch Group products at this price point. The Caliber 80 in the Ocean star is an ETA C07.621, based on the day-date ETA 2836-2 with an 80-hour power reserve and a frequency of 21,600 bhp. It’s a movement that you can definitely rely on.
The Ocean Star Tribute has always been a great-looking watch, and the new gradient dial additions are no different. While the finishing is simple, and not everyone will be on board with the utilitarianism of the day-date function, I love the addition of a tropic strap to a ’60s-inspired watch, and would also like to see these on the beads-of-rice bracelet that Mido offers with their other Tribute models. Considering the competition and the price point, the Ocean Star Tribute has the looks and the movement to continue Mido’s fine run of form in its line of vintage-inspired reissues.
Mido Ocean Star Tribute Gradient pricing and availability:
The Mido Ocean Star Tribute Gradient is available to buy now for Australians only from the Time+Tide shop in both red and grey dial iterations. The watch comes with both tropic-style and NATO straps. Price: AU$1,400
|Ocean Star Tribute
|M026.830.17.421.00 (red gradient)
M026.830.17.081.00 (grey gradient)
|40.5mm x 46.8mm x 13.7mm, 21mm lug width
|Red to black gradient
Grey to black gradient
|Box domed sapphire
|Tropic-style rubber strap
|Mido Caliber 80, ETAC07.621 with 80-hour power reserve