The Mido Ocean Star 200C watch hands-on
The Mido Ocean Star 200C feels like a young upstart who successfully turned to Executive after years of hard work. That's my first thought as I turn back in time and explore the Ocean Star 200 collection's storyline so far. Interestingly, Mido debuted the all-new 200C outside the EMEA area, opting for the Far East, where the pandemic is long gone, and market volumes are high and keep growing at double-digit compared to Europe. Despite approving this strategy from a pure business perspective, I think the Mido Ocean Star 200C target customer is the European one.
From a Product Marketing perspective, the new collection follows the likes of the brand's professional diving watch par excellence, the Ocean Star Diver 600 Chronometer Si, one of the most attractive saturation-diving-designed watches in its class. The former, a source of inspiration to the 200C, holds top specifications inside and out, like a beautifully crafted ceramic bezel and a clever yet valuable device to lock the bezel and a list of features designed under the reference ISO 6425 standard.
The first thing you'll notice, and the main talking point, is the Ocean Star 200C's ceramic inlay's lustre and exquisite build quality. The Swatch Group has unmatched expertise in making ceramic cases and parts across a broad range of products and prices, and the new Mido is no different. Conversely, their bezels usually sound cheaper than anywhere else. However, the engineers' effort to offer a premium user experience is something to appreciate.
The range-extended family feeling - the ceramic ring also looks bigger than its old-school metal ring sibling - gives the watch a bolder appearance. In contrast, another talking point is the upgraded bracelet which adds refinement and a luxurious look: the mid links are mirror-polished and contrast the brushed outer ones, while the folding clasp holds two safety push buttons and two additional ones to extend it as quickly as possible to wear the watch on a wet diving suit, too.
Like I experienced on the Tribute, the bracelet's design adds to the wearing experience as much as the premium touch and feel you won't find on the outgoing proposition. If we take a broader look at the competitive landscape, Mido's upgraded proposition is the Swiss Made answer to challengers like the Seiko Prospex. They share the same average price point while exploring different territories, although they belong to the same product category from a consumer's perspective.
The dial comes with re-designed round and tall indexes filled with plenty of white Super-LumiNova® (which is not the Diver 600's Grade X category), which confirm, alongside the oversized triangular index at twelve, a kind of luxury diver's watch's pedigree. The new indexes glow green and strong in the dark. To avoid or minimize any "Deja vù" effect (you can't deny spotting on the green colour option), the designers introduced a contemporary wave pattern that adds a distinctive trait as much as it complies with the brand's mission of offering timepieces whose sources of inspiration are architecture and clean, uncluttered lines.
The case measures 42.5 mm across and less than 12 mm in thickness, thus ensuring the watch will be widely acclaimed as the Captain Titanium and the now-old Ocean Star 200s were so far. Nevertheless, I would have gone for a smaller case option, too; most watch aficionados prefer luxury sports watches whose case size's threshold is 40 mils; I suggest Mido explore and offer a smaller option during the product's lifecycle. In addition, while I praise the brand for providing remarkable perceived quality at such a competitive price point, the full-steel brushed-and-polished build is prone to scratches and scuffs, and a surface hardening process would be a welcome addition moving forward.
In contrast, I can't understand why a bracelet quick release system is missing. The aftermarket business has exploded, and the bracelet's fast replacement is the first action performed when buying a new watch. It has to do with the customization and making the watch lighter (the Ocean Star 200 C is not a lightweight by any means). Rubber, Nato or canvas strap: here are the first replacement straps most watch enthusiasts are looking for; also, OEM straps help growing the balance sheet. Technically speaking, the proposition is top-notch; the calibre 80 keeps being the reference standard in this class of products.
At 990 Euros, Mido offers much bang for the bucks and enhanced value without increasing the retail price. The Mido Ocean Star 200C is an affordable-luxury all-rounder either if you're budgeting close to a thousand euros or you're a collector looking for a daily wearer at one-tenth the cost of a premium sports watch without doubling down on quality and performances. Regarding the colour options, I'll place the grey Mido Ocean Star 200C in the first place, with blue and green holding second and third place, respectively.
(Photo credit: Marco Antinori for Horbiter®)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®