The Mido Ocean Star Diver 600
Mido joins the selected group of brands that offer an ISO compliant divers' watch.
Sometimes we need a break, and that is what my family and I did when we moved to the Isle of Ischia two weeks ago. The first half of the year is just behind the corner and, as I look forward to the second half, many are projects on-going at Horbiter®, with the development of the online community being the most significant one since the blog was initially founded, back in 2013.
If you are familiar with the magazine and read our hands-on reviews regularly, you're aware we have a soft spot for divers' watches and professional diving too, that I first experienced last year in Genoa.
Mido's step into the world of professional divers' watches.
Mido's product portfolio and brand image are and always have been all about offering reliable timepieces, equipped with state-of-the-art mechanical movements, that guarantee remarkable performance, mated to a sophisticated and sleek no-frills design. The Baroncelli Big Date, the Chronometer Si caliber featuring 80 hours of power reserve, or the Multifort collection are all examples of the consistency the brand offers to current and potential new customers.
What was still missing was a flagship model, one of those products that, once released, make you perceive that brand differently; a timepiece geared towards a bunch of enthusiasts that find a specs sheet far more attractive than an eye-catching style, at first glance. With the launch of the Ocean Star Diver 600, Mido joins the group of brands to have at least a professional divers' watch in their catalog.
It might look bizarre, but I came across the Ocean Star Diver 600 by chance while surfing the brand's press lounge a few months ago; I guess at the time the press kit to have been just uploaded into the private area because no ad campaign was running yet.
The Mido Ocean Star Diver 600: our dive alongside the Aragonese Castle.
If you take photos of such a timepiece (two model variants, in this case) in a photo studio in Milan, or anywhere else, you'll likely look ridiculous; it's like getting a shark's photos in an aquarium. The Mido Ocean Star Diver 600 deserved a more exciting scenario, like the waters of sea nestled between the Aragonese Castle and Cartaromana, where some celebrated American films took place too, by the way.
Additionally, the Ocean Star Diver 600's most recent course of action was Polignano a Mare, Apulia, where the watch was the perfect companion to a global event organized by Red Bull (the Red Bull Cliff Diving). All in all, the brand crafted a no-compromise rugged divers' watch, and a hard competitor to all the major Japanese watchmakers in the benchmark, whose products are missing that unmistakable Swiss design factor.
The outcome is as good as it gets; this Mido feels like some of the best divers' watches from the group's mid-top end brands. Case in point, it reminds me of something similar that happened when Cartier launched the Calibre de Cartier Diver, an ISO 6425 certified luxury watch, whereas the majority of the sports brands belonging to the Richemont Group couldn't offer anything comparable at the time, from a specs point of view.
A divers' watch for the tool watch die-hard fan.
The Mido Ocean Star Diver 600 is an impressive evolution over a standard Ocean Star. However, family feeling aside, everything else has been redesigned. From both an aesthetical and functional standpoints, the game changer, alongside the design criteria set to match the ISO requirements, and the over-sized case (43.5mm) for example, is the bezel that is, alone, a masterpiece of build quality and design: it does not rotate (counterclockwise) unless you're pressing it with both thumb and forefinger. Once stopped in the desired position, it locks by only releasing both fingers. This device makes the Ocean Star Diver 600's bezel safer to use than on any other divers' watch.
It is not anything new in the industry, but it's rather remarkable considering price point and benchmark. I reckon that's why designers had to create a hollow atop the helium escape valve, to avoid, as Mido claims, any water to staying inside the bezel. Conversely, I also believe the locking-unlocking device makes the bezel a bit loose once released, something that can be certainly improved.
Aesthetically, the Mido Ocean Star Diver 600 premieres a superbly crafted matte blue inlay made of ceramics, that has nothing on an Omega Seamaster's or a Longines Hydroconquest's, to cite two sister brands belonging to the Swatch Group. It also debuts the SuperLuminova® GradeX, whose lume is exceptionally bright and vivid and paired to a modern, easy-to-read and more up-scale font. Last but foremost, the steel version sports a rugged bracelet mated to an exquisitely made two-button safety clasp with integrated extension system.
The Mido Ocean Star Diver 600 also comes in full black DLC.
The Ocean Star Diver 600 also comes in a "full black" version with a DLC-coating (Diamond Like Carbon) that helps further protect the case, and far better than a PVD film, against scratches and shocks. It comes on the same rubber strap that equips the Captain Titanium (the lug-to-lug distance is unchanged and equals 22mm).
The DLC variant confirms how designers at Mido were careful with not increasing the case thickness, that is 3mm greater than on a standard Captain Titanium or Ocean Star. Additionally, the sturdy edged design of the pin buckle is proof positive of the painstaking attention to detail. Both versions are powered by the caliber 80, where eighty are the hours of maximum power reserve available when the watch is fully wound, while the "Chronometer Si" wording on the dial reaffirms that the balance spring is in (magnetic resistant) silicon and the mechanical movement is Chronometer-certified by the COSC.
Why going for a Mido Ocean Star Diver 600.
Do we need professional divers' watches any longer? We honestly don't, and modern divers do not either. Nonetheless, we do need great watches, designed for professional use and offered at reasonable prices, and the Mido Ocean Star Diver 600 thicks all these boxes.
This watch is a mission statement, and holds as the brand's flagship; it's hard to find a product that offers such a package combined to a build quality you usually get with a timepiece that costs twice as much as this one, whose sticker price stops slightly below the € 1,500 threshold instead. The ceramic inlay on the bezel, the smart lock-and-unlock device along with the matte blue palette chosen is more than enough to make it appealing even if the watch is, in the full steel version, pretty heavy.
While waiting for Mido to hopefully release a full titanium version, as they did when they initially launched the top-selling Captain Titanium, I suggest Mido provide this version with a replacement blue rubber strap anytime soon. The black DLC version has a vaguely military watch appearance to it, that is quite popular these days, yet I hardly associate it to a professional divers' watch. If we trace back to the origins of divers' watches, we can't deny that a divers' watch was initially crafted in steel. Let me close this review with a personal comment regarding the "helium valve" inscription on the case side: I think Mido was willing to probably highlight a Ocean Star Diver 600's professional DNA but was it necessary to make that wording so big?
(Photo credit: Marco Albanelli per Horbiter®)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®