Mido Ocean Star Tribute Special Editions
Good First Take! Mido successfully joins the vintage diving watch business.
Soon after the end of Baselworld 2019, the Swatch Group gathered press media and retailers in Zürich, where they revealed all the brands' new products. Mido was among them, of course, and their latest collections are now gradually arriving at the brand's dealers across Europe. If we exclude commemorative or exclusive limited editions, that are a niche in the offering, the Ocean Star is the flagship collection. Its sales volumes, along with the Multifort's, are the backbone of the brand's turnover; it is no coincidence that most of the new products belong to these two core collections.
Scrolling the timeline of the brand's history, we find out that the first-ever Mido Ocean Star appeared in 1944; a date that confirms how relevant has been and still is this collection. If we consider that the first-ever commercial diver's watch, introduced by Blancpain, came over ten years later, this certifies that the Mido Ocean Star Tribute is not celebrating the 1944 Ocean Star, preferably one of the brand's early divers and a collection that has today an exclusively semi-professional or professional foothold, as that's the case with the Ocean Star Diver 600, for example.
The real highlight here is that Mido finally joins the bunch of brands that offer a vintage diver, and does it with a product offering that's entirely in line with its DNA: it is thoroughly-thought and consistent, sleek and modern. Mido has launched two versions of the Ocean Star Tribute, the first one showcases black bezel and dial, whereas the second one comes with deep blue tones, by adopting a Pantone that is substantially opaque, pretty sober, as you'd expect on a faithful re-edition; also, the blue successfully combines to the Mido signature orange central seconds hand whose mid-end tip is in the shape of a "lollipop". Both versions are listed as special versions, which usually means they are not limited in time nor numbers.
Mido has already proved over the course of the years, they are familiar with re-issuing watches from the past and the Tribute is no different: the case stops at a reasonable 40.5mm, yet it looks larger than what actually is because of its thickness that is not, in proportion, negligible (13.43mm); the box-shaped sapphire crystal amplifies this perception virtually and visibly. No ceramic insert on the bezel is a choice that I approve, Mido would have otherwise opted for a neo-vintage re-issue, following the likes of what Rado did when they launched the new Captain Cook, to bring you an example. This option helps to keep the retail price as low as possible, too.
I believe designers could have put additional effort into how the bezel works instead, given its one-way rotation is not crisp and doesn't do justice to an overall well-conceived package. Thumbs up to the steel bracelet, whose folding buckle is nicely crafted indeed, can be extended, and sports a beautiful mirror finish; it adds that 70s looking feel, and is a nod to shark-proof bracelets that remind an old or modern Ploprof.
Regarding product specifications, I think that a 200m water resistance along with extendable bracelet is more than enough for any current professional diving instrument (saturation diving excluded, unless you opt for an Ocean Star Diver 600), and the timepieces' style is perfect once you remove your diving suit and prepare for your late afternoon aperitif party.
This dual-purpose attribute is the winning factor to most modern vintage diving watches, in my opinion. Eighty hours of power reserve are no news any longer and guarantee peace of mind you'll never run out of charge, yet I am curious to find out whether engineers at ETA are working on getting a 100-hour power reserve out of their base movements, and so increase their competitive advantage further. A Mido Ocean Star Tribute sells for €990, which is a citicism-proof retail price and much bang for your buck, regardless of whether you like this style or not which is, as always, subjective.
(Photo credit: Marco Antinori for Horbiter®)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®