Let’s say that you are looking for a robust dive watch with 200-metre water resistance from a brand with bona fide dive credentials but don’t fancy wearing a hockey puck on your wrist. Oh, and you wouldn’t mind a touch of retro flair, and why not, a trendy gradient dial, a day/date function, a practically indestructible movement, and a price that will still let you rent some scuba diving gear. Well, look no further because Mido’s latest Ocean Star Tribute Gradient answers all these prerequisites, an all-inclusive deal for all terrains.
Founded in 1918, Mido was a precursor of the waterproof wristwatch. Thanks to its Aquadura crown sealing system of 1930, with a cork gasket on the crown to prevent water and dust from entering the movement, Mido was known as the “King of the Waterproof”. In 1934, the Multifort appeared, a robust, automatic, anti-magnetic watch with built-in water and shock resistance that would become a best seller through to the 1950s. The Ocean Star family, with its starfish logo, was born in the early 1940s and evolved over the years to incorporate a single-shell (monocoque) case and the brand’s Aquadura cork crown-sealing mechanism to increase the water-resistance of the watch. Today, the Ocean Star family houses a mix of contemporary divers, chronographs, a colourful decompression model, a GMT traveller’s watch, chronometers with COSC-certified automatic movements, and Tribute models inspired by vintage Mido divers.
The case size of 40.5mm (thickness of 13.4mm) is more in line with the brand’s historical waterproof watches with pointy crown guards and robust lugs. Equipped with a screw-down crown and caseback, the watch is water resistant to 200 metres and weighs 100g. The unidirectional aluminium knurled bezel has silver markings and numerals with the mandatory luminescent dot at noon. Another curious detail that references the brand’s 1960s divers is the polished case, a finishing we don’t usually associate with contemporary sports watches.
Whenever I look at the red gradient dial that intensifies to black on the periphery, I am reminded of a volcano. It might have to do with the fact that I live in Spain and was inundated with live images of the volcano eruption in La Palma last year. Whichever way, it is a striking dial colour for a dive watch that contrasts exceptionally well with the thick printed rectangular indices (triangle at 12) and blunt diamond-cut hour and minute hands. Legibility is enhanced with Super-LumiNova applied to the indices and hands, including the lollipop seconds hand.
Although date windows are always questionable, the day and date window here doesn’t seem an afterthought. Following the shape of the indices, the day of the week and date are housed in a rectangular aperture with a white background and black markings and, best of all, are perfectly legible. What’s the point of having a day/date window that you can’t see without a magnifying glass? Including the day and date adds functionality to the watch as a powerful surf and turf model. Sealing the vintage mood, the dial is protected by a box-shaped sapphire crystal.
Marking a first for the Ocean Star collection, the watch is fitted with a tropic-style black rubber strap with a criss-cross design in relief that recalls models from the 1960s.
Mido’s Ocean Star Tribute Gradient is equipped with the powerful calibre 80, based on an upgraded ETA C07.621 and hidden under the sealed caseback with a starfish. Shared by some of the most accessible brands in Swatch Group (aka Powermatic 80 by Tissot), the calibre is an evolution of the 2824-2 architecture improved with a revised kinetic chain and lowered frequency. An elaboré-grade movement adjusted in three different positions, it beats at 3Hz and has more than doubled its power reserve to 80 hours.
Mido’s Ocean Star Tribute Gradient retails for CHF 870. For more information, please consult midowatches.com.