Mido has over a century of watchmaking know-how. In that time, it’s built a reputation for creating high-quality watches that are accessibly priced. However, the brand has often flown under the radar through its history, quietly notching achievements with releases like the original Multifort Automatic in the 1930s, which was one of the first watches to combine water and shock resistance with anti-magnetic properties and a self-winding movement.
Today, the Ocean Star is Mido’s flagship line and has been a pillar of the brand since its inception in 1944. This collection comprises a diverse array of dive watches, equipped with a range of features to serve both amateur and professional divers as well as those who simply appreciate the dive watch aesthetic. The latest addition to the Ocean Star lineup includes an innovative GMT with a local jumping hour hand, all while effortlessly retaining the look and feel of a classic dive watch. After the resounding success of the Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 Limited Edition earlier this year, we’re thrilled to welcome the expanded Mido Ocean Star collection to the HODINKEE Shop.
A Little Backstory On Mido
Mido’s roots trace back to 1918 and a watchmaker named Georges Schaeren. Once the Armistice officially brought World War I to a close on November 11, Schaeren decided it was time for a new beginning – that very same day, he founded the Mido brand. He closed down his modest finishing-shop, trademarked the name “MIDO,” and forged a partnership with a businessman named Hugo Jubert. Alongside Schaeren and Juburt was Schaeren’s younger brother, Henri. He was responsible for conceptualizing the Mido name from the Spanish phrase yo mido or “I measure” and would later join his brother as a partner after a five-year stint as the head of sales for OMEGA. For the next four decades, the company remained a family business.
In that time, Mido notched a number of impressive achievements. By 1930, Mido had made an exciting development in the way of water resistance technology. It invented the “Aquadura,” a unique crown-sealing system comprised of cork that prevented water and dust from reaching the movement through the crown. Soon after, the brand debuted the Multifort Automatic in 1935, after two years of research and development. This model was one of the first watches on the market to combine four key elements. It offered water resistance, magnetic resistance, shock resistance, and an automatic movement. Ultimately, these characteristics would become the guiding principles for the Mido brand and lead it to growth and success. From that moment forward, the mission was simple: create straightforward, practical watches with automatic movements that are highly resistant, even in the most extreme conditions.
The next decade, Mido landed another first with the introduction of the Multicenterchrono in 1941. This model marked the first chronograph to display the measured time using an indicator in the center of the watch as opposed to sub-dials. The design offered optimal readability of the time measurement and was later used by a group of pilots that set a new record for an around-the-world flight. Eventually, in 1971, the Schaeren family would sell Mido to General Watch Co. Ltd (GWC), a holding company owned by ASUAG, which would later become the Swatch Group.
Origins Of The Ocean Star Collection
At the southernmost point in Europe stands an important monument called the Europa Point Lighthouse. Since 1841, this structure has watched over the Gibraltar Strait, emitting a powerful beam of light that guides sailors through the rough waters between the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. Mido draws inspiration from this 179-year lineage for its signature Ocean Star collection. Its roots trace back to 1942 when the brand trademarked its famous starfish on a crest as an emblem of its advancements in water resistance technology. Two years later, it registered yet another trademark, the name “OCEANSTAR,” and thus officially began the foundation of one of Mido’s most iconic collections. The Ocean Star line is notable for its reliability, just like the Europa Point Lighthouse.
The Ocean Star name has always represented a robust line of watches. However, it would be a couple of decades before it would evolve into the diver’s tools we associate with the collection today. This evolution is marked by the release of the brand’s first decompression timer in 1961: the Powerwind 1000 ref. 5907. This model introduced a stronger range of technical features, specifically for diving, including water resistance up to 1,000 feet and the combination of a rotating bezel and multicolored dial indicating decompression stops. If this is sounding at all familiar, it’s because this model served as the base of a new ‘Rainbow Diver,’ launched this summer in the HODINKEE Shop. Yet, it’s crucial to note this model’s importance in the context of Mido’s history and the Ocean Star line to understand Mido’s conscious efforts to represent its past in its modern watches.
The Mido Ocean Star GMT
In the 76 years since the launch of the Ocean Star, Mido has continued to develop a reputation for creating quality watches at an attainable price point. For collectors who’ve been waiting for an affordable “true” GMT watch for years, the search is over. Just this year, Mido added a variation that’s become a focal point of the collection: the Ocean Star GMT. In the HODINKEE Shop today, we have two iterations in stainless steel. One features a two-tone, black and blue ceramic bezel on a blue textile strap, and the other features a solid black ceramic bezel on a stainless steel bracelet. For the blue-accented version, the 24-hour track is printed on the periphery of the dial in white whereas the black version features a sportier orange 24-hour track. In both instances, the model retains the 60-minute dive bezel while seamlessly incorporating the ability to track a second time-zone. Altogether, the design showcases the brand’s ability to maintain the dive watch DNA of the Ocean Star line while creating a “true” GMT.
Inside the Ocean Star GMT, you’ll find the flagship Mido caliber 80 that’s been upgraded with GMT functionality. Here, you have all the benefits of the caliber 80, including the impressive 80-hour power reserve, with the added bonus of the 24-hour GMT hand. Built for Mido by ETA (off the base C07.661 movement), a second time-zone module has been expertly integrated into the movement construction, while fully maintaining the efficiency and running autonomy of the original movement and the integrity of the Ocean Star design. There’s only a slight increase of 0.64mm to the original caliber 80’s thickness. With the Ocean Star GMT, Mido has set a new entry point for those who appreciate a watch with “true” GMT capability.
The Mido Ocean Star Diver 600
Mido’s philosophy of offering quality and value is further epitomized in the Ocean Star Diver 600. With modern design elements, like a black DLC-coated steel case and top-grade functionality, the Ocean Star Diver 600 incorporates all the components that make Mido watches such a great value. This model marks the brand’s first dive watch with water resistance up to 600 meters. Here, Mido incorporates a helium escape valve (HEV) with a small incision on the side of the case at nine o’clock to allow excess water to drain and prevent corrosion of the rotating, push-down bezel mechanism.
At the heart of the Ocean Star Diver 600 is another all-new advancement for the brand. The flagship caliber 80 movement has once again been updated, this time in the form of a silicon balance spring. The result is increased shock resistance and magnetic resistance, offering greater long-term accuracy. This, in combination with COSC chronometer certification, a reinforced mainspring, and an impressive 80-hour power reserve, truly elevates this premium diver beyond Mido’s standard offerings.
The Mido Ocean Star Chronograph
Similar to the Diver 600, the Ocean Star Chronograph receives a hefty, modern build that incorporates all the foundational elements of the Ocean Star line with the utility of a chronograph complication. Here, Mido has opted for a horizontal, two-register layout with the 30-minute chronograph counter at three o’clock and the small seconds counter at nine o’clock. Then, you’ll find a date window tucked in at six o’clock. In addition, the Ocean Star Chronograph features a traditional two-pusher design.
The complication is a welcome addition to the brand’s signature dive watch, allowing the wearer to calculate speed on the high seas with ease thanks to the nautical miles tachymeter scale, located on the dial’s chapter ring. We offer the Ocean Star Chronograph in two variations. The first features a more classic aesthetic with a blue dial and bezel and the use of a titanium build as opposed to stainless steel. The second variant showcases a more modern design in stainless steel with a black DLC coating.
The Mido Ocean Star Tribute
Last, but certainly not least, we have the Ocean Star Tribute. Last year marked the 75th anniversary of Mido’s celebrated Ocean Star line, and with it came the introduction of the Mido Ocean Star Tribute. Instead of the original 1944 model, the brand drew inspiration from the Ocean Star divers of the 1960s for the tribute piece. Along with these retro elements, the Ocean Star Tribute features a modern build and the standard execution of Mido’s caliber 80, based on the ETA C07.621.
The Ocean Star Tribute ticks all the boxes in terms of legibility and functionality. In terms of styling, Mido pulls classic dive watch design cues from the golden age of the sport and seamlessly integrates them with modern touches. The cream paddle hands and hour markers give the patinated look of a vintage diver. In addition, the seconds hand is a bold, orange hue with lollipop styling. This provides a nice complementary pop of color against the Mediterranean Blue dial as well as a nice retro accent. In contrast, the polished, high-grade 316L stainless steel case is a more modern 40.5mm, and the crystal is a boxed sapphire. The combination gives the watch a height of 13.43mm, making the Ocean Star Tribute a strong presence on the wrist.
Discover The Mido Ocean Star Collection in the HODINKEE Shop
While Mido may be underrated today, it undoubtedly has a rich history in the field of dive watches. The Ocean Star collection showcases the brand’s time-tested approach to watchmaking with an array of models, each of which offers a little something for any type of diver – professional, casual, or simply those who appreciate the aesthetic and history of the sport.
Each of the Ocean Star models represented here – the GMT, Diver 600, Chronograph, and Tribute – are priced under $ 2,500. To learn more about the individual watches in detail and explore the full selection of complications and colorways, check out the HODINKEE Shop.