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The Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 was available since November 1st. In the meantime, the watch, limited to 1961 pieces, is sold out – and that after not even 24 hours. How could this hype arise? I secured a model in advance and want to get to the bottom of the question….
Actually, I should have suspected it. The release of the Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 was not the first to go through the roof. Just over a year ago, Mido presented the new edition of this watch, which is probably one of the most legendary models of the traditional Swiss brand. ‘Ocean Star Decompression Timer’ was the name of the homage to the Ocean Star Skin Diver/Powerwind Diver from 1961, and accordingly 1961 copies were produced – and were sold out before they even reached retailers. How to explain the success of the 2020 model? Probably with the unique, hip vintage look along with its colorful decompression scale, which is seen rather rarely. And, of course, with good quality at a fair price, as you would expect from Mido.
A good year later, history repeats itself. Again, Mido announces a new edition of the Powerwind Diver in the fall with the same number of pieces. 24 hours after the release on November 1, 2021, as I write these lines, the first retailers report that the Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 is no longer available. An update: in the meantime, all watches are completely sold out. So, if you still want to buy one, you have to be prepared for horrendous sums.
I can therefore consider myself lucky that Mido has provided me with the number 1034 of the 1961 pieces for the market launch of the second Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961. Together with you, I would like to find out what makes the limited diver with the reference number M026.807.11.031.00 so special. A watch review, which should be interesting not only for the lucky owners of the vintage watch…
A Mido Legend
If you want to understand why the reissue of a 60-year-old watch causes such enthusiasm storms, you should deal with the original. So a little trip to the early 60s is a must. The name Mido is closely associated with diving. As early as the 1930s, Mido was considered a pioneer in the manufacture of waterproof watches. After all, the Ocean Star collection has existed since 1959 and set new standards in terms of water resistance.
The ancestor of the Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer, the Mido Powerwind Diver 1000, according to some sources also Ocean Star Skin Diver, was manufactured since 1961. Today, the watch with the long name is best known as “Rainbow”, which the then very advanced diver owes to its colorful dial with decompression times. So the original’s field of use was clearly defined: professional diving and recreational diving.
Due to its rarity value, the Powerwind Diver 1000 “Rainbow” is hotly sought after today. Some collectors are said to be willing to pay up to 10,000 US dollars for a well-preserved “Rainbow”. This is probably another explanation for the run on the Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961.
60 years after the first “Rainbow” saw the light of day, I can now unbox its new edition. The high-quality looking, dark blue original packaging with the orange brand lettering is unusually large. I learn the reason for this when I open the box. Amidst a colorful interior are the watch and two(!) other straps. With a milanaise band, a turquoise fabric alternative and a light brown leather strap, you should be prepared for any occasion.
I free the Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 from its foil and examine the Limited Edition for the first time. The first thing that catches my eye are the bright pastel tones of the decompression scale (more on that later). Compared to the first reissue from 2020, the reference number M026.807.11.031.00 looks much fresher. This is due to the silvered white tones, which now make the Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 visually even closer to the original. A new distinguishing feature of the watch is its turquoise bezel. In the past, the diving bezel was kept in a stainless steel look or in black.
In terms of quality, the Decompression Timer 1961, which is part of Mido’s Ocean Star diving collection, looks very well made. Here we can already see that there is more behind the charming look of the vintage diver…
The Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 on the wrist
The Decompression Timer no longer harbors the ambitions of a trendsetting sport diver. More than ever before, functional diving watches are worn by us as collector’s items, jewelry or status symbols – and hardly ever in use under water. That’s especially true for a designated retro timepiece like this one.
And as such, the Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 lives up to all its expectations. With a design that stays very close to the original without looking like a dull copy, the historic Mido lettering and a good dose of 60’s vibes on the wrist, vintage fans get their money’s worth. And although modern Mido watches like the Mido Ocean Star GMT do without the retro design, a common design language cannot be denied. In other words, the Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 is recognizable as a genuine Mido from afar.
By omitting the black design elements, Mido’s Ocean Star Decompression Timer now exudes even more lightness. In my opinion, however, the watch cuts the best figure in the summer. It doesn’t take much imagination to picture how good the timepiece looks on tanned skin or in front of white yachts. No question, this is where the Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 feels most at home.
The case of the Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961
The case of the Decompression Timer measures 40.50 millimeters in diameter. Compact retro watches are not uncommon, considering that even the originals were usually not too big. The case has grown slightly and seems to be even larger than the equally sized 2020 reissue, which is probably due to the color scheme. 13.43 millimeters in height, on the other hand, is quite flat and sporty. Unusually good for an automatic watch. When it comes to the choice of materials, Mido unsurprisingly opted for stainless steel. Anything else would have been incomprehensible here. Interestingly, the surfaces are completely polished. The case finish is great – just typical Mido. The Swiss manufacturer has always stood out positively in this discipline.
An angular watch glass, which is made of sapphire, is presented in the so-called “glass box” style. Thus, it is hardly susceptible to scratches in everyday life and guarantees that the Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 will look like new even after years. There is no mention of an anti-reflective coating in the technical specifications. However, the watch glass is very clear even so.
Perhaps the most striking innovation compared to the original and the 2020 version is the bezel with aluminum inlay, which now comes in a striking turquoise hue, picking up the color of the outer decompression ring on the dial. Unidirectional rotating, it can be used for dives. These are possible down to a depth of 200 meters. Up to this point, the Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 is water resistant. For 99% of us, this value should also be more than enough.
80 hours power reserve
Behind the partly polished, partly matte caseback with the collection’s signature starfish beats the heart of the Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961, Mido’s caliber 80. The standout feature of this marvel is its namesake power reserve of well above average 80 hours. For comparison: common movements in the industry are mostly values around 40 hours.
The caliber 80 collects further plus points when it comes to accuracy and longevity. With the caliber 80, Mido shows that the Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 is technically absolutely up to date, despite its vintage look. Here, the 60s are history!
The screw-down crown is pleasant to operate. In everyday use, it is flanked by a triangular crown protector, which protects the crown from various environmental influences.
What the decompression scale is all about
The dial is dominated by a total of four colored concentric circles on a white background. They indicate the additional time the diver must allow to ascend. Let’s assume that the diver is at a depth of 40 meters. Consequently, we need to look at the turquoise ring. Here we can see how much time the diver needs to ascend in a controlled and slow manner without causing damage to the body. At a depth of 40 meters, this would be 80 minutes.
The decompression scale is not a technical feature. That means that there is no pointer that accurately measures decompression times. However, this is not necessary, as the Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 is not designed for professional use.
Despite the abundance of information, the dial is easy and intuitive to read. This is thanks to the structured design, whose fresh pastel tones not only look nice, but are also quite functional. On the white silver-plated dial, indices have been applied, which glow in the dark thanks to a Super-Luminova coating. The classic Mido lettering and a newly added date window complete the good overall impression.
Three bracelets – the agony of choice
I am sure that the Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 would have been a complete success even with a single bracelet. Nevertheless, Mido did not miss the opportunity to include two additional bracelets in the box. Thus, the wearer is now spoiled for choice between a stylish Milanaise bracelet, a sporty turquoise fabric strap and a classic patinated leather strap.
Which of the three alternatives do I like best? This question is difficult to answer. In the end, however, you don’t have to ask it at all. Because with the quick-change system, the bracelets on the spring bars can be removed and replaced within seconds. The look can therefore be changed and adapted very flexibly.
The Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 – my conclusion
Mido’s Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 is the watch of the month for me! With the reissue of one of its most legendary models, the Swiss manufacturer has succeeded in creating a watch that you won’t soon forget. The combination of the unusual look, the 60s vintage style and the good quality may have led to the justified hype, through which the Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 was sold out within a day.
The fact that you now have to pay many times the original price of 1,150 euros to get hold of one of the 1961 specimens, shows impressively what prestige the Mido brand now enjoys. Therefore, I advise everyone who did not get a model of the vintage timepiece to take a closer look at the product range of the Swiss manufacturer. In any case, the Mido watches I’ve tested so far have been able to completely convince me. This time was no different!