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INTRODUCING: Mido Ocean Star Decompression Worldtimer Special Edition

The Mido Ocean Star Decompression Worldtimer Special Edition.

Heading overseas for a diving trip? This is the watch to take with you.

I’ll be the first to admit that I love a good tool watch, especially one that still has utility today. This is especially true of diving watches, which were the actual instruments divers used in the past in the early days when SCUBA diving was being developed. In fact, today, you could even go diving with a tank gauge and an IWC Aquatimer Deep Two or Oris Aquis Depth Gauge and successfully manage your dive. (There’s even a Swatch model for the budget conscious.)

But one often overlooked and important piece of information in diving watches is decompression time. That’s basically the amount of time you need to spend in a slow ascent to prevent decompression sickness. This is necessary once you’ve hit a diving depth with more time spent at your deepest point than in the no-decompression limit. Decompression tables are usually brought along by divemasters on the dive. Coupled with a depth gauge, it’s an essential piece of equipment that can keep divers from getting the bends.

The Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 revival model in 2020.
The Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 revival model in 2020.

A Watch for Decompression Dives

Mido created the Ocean Star Decompression Timer in 1961 with a simplified decompression table designed for the average diver with a dive watch. Back then, it was called the ‘skin diver watch and decompression timer’. The watch had a turning bezel with a reversed minute track, luminous markers on the dial, and a ‘deco card’ displayed on the round dial.

The Ocean Star Decompression Timer was a radically successful and useful piece of equipment: Set your watch to ‘12’ at the start of diving and adjust your bezel according to the decompression table. Then, once it’s time to start decompression, you can keep track of the duration using the bezel’s minute track. Or you could simply use the table and bezel as a read-off to track your diving time without resetting the watch.

In 2021, a new Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 was introduced for the watch's 60th anniversary.
In 2021, a new Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 was introduced for the watch's 60th anniversary.

Mido brought back this watch with an updated design in 2020 – a black aluminium ring with clearer minute markings on the bezel and a black-based dial, as opposed to the original white, and stronger luminous indicators on the dial. A second edition that closely mirrors the original design, with a light blue bezel ring and white-based dial, was released a year later, on the 60th anniversary of the watch.

The Mido Ocean Star Decompression Worldtimer

Now, an even more advanced version of the watch has been introduced, coupled with a GMT complication. The Ocean Star Worldtimer is a little confusing at first glance, but let’s break it down.

First, the bezel. It now features a blue or black aluminium ring with 24 cities displayed on it, as well as a regular (i.e., non-reversed) minute track with decimal indicators only. That makes the countdown a little more confusing, but still possible. You can use the daylight savings indication on the city ring (the little dots between the cities) as 2.5-minute markers, meaning you can still calculate decompression time quite accurately. The ring is rotatable, which makes sense. It would have been truer if Mido had kept the reversed track, but understandably, the bezel’s purpose is to function with the GMT complication.

The new Mido Ocean Star Decompression Worldtimer Special Edition with blue dial and bezel.
The new Mido Ocean Star Decompression Worldtimer Special Edition with blue dial and bezel.

On the matching blue or black display, around the decompression table is an additional 24-hour ring, with a red GMT hand that indicates the second time zone. Around it, luminous markers ensure the watch is lit in the dark, and a date window at 3 o’clock follows the local time indication. The decompression tables are different for each colour – the blue dial follows the original deco display, while the black dial has a yellow/orange decompression table.

The watch is powered by Mido’s Calibre 80, which is based off ETA’s C07.611 movement. This is a true GMT movement, with local jumping hour while the GMT hand remains in position. The self-winding movement is equipped with a Nivachron balance spring that’s amagnetic and has an 80-hour power reserve. This movement was previously used in Mido’s Ocean Star GMT as well.

The new Mido Ocean Star Decompression Worldtimer Special Edition with black dial and bezel.
The new Mido Ocean Star Decompression Worldtimer Special Edition with black dial and bezel.

The watch has a closed caseback with the Ocean Star’s iconic polished starfish logo. It has a water resistance of 200m, more than ample for any diver. It’s also managed to retain the watch’s 40.5mm case size, making it a relatively compact watch for wear.

Two straps accompany the watch, with easy adjustors to switch between a rubber strap with a carbon fibre motif or a Milanese mesh strap. We’re fond of how it looks on both, and the design of the watch looks fantastic.

The Mido Ocean Star Decompression Worldtimer with blue dial on the wrist.
The Mido Ocean Star Decompression Worldtimer with blue dial on the wrist.

While the only gripe we have is with the non-reversed bezel, that’s also over-informative – perhaps using abbreviations for the cities would have been better and fitting them on one single row – the Mido Ocean Star Worldtimer Special Edition is a fantastic watch and incredibly well-priced at S$1,870. It will be available from March 15 onwards at authorised retailers. So for divers heading to a different time zone for your next diving trip, this is the watch you need to bring along.  

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Editor

Darren has been writing about, and admiring the craft of watchmaking for over a dozen years. He considers himself lucky to live in a golden age of horology, and firmly believes that the most difficult watches to design are the simplest and the most intriguing to discover.


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