A dive computer on the wrist – Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961

It can sometimes be a hit and miss affair when a brand recreates a modern version of a watch from their archives. For something to really gel, there has to be a perfect storm of the right ingredients, which is how I would characterise the new turquoise bezel variant of the Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 from Mido.

First launched last year to big success, the first version of the modern Decompression Timer 1961 was just such a watch with many of the pieces already spoken for by the time it landed at dealers worldwide.

The first modern version of the Decompression Timer 1961 launched last year in 2020.

That version came with a black bezel and a black dial, unlike this year’s (2021) version that comes with a more charismatic turquoise aluminium bezel. It matches perfectly with the matching turquoise fabric strap that comes as part of the limited edition set (1961 pieces) which includes a mesh bracelet and a strap in light brown leather with patina finishing.

The original Decompression Timer from 1961 came with technical features suitable for divers.

The original inspiration behind these watches however is the original Decompression Timer of 1961 which was a watch that contained quite a few technical features that made it useful and sought after as a diving tool. The most obvious was the fact that it had a decompression scale on the dial, which was a useful thing to have while dive planning or in an emergency situation.

The Aquadura system that were gaskets made out of Natural Cork.

The other key features of that watch were the monocoque case construction which eliminated the case and thus a point of water intrusion, as well as the, innovative for its time, “Aquadura” gasket system made out of natural cork, that protected the winding stem.

The appeal of these watches is simple to understand. The dial contains colourful elements that on first glance you might think are aesthetically driven, until you realize that they are there to aid in its primary function, being a useful tool for a diver. It essentially takes the most important elements of a diving decompression table and lays it out on the tiny space of a watch dial. If you’re a diver, you’ll probably understand what’s going on quite quickly, since you can find out, at various depths (calibrated in metres of feet), what the no-compression times are. Similarly, you can find out how long your safety stop should be, if you happen to exceed these times.

Solid caseback with Mido Seastar logo.
The decompression scale is calibrated in Meters and Feet.

While divers in our current era will see this dial mounted decompression scale as an anachronism, given that they would be using dive computers anyway, it remains a useful backup. Non-divers will however be able to find that the colours of this functional tool are utterly charming, lending a cool retro vibe to a watch that manages to remain extremely faithful to its inspiration.

Quick release springbars on all the included straps make strap changing quick and easy,

The Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 comes with a useful 80 hour power reserve, courtesy of Caliber 80 (Caliber 80.621), 200 metres of water resistance and as mentioned before, three strap options which should make it an all-rounder for most occasions.


Movement: Caliber 80 (Caliber 80.621) – Up to 80 hours Power reserve Date at 3 o’clock

Case: 40.5mm wide, 13.43mm thick, Full polished stainless steel case with rotating bezel and a Turquoise-Blue aluminium ring with Beige Super-Luminova® dot at 12h, Sapphire “Glassbox” cyrstal, Caseback with stamped seastar logo, Screw-down crown , 200m (20bar) water resistance.

Dial: Silver-white matt dial with applied indexes filled in Beige Super-Luminova® and Original MIDO logo applied

1961 Limited Edition Sets including a Stainless steel polished mesh bracelet + 2 additional straps, Turquoise-Blue fabric strap with stainless steel pin buckle and Light Brown leather with “Patina” finishing. Stainless steel pin buckle – All 3 bracelets with quick release springbars