Building on a winning formula which came with the 2020 and 2021 editions of the Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961, The Mido Ocean Star Decompression Worldtimer release for 2023 adds a GMT function and World Timer to an impressive list of functions the watch offers. This is a true blue COSC certified Diver that can be for professional use (even as divers rely on a dive computer these days, using the mechanical dive watch only as a backup); or an ideal candidate for a go anywhere, do anything, one watch solution that is relatively affordable and does not give up on charm, wearability and historical significance.
New for this 2023 edition is a true GMT function where the hour hand can be manipulated independently from the red GMT hand; as well as a 24 city world time function that is calibrated on the unidirectional bezel. Hence, it is not only a unique dive watch but also a great travel watch all rolled into one. For these functions to sit so well together on a well made, charismatically designed watch (that invokes design codes of the original 60’s watch) – makes for, in my humble opinion, a huge value proposition, especially at the retail price (in Singapore) of SGD 1,870.
A quick recap of what the 2020/21 Decompression Timer 1961 is needed here. At heart the original watch and its modern update is a dive watch plus decompression timer which is laid out on the dial. It features a monocoque case for extreme water tightness; and the patented Aquadura system which refers to the winding stem and gasket which are lined with Natural Cork to protect the winding stem as well as provide another layer of protection from water ingress. In the 2021 edition, the outer bezel is calibrated to help track dive times.
Every distinctive dive watch manufacturer has focussed on an original solution to the challenges of diving – that often has become a defining feature of the watch design. This often headlines the watch story as well. Examples include Rolex’s oyster case combined with the screw down crown, Omega’s ( and Rolex’s Sea Dweller) distinctive helium escape valve and Panerai’s patented crown locking system amongst others.
Let’s take a closer look here at the solutions offered with the Mido Ocean Seastar GMT. The first standout feature is the Decompression Table laid out on the dial. There are four concentric bands in different colours (for easy identification) encircling the clock face within. At the 12 O’clock position is a strip identifying what each band stands for: namely 25/30/35/40 in metres on the left and equivalent depth in feet on the right.
There are two functions that can be read from the table. Firstly if you wanted to know the maximum amount of time you could spend at each depth before needing a decompression stop, look for the 0 on each band. For example, if you were to be at 40 meters, the 0 indicated on the accompanying blue band would tell you that you could spend 10 minutes before needing a decompression stop. At 35 metres, the time would be 12 minutes etc.
Secondly it can tell how much time to spend on decompression after diving at a certain depth after a duration of time. For example, if you were diving at a depth of 25m for 40 minutes, looking at the yellow band, at the 40 minute mark, it corresponds to the 5 which means that you decompress for 5 minutes.
(Editor: Check out our video of the 2021 release – the Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 if you’d like a more detailed explanation of the history of the line and the decompression timer aspect of the watches.)
The watch is water resistant to 200m and is powered by the GMT Caliber 80.661 with a power reserve of 80 hours.
The 2023 edition now adds a 24 hour GMT scale and hand; and a world timer function that is read from the bezel. The hour, minute and GMT hands are lumed; as well as the hour markers and the 12 o’clock pip on the world timer bezel. On top of this rich feature set, is also a date function; plus a domed sapphire glass crystal for that mid century tool watch vibe!!
It would seem that such a tremendous amount of information on the watch would be hard to read. Mido seems to have this problem solved. Each function is manifested as a point of focus for the user either through the use of colour and design; or placement on the watch. On land or in the air, the 24 hour GMT dial, for example, lies outside the decompression timer and is laced in the same green-beige colour as the hour lume plots. This privileges the world traveler who can use the GMT functions in the dim interior of a plane cabin or airport lights at odd times of the day.
The watch’s ‘True” GMT function is significant as it is rare to access this function as such a price point. Offerings at similar price level usually use movements like ETA 2893-2 and Valjoux 7754 which allow only operation of the 24 hour hand, which is more useful when one is not travelling – the 24 hour hand is adjusted to track time in another location when one is at home, for zoom calls with colleagues, for eg. Mido’s Caliber GMT 80.661, the movement powering this watch, allows the hour hand to be adjusted easily to the local time via the crown as one travels to a different location; leaving the 24 hour hand to keep home time constant. Hence the hour, minute and seconds hands change to the local time conveniently, depending on where you travel to. This ‘true’ or ‘real’ GMT functionality normally exist in the in-house movements offered by Rolex, Tudor, Omega or Grand Seiko, all of which come in at the next price tier and above.
Out of the water, the decompression timer fades into the background but does double duty as its colourful and charismatic codes adds to the fun and unique presence of the watch. The world time bezel works in complementary fashion with the GMT functions and because it is on the bezel, isolates its functionality from the underwater functions. This is such an visually appealing and versatile design as it is effectively read on the ground, in the air and underwater – without overlaps that can cause confusion. Somehow it blends together as a wholly attractive and usable package.
The watch is solidly built, feels good to the hand and is comfortable wearing on the wrist. Mido reprises the new versions of the two popular colour options in the 2020/2021 editions – one with a black and shades of organ for the Decompression Timer colour range (my personal preference); or navy blue on the bezel with pastel shades of yellow, light blue, pink and green for the Decompression Timer.
Movement: GMT Caliber 80.661 MOVEMENT – Up to 80 hours Power Reserve. Independently adjustable hour hand and GMT hand. Date function.
Watch Case: size 40.5mm. Full polished stainless steel case. Super-Luminova on hour, minute and seconds hands, GMT hand, pip on bezel at 12 O’clock. Domed Sapphire Crystal. Screw-down crown. Caseback with stamped Seastar logo.
Water Resistance: 200 metres/ 20 Bar
Strap: Comes with stainless steel & additional rubber strap
Bezel: Unidirectional aluminium bezel with 24 city world time calibration.