GMT complication. Ceramic bezel insert. 80 hour power reserve.
All of the above and more for RM4,670. I’m just gonna’ come out and drop this right at the start. You’d probably struggle to find a watch from an established (mainstream, that is) manufacturer with a GMT function, ceramic insert on its dive bezel and an 80-hour power reserve for just under RM5k. I could be wrong and for the sake of all the buyers out there, I do hope that’s the case. So, what do we have here in this supposed value-packed timepiece? It’s quite simple, really. The 2020 Mido Ocean Star GMT stays true to its namesake in that it’s a through and through diver with the added functionality of a GMT display.
If you’re looking for a robust, well-built ‘holiday’ watch? I’d vouch for this in a heartbeat. Think about it. You need a watch to track the time zones while you’re away and it has to stand up to the rigours of snorkeling and sea turtle spotting. Should you fancy a deeper dive, it’s got a 200-meter water resistant rating so there’s that too.
I know, I know. This sounds a lot like a sponsored ad. I assure you, it’s not. While it is a fantastic watch for the money, the Mido Ocean Star GMT does have its fair share of flaws. Cue the suspenseful music!
“Let’s not get all Debbie Downer first, alright?”
In fact, let’s get all Technical Terry with the specs. Within the Ocean Star GMT beats the Mido Caliber 80, itself based on ETA’s C07.661. That variation can trace its roots back to the ETA 2824 caliber. The 25-jeweled automatic movement beats at a rate of 3 Hz and offers a date along with the aforementioned GMT display. Hacking and hand-winding capabilities are also part of the package and so is a date readout at 3 o’clock. Mind you, it doesn’t feature an instantaneous jump at midnight.
Now, when it comes to tweaking the GMT hand, it’s relatively straightforward. Once the crown has been pulled all the way out (to hack the seconds hand), you only need to turn the crown to advance the GMT hand to display the desired time zone. This will also move the main hour hand forwards, right? Not an issue.
Following that, set the crown to the second position. This allows you to independently adjust the main hour hand to reflect the local time. Once you’ve reset the main hour hand to the local time, push the crown back to the first position (hand-winding setting) and screw the crown back down. There, you’re all set.
So, now that you’ve got a clue on how to adjust the Ocean Star GMT’s highlight feature, what about the rest of the watch? Sure, that combination of a dive bezel and GMT hand is unique enough but what about the other more common aspects? Legibility, wearing comfort, etc., you know the drill…
“Well? We’re waiting!”
Alright, alright, I’ll get to it. Let’s begin with the strap. It’s a dark blue fabric-leather hybrid strap with the fabric bit facing out and the leather, in. As such, wearing comfort shouldn’t be an issue, right? Since the leather should feel smooth enough against skin and the fabric construction would ensure that it’s fairly pliable.
While it is a comfortable strap, it’s gonna’ take a long while before it truly feels at home on the wrist. Why? It’s extremely stiff out of the box. It needs A LOT of breaking in, truth be told. In its defense, the woven fabric does feel like it can withstand some serious punishment before it even begins to look a tad worn out. Aesthetically, it’s also a rather understated strap. There are contrasting white-grey side stitching and the stainless steel tang buckle has both brushed and polished elements – a styling cue you’d see repeated across the case itself. The Mido font is engraved across the surface of the buckle. As for the lug width? It stands at a very appropriate 22 mm.
This is a purely personal preference but I find that small strip of leather overlay on the fabric side a little out of place. It certainly doesn’t help that it’s a shade lighter than the blue of the fabric as well.
“What about the case, then?”
Let’s get the numbers out of the way first. It’s a relatively huge watch at 44 mm in diameter and it stands at a height of 13.3 mm. Including the strap, the whole thing weighs 122 g. A watch to slide “under the cuff”? No, not quite. It does have plenty of dramatic presence even in a rather safe colour combination, though. I can only imagine how the rose gold variant might look like in the flesh. Yes, there are a total of three flavours for the Mido Ocean Star GMT – the blue one we have here, a rose gold and another steel bracelet variant with orange highlights.
Mido has done a nice job with the signed, screw-down crown as well. Unscrewing and winding it, I find the action to have just the right amount of tactile feedback and resistance. Screwed in, I love how flush it blends in with the crown guards. Earlier on, I mentioned that the case features the same type of polished-brushed combination as the buckle, right? Well, I gotta’ say Mido has deployed that combo to devastating effect here. The sides are brushed, giving it a very tool-like appearance but the sliver of polished elements that run along the outlines of the case and lugs before terminating towards the edge of the caseback just ups that “dress watch” vibe by a small degree. It shows a fair level of finesse that Mido has when it comes to case design and finishing. I absolutely love it.
“Speaking of the caseback…”
Oh. My. Word.
While an exhibition caseback is always a good thing, the Ocean Star GMT makes a strong argument for closed ones instead. Mido has gone ahead and engraved the various time zones around the world across the polished, screwed-down caseback. Some quarters may find it a tad gimmicky I’ll admit but I for one am a sucker for niceties such as these. Looking at the rear of the watch head-on, that earlier mentioned contrasting polished-brushed combination really, really makes the caseback pop. It’s quite hellish to capture on camera but in real life, it’s a very nice touch.
Moving on to the dive bezel, it’s a 120-click unit with a ceramic insert. A lumed pip is to be found at the ’60-minute’ mark and the first 20 feature 5-minute increments. While a ceramic insert is mighty impressive at this price point, the actual tactility of the bezel is decent at best. There’s quite a fair amount of backplay and it doesn’t click solidly enough into place. With that said, the coin-edge/toothed design makes it fairly easy to grab hold of and rotate.
Another very interesting note about the bezel is that when you view it under harsh sunlight, the blue-ish insert actually appears to lean closer to a deep turquoise shade instead. I’ve tried and tried again but thanks to my noob photography skills, it’s impossible to capture on screen. This is one you’ll have to spot for yourself in the flesh, I’m afraid.
“Moving closer towards the middle now, are we?”
Yeah, which brings me to the sapphire crystal with double-sided AR (anti-reflective) coating. Remember, you’re getting all those features mentioned above plus this. For no more than RM5k. Beneath that crystal, the chapter ring is where we come across another rather aesthetically-pleasing and practical feature. The 24-hour readout lies on the surface of the aforementioned ring and features a blue line for hours beginning at 6AM to 6PM, to indicate the day. Meanwhile, the other half with hours beginning from 6PM to 6AM has a black background to further distinguish it and mark out the night.
As for the dial, I’m thankful that Mido has kept it light with the text lines. Printed on that inky blue-black dial are the words ‘Mido’, ‘Automatic’ and ‘Ocean Star’ – yeah, not even a GMT mention. We get applied hour markers in two styles – baton and a stacked square setup at 12 and 6 o’clock. The hour and minute hands are skeletonized and feature lumed outer halves while the seconds hand has a lumed, blue-tipped end. The fourth GMT hand is an arrow-shaped blued hand – enough to differentiate it from the main three hands, I reckon.
“Sounds like the Ocean Star GMT is meant for visibility…”
Now, while all of that sounds like a lovely combination (and aesthetically, it is), I find that legibility on a bright, sunny day may be a bit of an issue. See, the outline of the markers are polished and when combined with the skeletonized hands under intense sunlight, it’s a tad hard to tell the time at a very quick glance. It’s not a major deal-breaker but you won’t be able to tell the time in a split second glance like you could with a pilot’s watch.
The lume is, of course, SuperLuminova and on the Ocean Star GMT, it comes in two colours. The lume on the bezel, hour, minute, seconds and GMT hand have a green shade to them while the ones on the hour markers have a blue hue to them. While that makes for a nice view when the lights go out, you best get your fill quick because the lume is strangely weak. If this was a dress watch, weak lume or even having lume for that matter would be excusable. On a sports watch that’s touted as a diver and a GMT timepiece? That’s not the best thing, eh?
“So, is the Ocean Star GMT still considered value-packed, then?”
If you ask me, I’d say yes. Depends on how you plan to use it, most of these niggles aren’t going to be extremely detrimental in the wearing experience. Sure, the Mido Ocean Star GMT has more than a few flaws but they’re still not going to outdo all the positives combined. Would I have wanted a more tactile experience with the bezel? Yes, but if I’m getting a ceramic bezel insert at this price point, I’m not gonna’ whine much.
And that’s where I feel the Mido Ocean Star GMT will prove itself against these minor problems. The more tangible add-ons are so significant that at RM4,670, I feel it’s a fair exchange if it means living with weaker lume, a not-so-nice-clickety-clackety bezel action and slightly wonky legibility. All these pushed aside for 80 hours of power reserve, 200 meters of water resistance, GMT complication, that caseback, a double-sided AR-coated sapphire crystal and rather versatile aesthetics? Completely fine by me.