Style / World of Watches (WOW)

Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series With Mido

Mido raises the stakes in the dive watch game with the Ocean Star collection and the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, this time in Paris. We travelled there to see a couple of new models.

Oct 07, 2022 | By Ashok Soman

Most stories about Swiss watchmaking begin from up high. No surprises there given the importance of the Swiss Jura as one of the hotbeds of this activity, historically and right now. Le Locle, for example, is 945m above sea level, and there is really no Swiss manufacture based at anything like sea level, thanks to the quirk of Swiss geography. This and other local peculiarities often seep into the lore of the various brands, in their marketing if not in the watches themselves. Yes, the watches too because the men and women who work on them frequently have a view of the snowy peaks from their workbenches. Looking out one’s window in a Swiss manufacture is a pleasure anyone here in Singapore will envy. But today, we are not here to learn about the majesty of the Swiss outdoors, although we will be out of doors and maybe tens of metres above the ground.

You might think that being 90 feet, or 27 metres (approximately), above ground is not particularly impressive but everything is relative. This is especially true when you are standing on a platform, fully intent on diving into the river Seine below. Such was the scene at the Red Bull Mido Cliff Diving World Series in Paris, which we attended at the generous invitation of Swiss watchmaker Mido. Paris is certainly a city with its fair share of attractions, but there is not a cliff amongst them, so we were curious about how the cliff diving competition was to be staged. Surely the organisers were not crazy enough to build a platform right next to the Eiffel Tower, for example…

Mido Dive
Image: Romina Amato

Before we get to that, the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series has made a name for itself with spectacular and unexpected locations in the past. We have interviewed Mido CEO Franz Linder at the Bilbao leg of the competition in 2019, for example; Mido has been the Official Performance Partner of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series since that year, and the competition itself has been running since 2009. The idea is pretty simple: extraordinarily talented and courageous athletes dive off a platform outdoors that is up to 27m high, with only their skills to keep them safe. In the case of the Paris leg of the series this year, that platform was erected on the banks of the Seine, opposite the Eiffel Tower.

Fortuitous Links

Image: Dean Treml

“This year we are very fortunate because two of the locations on the competition calendar are actually linked to architecture (the Paris and Sydney legs). This is not our influence because the organisers decide the locations,” said Linder, after we had toured the platform where the divers would be doing their thing later that evening. As it happens, there are all sorts of wonderful links to explore here.

Mido has been associated with architecture for 20 years, giving us a special link between Singapore and the brand. The Art Science Museum here is one of several icons related to a specific Mido watch. We shall have more to say on this later, but for now, the Ocean Star collection has an architectural inspiration too, but that is actually a different watch within the same collection. It is one of five special watches honouring the aforementioned 20th anniversary. The reliability of the Ocean Star is a touchstone shared with the architectural link here, the Europa Point Lighthouse that watches over the entrance and exit to the Mediterranean; there is a watch family inspired by the Eiffel Tower, the Commander, but that is a different story — as Linder noted, Mido does not expect the diving competition’s locations to match up with its own thematic flavours. Of course, we look forward to the day that the cliff diving competition comes to Marina Bay Sands so we can reference the Rainflower collection. In any case, the watch of the hour for this story is the Ocean Star 600 DLC, our thoughts on which are elsewhere in this article.

Jonathan Paredes
Jonathan Paredes. Image: Teddy Morellec
Alessandro De Rose
Diver Alessandro De Rose. Image: Dean Treml

“The Ocean Star has existed since 1944, but when we were preparing (a new chapter) for the watch, we came across cliff diving (and the World Series competition),” said Linder. “We were looking for a theme to connect with, and here there are so many shared values — you need to be hyper-precise in diving; there’s a very strong performance element; the locations are often urban and that’s important for the link to architecture; and last but not least, it is about the water. These are exceptional athletes who are engaged in a dangerous sport and they have to be precise (to avoid injury and achieve the best results).”

Mido Ocean Star 600 Chronometer Black DLC Special Edition

Mido Ocean Star 600 Chronometer Black DLC Special Edition

Mido has a unique approach to the idea of a dive watch, thanks to its association with Red Bull Cliff Diving. Starting a dive tens of metres above sea level changes the dynamics of a watch like the Ocean Star 600, which we discovered up close at the Paris leg of the international cliff diving competition. Totally blacked out thanks to a DLC coating, the Ocean Star 600 is nevertheless completely legible in the dark because of the grade X SuperLuminova on the hour markers, hands and technical ceramic bezel. Whether you are watching the action in the shade on the banks of the Seine, or contemplating the plunge on the platform with the magnificent Eiffel Tower to your right, the watch makes for a comforting presence, reassuring you with its superlative water resistance of 600m and the solid structure of the 43.5mm steel case.

Behind the lacquered black dial, the COSC-certified calibre 80 Si provides similarly solid backing, with up to 80 hours of power reserve and advanced silicon balance spring (as indicated by the Si part of the name). This is of course a version of the Swatch Group developed ETA C07.82 base, which explains how Mido manages to offer such an impressive technical chronometer at just S$2,700 (for the special edition with bracelet and additional strap). This value proposition has distinguished Mido in the 21st century, while other brands focus on climbing up the value chain by increasing prices. The Ocean Star also offers one other interesting element, far removed from extreme sports, that builds a link between our location at the Eiffel Tower and the inspiration behind the watch. You can read about this in the main section of this story.

Finally, some of you might be thinking that the gloss bits here must be magnets for fingerprints. The DLC coating takes care of that, with the official specs calling the watch fingerprint-proof. Well, the DLC treated parts anyway. Our own examination, brief though it was, confirms the veracity of the claim.

Shared Values 

This view of precision speaks well to Mido’s reputation for offering chronometer-certified (by COSC) timepieces at the most accessible level. It also communicates the need to track time in multiple time zones, which is exactly what the special reveal of this event is: the Ocean Star GMT Special Edition. The Ocean Star has had the GMT model in the collection since 2020, and this version adds a new blue dial variant that comes with an additional NATO strap. It is now the only version of the GMT model with both a stainless steel bracelet and additional fabric strap, which is very handy when you need the watch to wrap comfortably around your wrist, or share it with a partner. 

Mido Ocean Star 600 Chronometer Black DLC Special Edition

To wrap up the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series experience, we watched the action unfold from a barge across the way on the Seine. The level of public engagement on that blistering summer day was amazing, and it was somewhat unbelievable that the 24 men and women competing in this leg of the World Series were actually able to dive into the river. The field included Alessandro de Rose and Jonathan Paredes, friends and ambassadors of Mido. Later on, we got the chance to mingle with them at the gala dinner, which brought together Mido executives from around the world, as well as journalists. The dinner, held on a Bateaux-Mouches riverboat, was also a showcase for the entire Ocean Star range, and was the debutante ball for the GMT and 600 DLC models.

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