Let’s start with an apology: there have been rather few articles appearing on WATCH CHRONICLER in recent weeks. For this, I can only blame my poor choice of moment to move houses. Today, though, there’s every reason to get back to work as Doxa, a brand which has reduced its range to the essentials, has launched a watch which doesn’t really ever get old: the Doxa SUB 300 COSC in an unlimited form.
Let’s be honest for a moment, we all know the story of Doxa and how it was used and, in fact, marketed in the United States by Jacques Cousteau of diving fame. Even so, I think that the story behind this rather stunning (though acquired) design is crucial to its appeal. The concept of wearing a watch which captures the freedom and adventure of a team of divers from a period of genuine optimism for the future of sub-aquatic exploration is understandable.
With this in mind, Doxa launched the SUB 300 in 2016 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this model. After all, this watch did bring important advances such as the no-decompression bezel and the high-contrast dials which made such an effective tool underwater.
This watch was as close to a perfect remake as you could conceivably get today. The slim case, 300-metre water resistance and heavily-domed crystal (although now sapphire) remained as they were. Even the font used on the original piece was preserved for a faintly archaic feel. Unsurprisingly, these existed strictly as a limited edition yet, after the release earlier this year of the Carbon version of the SUB 300 and the addition of the larger SUB 300T to the collection last year, the Doxa SUB 300 was ripe for a standard production return.
This, ladies and gentlemen, was just what I opened my inbox to this morning.
For those who watched our review of the Doxa SUB 300 Carbon, this watch will be very familiar as it uses a virtually unchanged formula for almost half the price. The first change is most obvious: carbon and titanium are replaced with good old 316L stainless steel. Another notable difference is the bezel design which no longer records no-decompression times for depth in feet but in metres as was the case on the very first examples in the 1960s. Curiously, even the 2016 version, a truer remake, didn’t adopt this detail.
Even so, the dimensions remain the same with a 42 mm diameter and a 13.4 mm thickness. Don’t let these dimensions fool you: this is a supremely slim dive watch. The case back is steeply domed and sinks into the wrist whilst much of the height is derived from the almost architecturally-domed sapphire crystal. The result is a perceived height far nearer 10 mm.
When compared to this watch’s both spiritual yet more affordable big brother, the SUB 300T, the SUB 300 will likely feel small. It is, after all, much less chunky and only needs to resist a quarter of the SUB 300T’s 1200-metre water resistance. Nonetheless, the new watch actually shares more with the SUB 300T than may at first be obvious.
A key change is the presence of a modern font on the dial rather than the delicate print of the 1960s counterpart. For me, this is a minor detail and one which Doxa was right to change to out of respect for those who bought the limited edition four years ago. It’s also a detail which allows this to fit into the modern Doxa range.
Another change which will be appreciated by all is the new range of colours offered. No longer does one have to be constrained to just orange, black and silver as these are now supplements with blue, yellow and turquoise versions. These also keep their whimsical and oh-so-cool names: Professional, Sharkhunter, Searambler, Caribbean, Divingstar and Aquamarine.
Inside, this watch features exactly the same movement as the limited edition version and, notably, a movement one step up from the SUB 300T — a COSC Chronometer-rated ETA 2824-2. With a 38-hour power reserve and automatic winding, this is exactly what you would expect in a Doxa and, to be clear, just what would have been used in the 1960s.
There does, however, remain an elephant in the room: should you buy this Doxa in view of its price? Well, the price is USD 2,490 on the steel bracelet (the way it really ought to be bought) which is a hundred dollars more than the SUB 1500T and a whopping six hundred dollars more than the SUB 300T.
Make no mistake: the price of the SUB 300, complete with its domed crystal, chronometer movement and detailing is not bad value in the slightest for a brand as small as Doxa. However, it is built for a different customer and a customer who puts history, design and overall feel before on-paper specifications. If, by contrast, you are more inclined towards technical mastery, the SUB 1500T will be for you and if you simply want a Doxa for knocking around dive tanks, the SUB 300T is for you.
Ultimately, this comes down to personal choice yet I think that we can all agree that there was a clear SUB 300-shaped hold in Doxa’s catalogue.
Availability: USD 2,490 on bracelet / USD 2,450 on rubber strap
- Dimensions: 42.5 mm x 45 mm x 13.4 mm
- Material: 316L Stainless Steel
- Crystal: Box-Domed Sapphire
- Display: Doxa Hands in Black or White and Orange / Printed Dial in Orange, Black, Sunburst Silver, Blue, Yellow and Turquoise / Unidirectional Bezel with Minute Graduations & No-Decompression Scale
- Water Resistance: 300 m / 984 ft / 30 ATM
- Movement: ETA 2824-2: Hours, Minutes & Seconds / Automatic & Manual Winding / Swiss Made / 4 Hz, 28,800 vph, 8 ticks-per-second / Hacking Seconds / COSC Chronometer Certified / Decorated by Doxa