Retrofuturism: The Return Of The Legendary DOXA SUB 300
Harkening back to the early years of the modern diving pioneers, the new DOXA SUB 300 is a living tribute to the most innovative tool watch of the late 1960s. Let’s take a dive through history.
In watchmaking history, not many watches have a clear iconic status. And when the recognition comes, icon status is mainly due to a watch’s design and not the stories of owners actually using the watch itself.
Introduced in 1967, the DOXA SUB 300 became an instant legend when, in 1968, Jacques-Yves Cousteau and the crew of the Calypso brought not only the SUB 300's image but its eminent utility to TV viewers around the world on the series The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau. With its orange dial, a color chosen for better underwater readability, the DOXA SUB 300 was a real departure from past dive watches that were either black or white. Another major innovation was the patented double scale bezel displaying diving depths in orange and diving time in black.
The SUB 300: A Tool in the Cool
Earlier this year, DOXA introduced the SUB 300 Aqua Lung U.S. Diver limited Edition in Carbon (read HERE) paying tribute to the historical partnership with the company co-founded by Jacques-Yves Cousteau. With same size and shape, today, DOXA releases six different versions of its stainless steel SUB 300 that are available on a rubber strap or stainless steel “beads of rice” bracelet.
The proportions of the new stainless steel Doxa SUB 300 are extremely similar to the 1967 piece with its curved (tonneau) case, round dial, and prominent glass box sapphire reminiscent of the original’s domed plexiglass. Also, and this could probably go without saying, the mechanical self-winding movement is a COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) certified chronometer.
With the stainless steel “beads of rice” bracelet, the watch is definitely more retro, but the extremely well integrated rubber strap gives this revived legend a contemporary twist. Also, a key point of concern when the SUB 300 was issued in 1967 was ergonomics, so the 2020 SUB 300 made sure to keep its portability and extreme comfort on the wrist.
In addition to the 2020 model with the iconic orange dial (the SUB 300 Professional), there are five other variations available. I have a preference for the turquoise version (the SUB 300 Aquamarine) and the classical silver model (the SUB 300 Searambler).
Once again, with DOXA, the price is part of the appeal. The 2020 SUB 300 with a rubber strap is priced at CHF 2,450 (tax included). And on a stainless steel “rice bead” bracelet, the 2020 SUB 300 is priced at CHF 2,490 (tax included).
DOXA SUB 300 vs SUB 300 T
With the issue of the new SUB 300 collection, one can wonder how it is different from the existing SUB 300T collection. The DOXA SUB 300T watches have a slightly thicker case and bezel with a flat sapphire and thus more water resistance (120 bar/1200 meters versus 30 bar/300 meters for the SUB 300).
As mentioned, these SUB 300 novelties also have COSC-certified movements, whereas the SUB 300T watches have a regular Swiss mechanical self-winding caliber. Unsurprisingly, the pricing reflects these differences, as the SUB 300T on a stainless steel bracelet is positioned at CHF 1,890 (tax included), which is CHF 600 less than the SUB 300 with the same bracelet.
No doubt, the two collections will co-exist nicely as they clearly respect the original vibes and differences between the two living icons.
The new SUB 300 collection is available on the DOXA e-shop and from official retailers.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)