Decisions, Decisions: Do I Buy The DOXA SUB 300 Or SUB 300T?

Decisions, Decisions: Do I Buy The DOXA SUB 300 Or SUB 300T?

DOXA offers two similar models inspired by the brand’s pioneering dive watches from the late 1960s. But how do they differ, and which one should you go for?

By Steven Rogers

If you’ve been seduced by DOXA’s storied dive watch past, its immediately identifiable aesthetic, and its choice of colorful dials and straps, then you’re probably close to asking yourself: Which DOXA model should I buy?

Well, if you’re looking for something simple but dripping with DOXA DNA, then the SUB 200 is the watch for you. A chronograph packing a bit of urban chic? Then the SUB 200 C-GRAPH would be your best bet. If you’re a deep diver and exceptional water resistance is your priority, then the SUB 1500T, rated to 150 bar, should be your pick.

But there are two models DOXA offers that, on first viewing, look almost identical: The SUB 300 and SUB 300T. Such is their apparent similarity that it might leave you wondering: “What’s the difference between them, and which one suits me best?”

Shared Traits

Let’s first look at these two models’ commonalities. For a start, both the SUB 300 and SUB 300T are inspired by the brand’s pioneering SUB 300 dive watches launched in the late 1960s. The SUB 300 is, at least on an aesthetic level, a faithful reinterpretation of the SUB 300 “No T” that kicked off the SUB 300 line in 1967, and the SUB 300T does a similar job in reinterpreting the SUB 300T Conquistador launched two years later in 1969.

Historically, the SUB 300 line was adopted by the likes of diving legend Jacques Cousteau, the US Navy, and the Swiss Army. It has also enjoyed literary mentions, like in the novels of Clive Cussler, for example, and appearances on the silver screen – Robert Redford’s character wore a SUB 300T in the 1975 movie Three Days of the Condor.

The original SUB 300 line was revolutionary for introducing practical features such as a patented, unidirectional bezel with a dual dive time and no-decompression time limit scale. The bezel’s prominent notches enabled manipulation even while wearing diving gloves. At the same time, the bright orange dial and oversized minute hand improved readability in the murky ocean depths. Both the modern-day SUB 300 and SUB 300T feature these innovations.

The contemporary SUB 300 and SUB 300T models are not just limited to orange dials: Six dial colors are available for each model – “Aquamarine” turquoise, “Divingstar” yellow, “Caribbean” navy blue, “Searambler” gray, “Sharkhunter” black, and, of course, the “Professional” orange. In both cases, they can be paired with a beads-of-rice steel bracelet that harks back to the original SUB 300 line, a rubber strap in the same tone as the dial, or a black rubber strap.

Also uniting the SUB 300 and SUB 300T is the movement powering their time and date indications: The robust and reliable ETA 2824-2 automatic caliber.

Still, There Are Plenty of Differences

While they share many similarities, the SUB 300 and SUB 300T differ on a variety of fronts. And the first to come to mind are the case, crystal, and bracelet proportions.

The SUB 300’s stainless steel case is 42.5mm wide, 45mm lug-to-lug, and has a thickness of 13.4mm. Its sapphire crystal protrudes in a “box” style, adding a retro feel to it. The SUB 300T, on the other hand, has the same 42.5mm diameter, but it has a shorter lug-to-lug distance of 44.5mm. This difference of only 0.5mm makes the lugs of the SUB 300T look chunkier, while the SUB 300’s case is thinner and appears more refined.

The SUB 300T has a more prominent bezel, contributing to its 14mm height and making it a chunkier proposition than the SUB 300. But the SUB 300T’s sapphire crystal is flat, sitting flush with the bezel, which creates the illusion the watch is thinner than it is. This flat crystal also means that the date display at 3 o’clock can be viewed from all angles. The edged profile of the SUB 300’s box crystal, in comparison, can obscure reading of the date from some perspectives.

Additionally, the SUB 300’s bracelet is slightly thinner, with the rice beads bearing a flatter profile, while the SUB 300T’s counterpart is thicker with a more rounded profile to the beads.

Weight, Water Resistance, and Dive Credentials

If the SUB 300 is the slightly more refined version of the burly SUB 300T, then that contrast in appearances is backed up by a simple weigh-in: The SUB 300 on a beads-of-rice bracelet weighs 160g, while the SUB 300T on its steel bracelet weighs heavier at 194g.

The SUB 300 has a decent water resistance of 300m, which should be enough for most. The SUB 300T, in contrast, should appeal to those more serious about their diving as it not only has a greater water resistance – 1200m – but it also features an automatic helium release valve.

While both watches feature a no-decompression time limit scale on the outer bezel, the SUB 300’s uses meters. The two-digit indices make for a cleaner bezel, albeit one with the numbers spaced out unevenly. The SUB 300T’s “no deco” scale is in feet, producing a visually more packed bezel, but one where the indices are more evenly distributed.

At this point, it is a question of what matters most to you: Aesthetics or a practical application in the water? And, if you are going to put the watch’s patented bezel to use for diving, you’ll want to know your meters from your feet.

Chronometer Certification & Price Point

While the SUB 300T’s ETA 2824-2 automatic movement has been well regulated and tested in-house, DOXA raised the status of the ETA 2824-2 inside the SUB 300 by having it COSC-certified as a chronometer to ensure its timekeeping accuracy is top-notch. For many, this represents a considerable added value.

And that brings us to the price point. The SUB 300’s COSC certification contributes to its higher price tag, with the watch retailing for $2,450 on a rubber strap and $2,490 on a steel bracelet. That is $600 more than the SUB 300T, which retails for $1,850 (rubber strap) and $1,890 (bracelet). Looking at the DOXA collection as a whole, with no two models priced the same, it is clear that both the SUB 300 and SUB 300T have a strategic place in the brand’s price-point hierarchy.

So, Which Do I Choose?

The SUB 300 and SUB 300T are each cool-looking dive watch icons, packing a robust automatic caliber and boasting innovative features introduced by the SUB 300 line in the late 1960s.

The SUB 300 is lighter and thinner, with more refined lines, and its “box” sapphire crystal has a retro allure. The fact that it is based on the first-edition SUB 300 “No T” – the original SUB 300, if you will – and has chronometer-certified movement could also make it more appealing to collectors.

Heavier and a tad more muscular, but with a lower price tag, the SUB 300T has even more serious dive credentials, with its greater water resistance and automatic helium release valve. Of the two, then, the SUB 300T packs a bit more punch when worn as a tool watch.

But here’s a thought: Such is the scope to the mix-and-match dial and strap color options for both models, there is nothing to stop (funds permitting, of course) a SUB 300 with, say, a “Caribbean” blue dial on a beads-of-rice bracelet and a SUB 300T with, for example, a “Divingstar” yellow dial on a yellow rubber strap from sitting next to each other in the same watch collection.

For more information on the SUB 300 and SUB 300T, please visit DOXA’s website.

(Photography by Pierre Vogel)

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