My Cart

Close

Doxa - The 5 Best Watches From Iconic Swiss Brand

Posted on September 07 2021

The Best Doxa Watches
Some products define a brand.

We all know what a Jeep looks like. And we all know who makes a Big Mac.

The world of watches is no different.

There are groundbreaking watches and iconic designs. In rare cases, a brand can create a series of iconic designs. We all know of the Rolex Daytona, Submariner and Explorer models.

But with other brands, it can be one watch. A single design that we all recognise.

Swiss company Doxa has a range built around a single watch. The Sub 300 - a colourful dive watch first released in the 1960s.

Let's take a closer look at the Swiss brand and this stunning watch.

A Brief History of Doxa Watches


Doxa's history is a familiar watchmaking story. The brand was created by a single founder in the late 1800s. Based in the Jura mountains, Georges Ducommun had been involved in watchmaking since he was a 12-year-old apprentice.

But the story really gets going much later, in the 1960s with the birth of sports diving.

Dive watches weren't new.

In the early 1950s, there had already been a handful of exciting and iconic models. At the Basel watch fair in 1953 Blancpain had debuted the Fifty Fathoms and Zodiac had released the first Sea Wolf model.

The big news the following year was the Rolex Submariner - arguably the world's most famous dive watch.

But it was a decade later before Doxa released a competitor.

Doxa's watch was fundamentally different. It was designed for recreational divers. In contrast, the Blancpain was designed in collaboration with the French navy’s elite SCUBA squad.

At that time dive watches had a militaristic aesthetic.

Doxa - meaning glory in greek - was a well-established company at this point. They were able to task a team with developing a dive watch for the public.

And they took a fresh approach. They began with a blank canvas, an open mind and a nearby lake.

By merely taking prototype watches with different colour dials into Lake Neuchatel they were able to determine that Orange was the easiest colour to read underwater.

And they took the advice of divers on board. Leading divers of the day, including the legendary Jacques Cousteau, influenced the final design.

The result was a stunning watch. A bright orange diver, with a distinctive cushion case. The bezel was innovative and features a US Navy dive table for no-decompression dives.



Like many Swiss heritage brands, Doxa was hit hard by the introduction of quartz watches in the 1970s. They tried combining their resources with other similar companies, but by 1980 they were out of business.

But in 1997, Doxa became a family-owned brand again. They were bought by the Jenny family and slowly began to release new watches. Still at the centre of the new Doxa stable is the Sub 300.

Where are Doxa watches made?


Doxa watches are Swiss-made.

They're hand-assembled in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland. The company now has a history stretching back 130 years. All of it in Switzerland.

Are Doxa watches good quality?


The consensus is that Doxa makes good quality watches.

The brand ethos is built around high specification watches designed for use in water. As such, Doxa watches feature significant water resistance.

Take the Sub 4000t for example. It has 1200M water resistance, a helium release valve and a Swiss-made ETA automatic movement with a power reserve indicator.

Although Doxa watches are colourful and have fun names, they are designed as tools to be used in extreme environments.

The Best 5 Doxa Watches


I've put together a list of the five best Doxa watches. As you'll see, there is a house-style to the brand. Most Doxa watches are recognisable as being from the same family.

A quick note on the names. Doxa gives their watches names based on the dial colour. Orange dial models are Professional, black dials are Sharkhunter's and blue models are referred to as Caribbean.

Doxa Sub 300T

Unsurprisingly, I'm opening this list with the Doxa Sub 300T. It's the watch that defines the brand. An iconic and colourful piece that is instantly recognisable.

For most people, the Sub 300 and 300T are going to be interchangeable. Outwardly, they're both the same.

The Sub 300T is an eye-catching watch that is a direct contrast to the black, military divers of the 1960s. Like Bulova's Devil Diver, it's a functional dive watch that oozes retro charm.

Both watches were built for the beach rather than battle.

Of course, the dial is the first feature that you notice. But as I noted above, orange wasn't selected for aesthetic reasons. It was the most legible colour when tested in murky lake water.

And that is why this watch is such a cult classic.

The quirky design is the result of individual decisions about performance.

Take the large minute hand as an example. When diving it's more important to track the minutes than the hours. So the minute hand takes prominence.

And the case? It's not as large as it looks. At 42.5mm it's a comfortable size and the cushion case style offers the crown some protection.

Doxa reissued this watch because the marriage of style and function works so well. And it really is a functional watch. It has 1200M of water resistance and a sapphire crystal.

Of course, it's all Swiss-made too and is powered by a Swiss automatic movement.

The chances are that you're reading this article because of this watch. So it seems fitting that this is where you should start with the brand.

Doxa Sub 300T Professional 840.10.351.10

  • 42.5mm Diameter
  • 14mm Thick
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 1200M Water Resistance


Doxa Sub 200 Watch

The Sub 200 is Doxa's entry-level diver. A watch that takes inspiration from Doxa watches produced before the Sub 300. It's affordable, durable and just as colourful as the later watch.

It shares some design points with the Sub 300, but they're all more restrained. So it does have straight, simple hands - but they're not as thick and the 300s. The hour markers are similar too. And both watches are equipped with a beads of rice bracelet.

Although the Sub 300 looks like a bulkier watch, they both share the same diameter and thickness.

Stylistically, this is a straightforward vintage-inspired diver. The flair comes from the use of colour and I'm particularly taken with this blue, or Caribbean variation.

Like other Doxa models, the Sub 200 is powered by the reliable ETA 2824-2 automatic movement.

Taken together this makes for a desirable watch.

It's more affordable than other Doxa models but comes with very similar features. It still has the Doxa house style - just toned down a little.

If budget is an issue, the Sub 200 could be your answer.

Doxa Sub 200 Caribbean 799.10.201.10

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 14mm Thick
  • 19mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance

 


Doxa Sub 200 C-Graph Watch

This next watch is a handsome chronograph variation of the Sub 200. This simple black version is a versatile watch equally at home in the sea and the office.

The Doxa DNA is clear. The hands, dial, case and bracelet are all recognisable and link to other models. But the black dial and bezel are more restrained than we've grown used to.

I like that.

Although Doxa has built its name on colourful and fun watches, at heart, all Doxa watches are functional tools. The C-Graph looks more like a serious piece.

And that works. Because it still has touches of vintage inspiration and the signature Doxa elements, like the prominent hands. But it also has watch buyers most popular dial and bezel combination - black. Of course, it is also available in Doxa's range of colours for those after something more eye-catching.

But let's stick with the black - or Sharkhunter as Doxa refer to it.

At 45mm wide and 17mm thick, this is a substantial watch. With an automatic movement, it isn't a dainty piece.

The dial is attractive and has a nice symmetry, enhanced by the lack of a date window. And the off-white markers and hands reinforce the vintage aesthetic.

At the risk of repeating myself, the C-Graph is a very functional watch. It takes the typical Doxa elements and presents them in a package that is easy to enjoy. If some of Doxa's colourways are too bright for you, try a more subtle watch.

Doxa Sub 200 C-Graph Sharkhunter 798.10.101.20

  • 45mm Diameter
  • 17.25mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance


Doxa Sub 300 Carbon Watch

The Carbon version of the Sub 300 is at the top of Doxa's range. It's a pricey watch that has a very distinctive lightweight carbon case.

The rest of the watch is the same as the Doxa classic.

But let's get back to the case - this models standout feature. Carbon is light, but on its own can't withstand extreme water pressure. So the case has an inner titanium frame and a titanium case back.

It's both strong and light.

The carbon case and black titanium rear make for an interesting watch. It's difficult for me to find a suitable comparison. There isn't another watch like this.

Of the colour variations, I prefer this silver, or Searambler, model. The contrast of the black case and strap with the silver dial is pleasing and very legible.

But the rest of the watch?

You're already familiar with the dial layout, hands, bezel and automatic movement. This is still the Sub 300 at heart. Albeit with a unique carbon case.

For that carbon case, you have to pay. There's a substantial increase in price for this version rather than the standard stainless steel. But if you want something quirky and uncommon, this is a one of a kind watch.

Doxa Sub 300 Carbon Searambler 822.70.021.20

  • 42.5mm Diameter
  • 13.4mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Forged Carbon
  • Swiss Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 300M Water Resistance


Doxa Sub 4000T Watch

This limited edition watch competes with the Sub 300 Carbon for attention at the top of the Doxa collection.

It's another high-spec model with Doxa's recognisable bold look.

At 47mm wide it's a big watch. And it comes with big water resistance too. It's rated at 1200M.

Everything feels slightly larger with this watch. The case, the hands and the markers all stand out. Where the Sub 200 had softened the Doxa look, the Sub 4000 has doubled down.

This watch isn't going to be for everyone. But if the large cushion case isn't a dealbreaker, this is a wonderful piece. And it's limited to 300 pieces.

Where this watch comes into its own, is in its careful reinterpretation of the Sub 300s success.

The case has been slightly rounded to increase comfort. It has also been enlarged. The familiar dial layout has the addition of a power reserve indicator, used here for diving safety.

Like the Sub 300 Carbon, this is a modern reworking of the original 1960s design. For some, it will be a step too far. But for others? It's a limited edition piece that offers classic Doxa styling in a fresh package.

Doxa Sub 4000T Sharkhunter 875.10.101.10

  • 47mm Diameter
  • 15mm Thick
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 1200M Water Resistance


Conclusion


When a wise brand finds a product that the public wants, they'll stick to the tried and tested formula.

Doxa is like that for watch enthusiasts.

We know what they do best. Cushion case dive watches with colourful dials. Swiss-made and powered by mechanical movements.

We're still buying them and Doxa is still producing them.

But it's not a brand without innovation. They do experiment. Sometimes with different case materials and additional features or with modest aesthetic tweaks.

So Doxa's current watches still appeal to watch fans. Either because we like the classic 1960s look or because we're tempted by their modern interpretations.

Have a closer look at the five watches above. Let me know what you think in the comments below. Is the Sub 300 still going strong all these decades later? Or do you prefer the larger, updated models?

Subscribe to my list for updates and offers

Related Posts

The 5 Best Oris Swiss Watches - A Buyers Guide
The 5 Best Oris Swiss Watches - A Buyers Guide
With independence comes freedom.That's the driving force of Swiss heritage brand Oris. This family-owned company forg...
Read More
The 7 Best Affordable Turquoise Dial Watches (Buyers Guide)
The 7 Best Affordable Turquoise Dial Watches (Buyers Guide)
Turquoise is little used on watches. But when it is, the results can be stunning.Rolex has a beautiful turquoise vers...
Read More
The 5 Best Affordable Left-Handed or Destro Watches
The 5 Best Affordable Left-Handed or Destro Watches
We live in a right-handed world.Ten per cent of the population is left-handed, including four out of the last seven U...
Read More
7 Exciting and Affordable Watches with Aged or Retro Lume
7 Exciting and Affordable Watches with Aged or Retro Lume
I'm a fan of old watches.I love Soviet-era Russian watches and I love watches associated with the space race. I'm a f...
Read More
6 Impressive Bell & Ross Watches - The Best from French Brand
6 Impressive Bell & Ross Watches - The Best from French Brand
Paris is the fashion capital of the world. It's famed for its fashion houses and designers. Coco Chanel, Yves Saint L...
Read More
Ball Watch Company - 8 Stunning Swiss-Made Models with American Roots
Ball Watch Company - 8 Stunning Swiss-Made Models with American Roots
Very few watch companies can claim that their watches were created to solve a life or death problem.Military watches ...
Read More

0 comments

Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing