The Doxa Army is a somewhat elusive watch… It’s the kind of historic model that has a rather complex story and is known only by a small group of seasoned collectors. Nevertheless, it has a certain cult status, which was reinforced last year after quite a storm in the watch community, and earlier this year by the introduction of a ceramic limited edition – which only made the wait for what’s coming today even longer. But no worries, if you didn’t manage to get your hands on the Black Ceramic Model for Watches of Switzerland, the Doxa Army is now available in stainless steel, in a more classic style, with a more accessible price, in a non-limited edition, and with an equally cool (if not cooler) look!
Doxa has long been known for being one of the most influential brands in the field of diving. The most important watch of its history, the SUB 300, was a project initiated in 1964 by Urs Eschle, head of development for Doxa, with the idea to create from scratch a new tool dive watch that was both ultra-functional but also accessible. In 1967, the brand presented the SUB 300 and SUB 300T, pro-oriented dive watches designed to be affordable to a broader public. This story is today widely known and still participates much in the appeal of the brand.
The story of the Doxa Army was, until recently, less renowned. With such pedigree, Doxa quickly attracted the attention of special forces. In 1966, the Swiss Army set up a special force of military divers trained to become an elite corps. Its first member began training in 1968 and around that time the Doxa SUB 300T passed a stringent series of tests set up by the Swiss Army so the watch could become part of the standard equipment issued to its divers. Between 1968 and 1975, Swiss Army combat divers were systematically equipped with a Doxa SUB 300T Professional. And in 1969, the brand and the Swiss Army went one step further jointly developing a watch to answer their specific needs. Based on the specifications of the SUB 300T already in use, this Doxa Army watch differs with its matte black case, its classic 60-minute matte black insert on the diving bezel, and a sand-beige dial that eliminates any risk of glare whilst ensuring excellent readability in low visibility conditions. Also, it is one of the very first watches to use a coating process.
Following the launch of the black ceramic Doxa Army limited edition for Watches of Switzerland earlier this year, Doxa now adds a more classic, non-limited, more accessible edition of the Army watch in stainless steel to its portfolio… a watch that was clearly anticipated by fans of the brand and of military-inspired watches. And it comes in two different editions, with a steel or a bronze bezel, the latter also fitted with cool green accents.
Looking at the new steel Doxa Army, there’s not much that we haven’t said before when the black ceramic model was released. It’s all about different materials. The rest of the watch, including its striking and original dial, are identical. The steel Doxa Army is based on the more modern version of the brand’s emblematic watch, meaning the SUB 300T (not the vintage-oriented SUB 300 with its domed sapphire crystal). The connection with the historic watch is undeniable and both looks and specifications are about the same as in the past… but with modern standards of production.
The case, which is now made of stainless steel, has a rather sizeable 50mm diameter. Yet, as always with Doxa, the Army watch has a short case that is only 44.50mm – which is less than most 40mm watches on the market. Combined with a relative thinness of 11.95mm (not bad for a dive watch), it makes the Doxa Army a watch that manages to have good wrist presence and comfort, even on smaller wrists. The watch itself is typical Dox’ with a screw-down crown, a screwed caseback, a flat sapphire crystal on top, and a comfortable 300m water-resistance.
One of the main differences between this Doxa Army and a classic SUB 300T is the bezel. While it still has the shark-tooth profile, the insert has here a classic 60-minute scale and not the emblematic no-deco scale of other Doxa dive watches. Fully graduated, this bezel is highly legible, with good contrast in daylight, but also a fair amount of lume on the triangle and numerals for nighttime readability. This unidirectional bezel is available either in classic steel or combined with a black ceramic insert… Or, new for the brand, the bezel can be made of bronze and in this case, the ceramic insert is dark green (named hunter green). No need to say that this version, with its warmer tones and cool vintage vibe, will be the one of choice… at least for us.
The dial of this steel Doxa Army remains the same as the black limited edition, and it’s thus identical to the historic model. It has an original sand-beige matte colour in the centre and a highly graphic, yet legible chapter ring with bold black rectangular markers, minute track in white over a black background, and beige and white hour indexes. The latter are all covered in SLN, for nighttime legibility. This reissue watch, just like its ancestor, features a date at 3 o’clock. The oddly placed logos and Army sign, which participated in the weirdly cool look of the vintage model, are also present here. The hands, also original in shape and colours, are an ode to the historic model with their arrow design and bold orange tone.
Underneath the screwed solid back with a specific Army logo is a tried-and-tested movement, the ETA 2824. This automatic calibre runs at a 4Hz frequency and stores 38h of power reserve. Simple, solid, and easy to service, it allows to keep the price reasonable and is in line with the instrumental concept of this watch.
Finally, the steel Doxa Army is available on a choice of straps and bracelets. The steel/black bezel can be worn on a stainless steel “beads of rice” bracelet, equipped with a folding and a diving extension, or a black FKM rubber strap with a steel folding clasp and diving extension. The bronze/green bezel model can also be ordered with the same bracelet or rubber strap, but also with a third option, a green FKM rubber strap as presented in this article. Finally, all models are delivered in a special pouch with a camouflage pattern (the same as the uniform worn at the time by the Swiss Army) and an additional NATO camouflage strap.
Availability & Price
The five references of the Doxa Army stainless steel collection will be available from the brand and retailers in October 2022 and will be part of the permanent collection. Prices will be EUR/USD 2,050 for the steel bezel version on a rubber strap and EUR/USD 2,090 with a steel bracelet. The bronze bezel model will be priced at EUR/USD 2,150 with a rubber strap and EUR/USD 2,190 with a steel bracelet. For more details, please visit www.doxawatches.com.