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The Doxa Army Is Back with a Black Ceramic Model for Watches of Switzerland (Live Pics & Price)

An rare army watch is back on active duty with a cool rugged look.

| By Brice Goulard | 7 min read |
DOXA Army Watches of Switzerland Edition black ceramic

Some watches are emblematic and known by most watch enthusiasts. Some historical watches, on the other hand, have a bit more complex story and somehow remain known only by a small group of seasoned collectors. Yet, it doesn’t remove anything from their cult status. So is the case for many vintage Doxa models, and the watch that has inspired today’s new (and very cool) release is just that. A slightly controversial watch (it caused some discussions last year…), the Doxa Army was delivered in the late 1960s to the Swiss Army’s elite divers and somehow remained a bit of a mystery. But now, and in partnership with Watches of Switzerland, the brand brings back this cult watch. The Doxa Army is back on duty, with a black ceramic case and modern movement, but still the same ultra-cool military look. 

DOXA Army Watches of Switzerland Edition black ceramic

Doxa, the SUB 300 and the Doxa Army Watch

Doxa might not have been part of the pioneers of the dive watch concept (which has to be credited to brands like Rolex, Blancpain or Zodiac), it remains nevertheless one of the most influential brands in this field. Sort of a hidden gem, a niche brand producing watches for professional divers first and foremost, it has created a watch that will have a strong influence on this community, the SUB 300. A project initiated in 1964 by Urs Eschle, head of development for Doxa, the idea was to create, from the ground, 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.

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Doxa Sub 300 - historical perspective - vintage review
Prototype Example of the 1966 Doxa SUB-300 – Photo by Marco Their

But these watches were not traditional, or simple copies of the watches that were reigning over the category back then (Submariner, Seamaster, Fifty Fathoms and the likes). Doxa created a 300m watch with unique features, such as the signature bright orange dial, which is the result of both a design choice but also from field tests at various depths. This watch proved its capacities on the wrists of many professional divers, including Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau, co-inventor of the Aqua-Lung breathing apparatus and spiritual father of modern scuba diving. In the same vein, Doxa patented a unidirectional bezel (remember that many vintage divers still featured bidirectional bezel back then, the Submariner included) with a double-scale for calculating and monitoring the dive time to ensure a safe ascent without decompression stops – the famous no-decompression bezel. For all the details about the history of the Doxa SUB 300, check this in-depth article.

Doxa Sub 300
Prototype Example of the 1966 Doxa SUB-300 – Photo by Marco Their

With this recognition from the diving community, Doxa quickly attracted the attention of special forces. In 1966, the Swiss Army sets 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 passes 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 are systematically equipped with a Doxa SUB 300T Professional (the same as the one launched in 1967 for the general public).

Vintage Doxa Army watch matte black
A vintage example of the Doxa Army watch

And in 1969, the brand and the Swiss Army will go one step further, by jointly developing a watch answering their 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 (the first commercial watch with such a process was the Porsche Design Chronograph of 1972).

With this in mind, the vintage Doxa Military will become one of the most sought after models of the brand’s history, and a collectable piece for dive and military watch lovers.

DOXA Army Watches of Switzerland Edition black ceramic
The new black ceramic Doxa Army Watches of Switzerland Edition

The Doxa Army is back, with modern features

This year, Doxa is bringing back this famed model in a faithful, yet discreetly modernized way. The key features of the vintage model were its case blackened by oxidation, its matte finish giving it antiglare properties, its SUB 300 connection and its highly specific dial designed for military purposes. And all of them are back.

DOXA Army Watches of Switzerland Edition black ceramic

Using the classic SUB 300T as a base, just like the vintage piece (and not the more vintage-oriented SUB 300 collection), the new Doxa Army watch is all about faithful looks, but modernized materials. As such, the case is now made of matte black ceramic, offering more resilience and better protection against scratches. The case is 42.5mm in diameter, with a reasonable 11.95mm height. As with most watches by Doxa, the Army watch remains compact, with a 44.5mm lug-to-lug measurement. The matte black ceramic case is combined with multiple titanium parts, which can be found for the screw-down crown and the screwed caseback – the two are coated in black PVD – or the chamber that holds the movement. It thus uses the same construction as the forged carbon SUB 300, which guarantees resistance against shocks and is pressure-resistant to 300 metres or 30 ATMs.

DOXA Army Watches of Switzerland Edition black ceramic

Framing the flat sapphire crystal (no box-shaped crystal here) is a unidirectional bezel also made of matte black ceramic, with the signature shark tooth profile. A key feature of the original Doxa Army watch was its use of a traditional 60-minute scale, and not the no-deco bezel of the classic professional watches. The Doxa Army Watches of Switzerland Edition still uses this design feature, with a ceramic bezel’s insert with a bold diving scale, entirely graduated and partially covered in Super-LumiNova (for the numerals and the zero triangular marker).

Looking at the dial, the connection between this new and the vintage Doxa Army is obvious. The same design has been brought back, with the unique sand-beige matte colour in the centre and the 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 new 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 back here.

DOXA Army Watches of Switzerland Edition black ceramic

In the same vein and search for originality, the new Doxa Army Watches of Switzerland Edition comes with hands modelled after the vintage watch. Coated in the brand’s signature orange colour, these are large and easy to differentiate. The seconds hand features an arrow-shaped tip, and the entire handset is coated with Super-LumiNova. Overall, and even though the materials have been updated, the look of the Doxa Army couldn’t be more faithful… and if it might seem like a rather strange watch to some, it certainly has an appealing personality.

DOXA Army Watches of Switzerland Edition black ceramic

Inside the titanium container is a well-known movement, the tried-and-tested Sellita SW 200-1. This automatic movement is a Swiss alternative to the ETA 2824 and it is here presented in its COSC-certified version. It features a hacking seconds and will perfectly do the job in this military/tool watch context.

DOXA Army Watches of Switzerland Edition black ceramic

The Doxa Army Watches of Switzerland Edition is delivered as standard on a supple and comfortable black FKM rubber strap with a grained texture. It is closed by a folding clasp with black PVD coating, and features an adjustable wetsuit extension. Inside the special packaging is an additional fabric NATO strap. Both are printed with the same camouflage pattern used by the Swiss Army at the time the watch was first issued.

Availability & Price

The Doxa Army Watches of Switzerland Edition is released in a limited run of 100 watches. It is immediately available from all Watches of Switzerland retail outlets where Doxa is represented, and on the Watches of Switzerland and Doxa Watches e-commerce platforms. The black ceramic Doxa Army watch is priced at EUR 4,200CHF 4,200 or USD 4,500.

DOXA Army Watches of Switzerland Edition black ceramic

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5 responses

  1. Thank you for your write up on this new Doxa, I would have to disagree that Doxa are not one of the brands that pioneered the diving watch, first, as pointed out in the article Doxa came up with the unidirectional bezel with a no decompression scale and secondly Doxa was one of the brands that collaborated on the helium escape valve. I think qualifies Doxa as a dive watch pioneer.

  2. @SPQR – Agree in a way… And I’ve said what I said in the article with the utmost respect for Doxa. What I wanted to point out is the fact that Doxa wasn’t amongst the very first on the market, but only came later. Yet the influence of the brand on the dive watch history is indeed immense.

  3. I’d love to see this dial & bezel in their SUB200 case. I’ve never got on with the 300 case size or shape.

  4. The Doxa is a great brand. This looks superb and every bit a Doxa. I’ve also found out their introducing or have done it already a white version through all their ranges. Can’t wait to see them up close.

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