Born in 1966 and made available to the public in 1967, the Doxa SUB 300 is one of the most iconic pieces in the history of dive watches. It was the first truly 100% purpose-designed, professional-grade diver’s watch available to the general public. More than 50 years later, and following multiple sold-out vintage-inspired editions (Black Lung, Silver Lung or Poseidon), the Doxa SUB 300 is released in forged carbon for the first time and reconnects with its roots through a partnership with Aqua Lung. Let’s take a closer look.
The Doxa SUB 300 is a dive watch of great historical importance. In the 1940s, Emile Gagnan and Jacques-Yves Cousteau developed the first Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (a.k.a. SCUBA) to reach worldwide commercial success, the CG45. The military and professional diving needs, coupled with the growing popularity of Scuba diving, made the importance of robust and trustworthy underwater instruments paramount. A few years later, the first modern dive watches were born, including the Blancpain 50 Fathoms and the Rolex Submariner in 1953/1954.
Fascinated by the development of these underwater activities and exploration, Urs Eschle, head of product development at Doxa, envisioned an affordable, purpose-designed, professional-grade watch for the growing community of underwater explorers. And instead of a copycat product, he decided to start from scratch, setting up a research team with several professional divers and experienced watchmakers.
After three years of development with a team composed of professional divers (among whom diving legend and Cousteau team member Claude Wesly), the Doxa SUB 300 was presented at the 1967 Basel fair. The Doxa was designed as a function-first watch. It features a massive, compact tonneau-shaped case providing enhanced protection. Water-resistant up to 300m, it was equipped for the first time with a unidirectional bezel engraved with the US Navy’s no-decompression dive table. The bright colour dial was fitted with oversized luminous markers. The crucial minute hand was prominent in comparison to the secondary ‘straight’ hour hand.
Among the most collectable Doxa SUB 300 models are the rare ‘Black Lung’ watches. Following the development of the Cousteau-Gagnan CG45, a company, La Spirotechnique, was created by Air Liquide to commercialize their creation. The name Aqua Lung was used for English-speaking countries and by their American company, US Divers, which was acquired in 1956 by Air Liquide. As Claude Wesly was a Cousteau team member, Doxa entered into an exclusive distribution agreement with US Divers and their twin-hose Scuba tank logo ended up printed on the dial of Doxa watches. During the development period of these ‘branded’ products, a small batch of watches ended up with a yellow-and-black logo and are now a grail for collectors…
The Doxa SUB 300 Carbon Aqua Lung
The latest edition of the Doxa SUB 300 revives all the codes of the original model in a modern and dynamic forged carbon version highlighted with striking yellow details. The quirky shape of this purpose-engineered watch comes in a 42.50mm x 13.40mm dimension – which is the same size as all vintage-inspired SUB 300 reissues. The double-domed crystal is now made of sapphire crystal and slightly protrudes from the case.
The unidirectional rotating bezel, also executed in forged carbon, still features the US navy no-decompression dive table with depth indication in yellow and time graduation in white. The serrated edge allows for optimum grip. The Aqua Lung US Divers logo is printed on the carbon dial a 7:30, as Doxa just re-entered into a partnership with Aqua Lung – headquartered near Nice in France, the company is still active in the production of diving equipment.
From a technical perspective, the feather-light forged carbon case incorporates a titanium container that protects the movement to depths of 300m. The crown screws-down and it is decorated with the brand’s fish logo in yellow. The titanium caseback, black PVD-coated, is also screwed. Inside is the tried-and-tested ETA 2824, whose precision has been certified by the COSC (Swiss Official Chronometer testing institute). Ticking at 28,800 vibrations per hour, it stores 42 hours of power reserve when fully wound.
The Doxa SUB 300 Carbon Aqua Lung Sharkhunter comes on an integrated rubber strap matching the carbon case. The security folding buckle is black PVD-coated steel and is engraved with the brand’s fish logo. It is fitted with a sliding extension.
On the wrist, this new Dox’ is extremely comfortable, as the integrated rubber strap hugs the wrist and the watch is much lighter (87g only) than most divers – but you need to be ready for this, as some prefer heftier watches. This good-looking Doxa SUB 300 Carbon Aqua Lung Sharkhunter is released in a limited edition of 300 watches only and its price is set at CHF 4,790. For more information and orders, visit www.doxawatches.com.