In 2017, Doxa introduced the SUB 300 ‘Black Lung’, a reissue of a rare 1967 prototype, an iconic watch amongst the diving community made for Aqua-Lung. Unfortunately for some (and fortunately for Doxa), this limited edition was the fastest-selling model of the brand ever… Today, there’s one more chance to get your hands on another ultra-cool version, this time in the long-running signature Silver ‘Searambler’ style. Meet the Doxa SUB 300 Searambler ‘Silver Lung’ Reissue – and again, you will need to be fast.
Doxa, an independent Swiss watchmaker, entered the game of the professional/purpose-built dive watch later than many of its competitors – 1953 for Blanpain and Rolex, 1957 for Omega, and 1962 for Seiko. However, Doxa did it with a watch that would make quite an impression: the SUB 300. While most of the competitors copied each other with watches that were obviously rather close in terms of technical solutions and style, Urs Eschle (one of the bosses of Doxa Watches) decided to start from scratch. He set up a research team composed of several professional divers and experienced watchmakers to develop an affordable sports dive watch for leisure and professional divers; a reliable, comfortable, purpose-built and highly legible piece of equipment.
The Doxa Sub was introduced to the public at Baselworld, in spring 1966 – see our article Historical Perspective – The Doxa Sub 300, The Dive Watch Personified. It featured a new case design – a massive stainless steel tonneau case for enhanced protection – as well as an orange dial (a signature element of the brand) and a saw-tooth profile for the unidirectional bezel, which resembled the US Navy No-Decompression dive table. At a glance, the diver could consult the time markings as well as the related depths at which he could stay before having to decompress.
In 1967 came the “Black Lung” watch, made with Aqua-Lung – ‘Aqua-Lung’ refers to a commercial name created in 1943, when two Frenchmen, engineer Émile Gagnan and Naval Lieutenant Jacques Cousteau developed the first self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (or “SCUBA”) for underwater exploration. Doxa teamed up with Aqua-Lung to create this special prototype, which featured all the attributes of the SUB-300 but differed from the normal edition by its yellow and black Aqua-Lung logo printed in the lower left quadrant of the orange dial. This iconic and historically important watch had been reissued in 2017 in a limited run of 300 pieces only (which was sold-out extremely fast), following the successful 2016 sold-out 50th Anniversary SUB 300 Professional.
Today, Doxa brings back the ‘Aqua-Lung’ themed watch, this time in a new (and still iconic) silver colour scheme, and again in a limited run of watches that you can expect to be sold-out in a wink.
The Doxa SUB 300 Searambler ‘Silver Lung’
This year, Doxa brings back the same concept of the ‘Aqua-Lung’ themed watch in a new version with a silver dial, a colour-scheme that is well known by collectors under the name Searambler. In Doxa’s nomenclature, orange watches are known as ‘Professional’, black watches as ‘Sharkhunter’ and the silver versions as ‘Searambler’. In 1967, besides the orange dial version (certainly the best-known model), Doxa also created some silver editions of the SUB 300 in partnership with Aqua-Lung.
This new Doxa SUB 300 Searambler ‘Silver Lung’ is, besides the colour of its dial, entirely the same as the 2017 orange version – which basically means that it is a true vintage-inspired re-edition with few concessions to modernity. As we explained in our review of the orange ‘Black Lung’, it a Doxa watch to the core. Everything is here: the shape of the case, the sturdiness of the construction, the bezel with its specific scale, the bracelet and, of course, the dial with the Aqua-Lung logo.
The case is a single block of stainless steel with robust details – large shoulders and a perfectly protected crown – to guard the movement. Very utilitarian indeed. Measuring 42.5mm in diameter and 12.4mm thick, the Doxa SUB 300 Searambler ‘Silver Lung’ feels more compact on the wrist than you could expect from these measurements. The finishing is classical, with a radial brushed surface on top and polished flanks. The construction is serious and made with professional use in mind. The case is attached to a vintage-inspired “beads of rice” bracelet, which tapers to an integrated wetsuit extension. Even though identical in style to the 1960s version, this bracelet is far more solid now and slightly thicker (solid links), but still supple and comfortable.
The case of the Doxa SUB 300 Searambler ‘Silver Lung’ is water-resistant to 300m, thanks to the screwed crown and caseback. The bezel is also an ode to the past, with its specific shape – and the unique, slightly unbalanced ratio between the large diameter of the case and the small diameter of the dial. It features an engraved double-scale for (no-deco) feet on the periphery and a 60-minute scale on the interior side. The rugged saw-tooth profile is present and allows for a perfect grip. The bezel has a double finishing, with polished and brushed surfaces.
The main difference between the 2017 orange version and this 2018 SUB 300 Searambler ‘Silver Lung’ is, of course, to be seen on the dial. Here, the choice of a brushed silver dial has been made, in reference to vintage ‘Searambler’ watches. Even though it is a slightly unusual choice for a dive watch (usually in black), contrast and legibility are still great. Furthermore, the monochromatic look of this version is actually very cool and adds to the tool-like style.
Positioned underneath a highly domed sapphire crystal, the hands are slightly different – black for the hours but orange for the seconds and the minutes, which are fundamental indications when diving. The Aqua-Lung logo is printed in black and yellow at 7h30 (while vintage versions usually had a black-only logo). The Doxa SUB 300 Searambler ‘Silver Lung’ is powered by a chronometer COSC-grade ETA 2824-2 automatic calibre, with H-M-S and date at 3 o’clock (the vintage model already featured a date, so no ‘no-date debate’ here).
The Doxa SUB 300 Searambler ‘Silver Lung’ is limited to 300 pieces. It can be pre-ordered exclusively from doxawatches.com for a price of USD 2,190 instead of the regular price of USD 2,590 and will be dispatched in August this year. With such a limited production, enthusiasts will be hot on the heels of this new version, so be fast if you want to add this watch to your collection.