There are so many famed stories surrounding Doxa watches. Despite long being a niche brand that made it to the wrists mostly of professional divers, Doxa’s heritage is packed with adventures, innovation and famous explorers. Think Cousteau, the Swiss Army, the potential invention of the helium escape valve, the creation of the no-deco bezel… But the man that possibly had the most influence on the success of Doxa and its reputation among a group of hardcore diving enthusiasts is Clive Cussler. Through his novels and his renowned fictional adventure hero, Dirk Pitt, Cussler explored historical mysteries and transported characters on epic quests and brought the famed orange dial under the spotlight – and he was himself a Doxa wearer. Today, with the SUB 300T Clive Cussler Edition, Doxa pays tribute to a highly influential man, part of the brand’s fame.
Clive Cussler, Dirk Pitt, and the Doxa connection
Clive Cussler (1931-2020) was an American adventure novelist and underwater explorer, who wrote over 85 books, selling over 100 million copies, and discovered scores of shipwrecks through the non-profit agency he founded called, NUMA. Cussler’s books have been adapted to the big screen twice; Raise of the Titanic (1980) and Sahara (2005). Many of his novels featured character Dirk Pitt as the hero, who could be described as the perfect fiction adventurer – tall, muscular, graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and serving as a pilot in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War, with dark wavy hair and “opaline green eyes” as Cussler would describe them. And Pitt is actually named after Dirk Cussler, the son of the author.
In the books, his weapon of choice is a .45 Colt that he received from his father. His drink of choice is tequila with salt and lime. And importantly, he’s often seen wearing an orange dial Doxa dive watch. And knowing the reach of Cussler’s books, you can imagine how influential this mention of the watch was for Doxa. But how and why Cussler ended strapping an Orange Doxa on the wrist of his hero Dirk Pitt?
During his younger years and before becoming a full-time writer, Clive Cussler worked in a dive shop. Once his first novel finished, he decided to quit his position in the shop, devoting the rest of his life to the creation of his books. And before he left, the manager of the shop gifted him an orange dial Doxa SUB 300T. No need to go further in understanding how a Doxa watch ended up on the wrist of his character. The watch was even easily visible in the movie Sahara (2005), as you can see above on the wrist of Matthew McConaughey.
The Doxa SUB 300T Clive Cussler Edition
In order to pay tribute to the author and his character, both partially responsible for the success of the brand, Doxa has created a special edition watch. We could have expected them to take a simple route, by sticking a special engraving on the caseback of a regular orange dial SUB 300T, and maybe a logo somewhere on the dial. Instead, Doxa has chosen something completely different, and rather surprising indeed. Don’t see this new Clive Cussler Edition as a recreation of the watch worn by Dirk Pitt… In any case, the direct descendant of this watch is available from the brand’s permanent collection.
With this new special (non-limited but numbered) model, Doxa introduces an artistic and historical look to the series, and reimagines the SUB 300T in a voluntarily aged, almost antique-like manner. Under the patina, this edition stays true to the characteristic of the watch worn in Cussler’s books. This is, at core, a SUB 300T, with everything it means regarding the specifications. So yes, despite the objectively highly personal looks, this edition is first and foremost a solid dive watch. 42.5mm in diameter, with a reasonable length of 44.50mm (kudos to Doxa for almost always making large but wearable watches), it is a modernised version of the classic SUB 300, not the vintage re-edition that we’ve covered here.
The case is tough… like 120 ATM-resistant tough. Indeed, despite the 300 in the name, this model is water-resistant to 1,200m or 4,000ft. So yes, it can’t handle the pressure an adventure hero might encounter. The flat sapphire crystal (one of the main differences with a classic SUB 300) is framed by Doxa’s signature unidirectional bezel with an inner 60-minute scale in black, an outer no-deco scale in red and a saw-tooth profile. The crown, which obviously screws down, is partially inserted into the flank for protection and the other side is home to a helium release valve. The caseback is equally robust and screws, and altogether the watch is not the sveltest, but remains acceptable considering its specs, at 14mm.
What changes compared to a classic 300T is surely this distinctive aged coating on the steel surfaces – all of them, from top to bottom. This weathered look is quite frankly a bit exaggerated in our photos. Once in the wild, it feels a bit more discreet than in these close-up images and blends rather well with the rest of the watch. And it also makes the Clive Cussler Edition a bit stealthy, in its matte(ish) grey tones. The result feels like an aged piece recovered from a salvaged shipwreck (which makes sense considering Cussler’s background), but in a cool way. Some will like it, some won’t, no doubt about that. But it certainly gives it an adventurous look.
The other part that makes the Doxa SUB 300T Clive Cussler unique is its dial. Then again, it goes in a direction that isn’t classic for Doxa. The beige-greenish dial is decorated with the image of an old compass, then again giving it the look of a nautical artefact that would have endured tough conditions during its time submerged in the depth. It is paired with painted markers in black and luminous material, and black hands also largely lumed. Touches of red are found on the square seconds hand, the Clive Cussler logo and the date – the dates 7, 15, and 31 are displayed in red, a reference to the author’s birthday (07/15/1931).
Each watch is individually engraved with its own exclusive number on the side of the bezel, and the back also shows a series of inscriptions, specifically the names of shipwrecks and other historical artefacts that have been discovered or surveyed by NUMA, the Agency founded by Cussler. Underneath lies a tried-and-tested automatic movement, the Sellita SW200-1. The watch comes on a beads of rice steel bracelet (again with aged coating), closed by a folding clasp and ratcheting wetsuit extension. An additional beige NATO strap is also part of the presentation box, shaped like a book. An additional black FKM rubber strap with an aged stainless steel coating folding clasp is available for purchase.
The Doxa SUB 300T Clive Cussler Edition is now available from selected retailers and on the brand’s e-boutique and is a special numbered edition (no mention of a limitation). It is priced at EUR 2,690, USD 2,690 or CHF 2,590 and a percentage of sales from this special edition watch will be donated to NUMA, the National Underwater and Marine Agency Cussler founded in 1979.
For more details and orders, please visit doxawatches.com.