Founded in 1889 by Georges Ducommun, DOXA is an independent Swiss watchmaker that, despite getting its start producing dress watches, is now undoubtedly best-known for its vintage-inspired divers. And while DOXA’s timepieces undeniably represented some of the finest and most capable dive watches that money can buy upon their debut in the 1960s — being the go-to choice for elite divers including the likes of Jacques Cousteau — we were eager to discover how these retro-style seafarers held up to modern scrutiny. In a bid to find out for ourselves, we’ve gotten our paws on a DOXA SUB 300 Professional, putting the dive watch through its paces to deliver this hands-on review.
At A Glance
DOXA SUB 300 Professional Specs
Case Size: 42.5mm
Lug to Lug: 45mm
Case Thickness: 13.4mm
Lug Width: 20mm
Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel
Water Resistance: 300m
Movement Type: Automatic
Power Reserve: 38 Hours
Movement: ETA 2824-2
Crystal: Boxed Sapphire
Strap: Beads-Of-Rice Stainless Steel Bracelet
Diving Into A Watershed Watch
First Impressions Of The DOXA SUB 300 Professional
Taking obvious and ample inspiration from DOXA’s SUB concept from 1967 — a game-changing timepiece that marked the first true purpose-designer diver’s watch that was available to the general public — the contemporary SUB 300 Professional’s old-school-inspired design is evident right out of the box, retaining a slew of the original model’s design cues including its barrel-shaped case, chunky ridged bezel, and boxed sapphire. After getting over its retro-inspired aesthetics, the next thing that jumps out at you on the SUB 300 Pro is the watch’s overall fit and finish.
Highly calculated and meticulously manufactured, the watch features ultra-uniform spacing in between the links and numerals that can only be described as perfect, though it doesn’t end there. The dive watch’s overall fit and finish is just stellar, and the bezel’s rotation is incredibly smooth, consistent, and satisfying, with the unidirectional item engaging with loud pronounced clicks and zero back play whatsoever. The same level of attention to detail that allows for the watch’s excellent craftsmanship and execution is also responsible for the SUB 300 Pro’s ultra-dependable performance.
A Barrel-Style Brute
The DOXA SUB 300 Professional’s Case
Boasting a design that points to DOXA’s utility-first modus operandi, the SUB 300 Pro watch is constructed around a 42.5mm barrel-style case that’s crafted from marine-grade 316L stainless steel. Measuring 13.4mm thick, the watch features a 45mm lug-to-lug, and a lug width of 20mm. The case’s gentle sloping screw-down case-back and screw-down crown together help to afford the DOXA a generous 300 meters of water resistance — a figure that’s responsible for the “300” in the watch’s monicker.
Encompassing the DOXA’s dial is one of the Swiss brand’s patented timing bezels — a rotating item that’s equipped with dual indicators with the time displayed in minutes on its fixed black inner ring and depth in meters in orange on its rotating outer ring for non-stop decompression timing. In typical DOXA fashion, the SUB 300 Pro’s finish looks terrific, with multi-directional brushing adorning the case and contrasting the near mirror-polished finish used on the dive watch’s bezel, crown, and the inner links of its bracelet.
A High-Contrast Diver Face
The DOXA SUB 300 Professional’s Dial
Protected beneath a tall boxed sapphire crystal lies the DOXA SUB 300 Professional’s dial. For how much is going on, the SUB 3’s dial is actually a rather simple affair, with a regular three-hand set, a date window at 3 o’clock, bar indices at every hour, and a generous dose of Super-LumiNova luminescent coating adorning all of the dial’s dive-related markings. DOXA produces seven different dial color options — including the silver, orange, and black color options that the original was offered in — however, the most iconic is unequivocally the orange-dial version, as this hue was selected by DOXA specifically to provide maximum contrast and readability when viewed underwater by divers.
The DOXA SUB 300 Professional’s Bracelet
Bestowing the DOXA SUB 300 Pro with even greater levels of unmistakably vintage style is the dive watch’s bracelet. Crafted from stainless steel, the bracelet is of the traditional beads-of-rice-style variety — a once immensely popular type of bracelet from a bygone era and one that exudes ample old-school style. For the SUB 300 Professional, DOXA has opted for an elegant seven-link item that sees a five-link beads-of-rice pattern bookended by a set of non-staggered vertical links — the former of which has been heavily polished while the latter has been treated to a contrasting brushed finish.
Decorated via an exclusive DOXA fish logo and mated to the case via a set of screws, this BOR-style bracelet has been fitted with a folding clasp with 3 micro adjustment slots, pls screw-in post links and a ratcheting extension designed to be worn over a wetsuit. Alongside the steel BOR bracelet, the SUB 300 Pro is also offered with an available DOXA fish-logoed FKM rubber strap with a folding clasp with a ratcheting dive suit extension.
An ETA Automatic
The DOXA SUB 300 Professional’s Movement
Safely housed inside the DOXA SUB 300 Pro’s 42.5mm stainless steel case is an ETA 2824-2 caliber movement. Swiss-made and COSC chronometer-certified, this self-winding automatic motor packs 26 jewels and beats at a frequency of 28,800vph. Sporting a diameter of 25.6mm and a thickness of 4.6mm, this automatic movement also comes outfitted with a ball-bearing rotor that helps it to achieve a decently-healthy power reserve of 38 hours. A solid workhorse of a mid-tier movement, the standard ETA 2824-2 boasts a precision rate of +/- 12 seconds to +/- 30 seconds per day.
A Purposeful Design, Reborn
Final Thoughts On The DOXA SUB 300 Professional Dive Watch
It’s worth pointing out the calculated and purposeful nature of the SUB 300 Pro’s design, as, just like its ‘60s era predecessor, it possesses several functions that largely dictate its form. With its barrel-shaped case, boxed sapphire crystal, and overall bold vintage-inspired aesthetic, we understand that the DOXA SUB 300 Professional dive watch definitely isn’t for everyone. However, if, like ourselves, you happen to belong to the camp that likes its design, there’s even more to appreciate about the timepiece in person, as the thing boasts an overall level of fit and finish that’s legitimately difficult to convey or fully do justice to via words or even photos.
What’s more, considering the style of watch, its indelible connection to Jacques Cousteau, and the pivotal role it played in the pioneering days of diving, it makes it that much easier to fall in love with the SUB 300 Professional — or any of DOXA’s authentic vintage-inspired dive watch reissues. For these reasons, whether you’re looking for a dive watch, a daily-wear timepiece, or a great GADA model that can be had for under the $2,500 mark, the DOXA SUBU 300 Professional dive watch is an excellent option.
The Best Dive Watches You Can Buy Right Now
Interested in diving into an additional handpicked selection of tide-ready timepieces? Then be sure to head over to our guide to the best dive watches for a curated look at the finest ocean-worthy references.