DOXA SUB 1000T PROFESSIONAL
© Dr. Peter McClean Millar - November 2007
Over the last 5 years I have written reviews of all the models of the SUB that Doxa have released in that time. In many ways it has got more and more difficult to write those reviews because as time has gone on I have become more of a fan and less objective. Once again Doxa have released a new model and I am in the position of writing a review. As I started to formulate just what I was going to write I tried to distance myself from my fanaticism and thought about what it would be like if this was my first SUB. So in this review I'll be more in depth than I have been for the last few reviews because for many people this will be the first time they have read a review of a Doxa watch and they will want to read an objective review rather than a fanboy rave.
Another difference with this review is that I don't actually own the watch I'm reviewing. I'm grateful to Doxa for lending me the watch for a few days to take photos and enable me to write this review. One bonus of not owning the watch from a review point of view is that I have to give it back. This gives me a chance to genuinely decide whether I would want to keep it or even buy it in the first place. Another difference is that the watch is a display / photography model so although it has a movement, it is locked to maintain the hands at the 10 and 2 position. There are a few other differences which I'll comment on as I come to them in the text.
In order to be able to wear the watch and critique it, I removed the innards and replaced them with my green Irishstar dial and movement. It really was a bonus for me to be able to see how my Irishstar project turned out. With a green dial, white hands and an orange bezel, it can't be Swiss, it has to be Irish
One other thing to mention now is that this will probably be my last review using my signature red / purple background for the photos. It really is difficult to keep the colour consistent through all the photographs. Also because of the contrast and white balance settings it means that I have never been able to give as accurate a rendition of the dial colours as can be had with a white background.
I guess the best place to start is the packaging. For many people the package that a watch comes in is of minor interest. It will be consigned to a drawer or box and seldom looked at again. However, for many others the package is an integral part of the whole buying experience and can add or detract from that experience. Most other manufacturers supply their watches in a box, Doxa use an aluminum tube. At one stage they started to use a very nice wooden box but there was an outcry about it and they went back to the tube. The tube contains a preformed foam insert which holds the watch, the guarantee card and the Burgeon bracelet tool. Over the years the lettering on the outside of the tube has changed slightly. It used to indicate the series of the watch (SUB 300T or SUB 600T), now it says Doxa Professional Series. The Tube size has also decreased but the tube is unmistakably Doxa. Besides the watch, the tube also contains a Burgeon bracelet removal tool and a credit card shaped guarantee card.
The manual and documentation is contained on a CD Rom which comes with the watch. I would bet that only first time purchasers would actually fire up the CD. Personally I would prefer written instructions in the form of a booklet. I would make a small book with the operating instructions of all the movements used in the SUB range and encase it in a hard cover like that used for the CD. Actually it could be made to look like a small version of the Doxa book and include a brief history of both the SUB and Doxa.
One of the most memorable experiences for any Doxa owner is the first time they see the orange dial SUB Professional. You take off the plastic end of the tube, pull out the foam insert and split it to reveal the watch and.......WOW!!! The orange dial, Tonneau case, Non Decompression Dive Table (NoDeCo) bezel and ricebead bracelet are both retro and modern styling rolled into one and for many people no amount of photos will come close to preparing them for when they see the watch in the flesh for the first time. The SUB 1000T will produce the same experience. The orange dial, polished bezel and brushed case and bracelet are quite a spectacular combination.
For the SUB 1000T, Doxa reverted to a case size which was almost identical to the first generation of the 300 / 300T produced 40 years ago. The 750T, GMT and T-Graph were all built using the larger 750T case. The Tonneau case shape has remained throughout the modern SUB generation, with two exceptions. The SUB 300T Reissue and the SUB 250 Reissue. The SUB 300T Reissue employed extended rounded lugs which hugged the wrist but with an overall length of 59mm it proved to be a bit big for people with smaller wrist sizes. A full review of the 300T Reissue can be found here and here. The SUB 250 was based on a case unlike any ever used by Doxa before. A full review of it can be found here.
The 1000T is closer to the 600T in size and has the more standard 20mm lug width. The 750T used a 21mm lug width. Table 1 (found below) gives a direct comparison between the 600T, 750T and 1000T. The photo above shows the various case and bezel thicknesses. Top to bottom: SUB 600T, 1000T, vintage 300T, 750T.
The above photo shows 4 generations of SUBS and although they look similar there are subtle differences. The 750T is easy to spot as it is physically bigger than the vintage 300T and modern 600T and 1000T. The 1000T could be mistaken for the 600T on first glance. But look closer and the differences start to become clear. Most noticeable is the matte dial. The colour is subtly different from the other generations. Also there is another difference which at first may not be noticeable. That difference is the addition of sub minute markers around the edge of the dial. The hands on the SUB 1000T also have more luminous material on them as well. (Note: The vintage model shown here started out life as a silver dial Searambler. When I swapped out the dial for an orange one I left the orange hand as original as I like the contrast. Vintage 300T professionals had black hands).
Another difference between the 1000T and both the 750T and 600T is the crystal. Whereas the 750T has a 3mm flat crystal and the 600T has a 3mm domed crystal the SUB 1000T has a 3mm slightly domed crystal. The crystal actually looks flat but there is a subtle curvature to it. All the crystals have an antireflective coating. I'm not a big fan of domed crystals because they tend to pick up more reflections from the surrounding light sources and can make the dial a bit less legible, but supposedly this curvature makes the dial easier to read underwater and does not "mirror or white out" like a flat crystal does. I've always bought into this because I only ever dove with a flat crystal SUB 300T Reissue, but I decided to do a bit of a "Mythbusters" to see if it was actually true or not. The above photos shows, left to right: vintage SUB 300T, 750T, 600T, 1000T.
I think the photos using the SUB 5000T and 750T speak for themselves...... I can't even say that the domed crystal will resist mirroring longer than the flat crystal because both went unreadable at about the same angle. I think this is a "Myth Busted" and unless it is on the grounds of strength (domed structures really are inherently stronger than flat ones), I see no real reason to use a domed crystal. Of course this is just my own personal opinion. Many people like domed crystals because they can magnify the dial and make it seem that it sits deeper in the case. I can find no fault with that reasoning as I too like deep sunk dials. My own preference is for a flat crystal because I also think they are more easily banged or scratched. All the modern Doxa SUBs use Sapphire crystals, so they are much more resistant to scratching. Ultimately, I don't really think it matters about what type of crystal Doxa use. It is a matter of personal preference.
As mentioned above the SUB 1000T uses a crystal which is less domed than the SUB 600T and really does look flat unless you look closely at it. The above photos shows, left to right: vintage SUB 300T, 750T, 600T, 1000T.
Another difference with the SUB 1000T is the caseback. The Jenny fish logo now swims in a wavy sea like background. Also unlike the 600T the logo is not a separate medal insert but an integral part of the caseback. The photo above is not of the review watch. The black in the logo is only a function of the reflection of a black card held near the caseback. The caseback is totally silver in colour. The caseback is also deeper than the other models, which has the effect of slightly increasing the overall height of the watch.
|WIDTH (inc crown)||LENGTH||HEIGHT||LUG WIDTH||DIAL WIDTH||WEIGHT|
The table above shows that the SUB 1000T is actually thicker than the 600T by 2mm. Initially I believed the reason for the increase in caseback depth was a function of the increased depth rating of the SUB 1000T. I thought that in order to achieve the higher depth rating, Doxa increased the thickness of the crystal. This would necessitate positioning the dial deeper in the case which would have the consequence of dropping the movement down and this would mean that the caseback needed to be more dished. Well, I was totally wrong on that front. When I opened up the 600T and 1000T, I found that the movements were almost at identical positions. I can now only assume that the 1000T caseback was made thicker to increase the height of the watch. (Note: for comparison purposes the vintage 300T was weighed using a modern ricebead bracelet from the 600T. The vintage ricebead bracelet was lighter than the modern equivalent).
Personally I think it was a mistake if the increased thickness of the caseback was utilised just for bragging rights (the 1000T is thicker, therefore it must be better). It may be only 0.5 - 1mm difference but it does force the center of gravity of the watch higher and reduces the contact surface of the caseback on the watch by 1mm diameter. 28mm on 750T / T-Graph as opposed to 27mm on the 1000T.
By making the caseback deeper and reducing the contact diameter by 1mm, you actually reduce the contact surface area from 616 square mm to 572 square mm and as I've found in the case of the SUB 1000T, this makes the watch head a bit more "unstable" on the wrist than the 750T which, even though it is a larger and heavier watch, for me, sits better than the SUB 1000T.
Like every SUB Reissue other than the chronograph T.Graph and SUB 250, the SUB 1000T uses the venerable ETA 2824-2. This movement is the workhorse of the ETA stable and is easily accurate to 5 seconds a day straight out of the box. The ETA.2824-2 is a development of the ETA 2852, 2472 and 2783 used in the vintage SUBs. It has 25 jewels and a power reserve of 42 hours. It is rated at 28800 bph with an Incabloc anti-shock system and has been produced since 1972. Doxa decorate the movement with a signed rotor and like everything else in the 1000T the rotor also has also been uprated. Now instead of just the word Doxa, there is also 1889 and a painted orange Jenny fish logo.
The bracelet on the SUB 1000T is an evolution of the one introduced with the 600T. It is 20mm wide over the whole length leading to a double locking clasp with screws holding the links together and solid end links. The bracelet is a nod back to the original rice bead design from 1967. The difference being that the modern version does not have individual beads and is intrinsically stronger and better at distributing the weight of the watch head. The clasp is double locking with an inbuilt diver's extension and 3 micro adjustment positions. Like the 750T series and T-Graph the bracelet is brushed to match the top surface of the watch case. This differs from the SUB 600T bracelet which had the beads polished. I think it is correct to say that the modern Doxa ricebead bracelet is very well thought of, and liked by many watch aficionados, not just Doxa fans.
One of the aspects of the SUB which Doxa is constantly striving to improve is the luminosity of the dial and hands. The initial SUB 300 in 1967 had the largest amount of luminous material on any watch dial from that era. However, over the years watches such as the Seiko SKX173 (Orange Monster) have set new standards of luminosity. The photo above is a "lume shot" of the SUB 1000T (bottom left), Rolex Sea-Dweller (bottom right), Omega Seamaster (top left) and Seiko Orange Monster (top right). All watches were energised with a tunqsten lamp for 30 seconds then photographed. Although not as bright as the Seiko, the Doxa certainly holds its own in terms of low light readability.
One of the most unmistakable assets of the Doxa SUB is the Non Decompression Dive Table (NoDeCo) bezel. Whereas most other dive watches use the "standard" 60 minute timer bezel which is usually a painted metal insert, Doxa have stuck with their polished forged steel bezel. The bezel on the 1000T has a 120 click full rotation mechanism. Even though many divers will use a sophisticated dive computer to time and manage their dives, it is nice to have a back up watch and Doxa is unique in incorporating the NoDeCo table into the bezel.
So what is it like to wear the 1000T? Well, just like every other Doxa SUB I have owned, the SUB 1000T has the same wrist presence that is generated by the unmistakable Tonneau shaped case, NoDeCo bezel and bright orange dial of the previous generations. Like the 600T and 750T versions it is very comfortable to wear. I did however feel that it didn't quite hug my wrist as well as either of the previous models.
I have mentioned my concerns about the thicker caseback and I don't want people to think that the SUB 1000T wobbles about like a jelly on my wrist. It doesn't.
In fact it wears very well indeed, but the 600T and vintage SUB and even the SUB 750T sit better on my 6.75 inch wrist. Of course this is just my opinion and my experience, everyone else's will be different. Again, my preference would be to use a flatter 600T style caseback and forgo the extra height.
So is the SUB 1000T the closest yet to the vintage SUB 300 / 300T? Well, yes and no. Probably the best way to answer that question is to give my suggestions for how I would have made a 40th Anniversary Doxa SUB.
Take a 600T case and caseback because it has a thinner bezel with a 60 click rotation and a shallower caseback. The caseback also has a separate medal insert. This could be used for a special anniversary insert in yellow metal. Use a flat crystal, a 1000T dial colour and 1000T hands. I would de-rate the case to 300 Meters, use a thinner crystal and a thicker chapter ring, forcing the dial deeper in the case. The dial would have a small round 40th anniversary logo in the bottom left quadrant of the dial. Made to look iike the US Divers logo. Failing that, a Sea Hunters dive helmet. The dial designation would say SUB 300T Professional. The winding crown of the 1000T is perfect as are the 1000T bracelet solid end links (although they don't quite fit the 600T case). I'd use the 600T bracelet as it is polished and closer resembles the vintage ricebead bracelet. The image above is a mock up of just such a watch, produced by Brian Green. I modified it to show a white sweep hand.
Would this special be as technically advanced as the SUB 1000T? No, and infact the 1000T bezel would arguably be a better choice, but it wouldn't matter as the vintage SUB used a 60 click bezel and this watch would be an homage to 40 years ago. It would be a very limited edition anniversary special.
Obviously the Pete Millar version will never be made and because of that I consider the SUB 1000T to be the watch that I would buy as a replacement for my vintage 300T. It really is that good. Now if only it came with a green Irishstar dial