REISSUE DOXA SUB 250
© Dr. Peter McClean Millar - March 2004
I'm going to be straight up here and admit that when Doxa released the SUB 250 Sharkhunter, I didn't particularly like it. Why? Well that's a complex answer but basically because it only came in the black dial version, the bezel was slightly different, the hands were not true Doxa SUB style and because it was virtually identical to the Zeno 300 SEL. You can get further details on the Zeno in a comparison review of it and the Reissue SUB 300T here
So what made me change my mind? Well, one came on the market for a good price and I decided to buy it just to have an example in my collection. I had the Zeno already so I knew what to expect. I had a few issues with the Zeno, namely the bezel was a bit loose and after several months the watch stopped working. It turns out there was a bit of metallic swarf in the movement. So much for tight quality control!!!! I was pleasantly surprised when the 250 arrived. The black dial looked really crisp and the bezel was tight. Maybe it was because of the word Doxa on the dial, but I immediately began to change my opinion of the watch.
The watch comes in a black leatherette case with the Doxa name on the front. It's a nice little box and although not up to the standard of presentation of the SUB 300T and 600T aluminium cylinders, it looks good.
The SUB 250 Sharkhunter comes with a rubber strap as standard. It has expansion ridges and a signed buckle and matches the black dial perfectly. Personally I don't like straps. I prefer bracelets, but as the 250 has standard 20mm lugs, it is very easy to swap out the strap and put on any number of bracelets.
The SUB 250 is a reissue of the original SUB 250T which was introduced in 1973. The T which signifies Tritium was dropped because during production Doxa were informed that US and EC regulations will not allow importing watches with Tritium coating in the near future, so they switched to Super Luminova. However, there were a few of the early watches from the production run which did use Tritium. This watch is one of those and has the words 'T Swiss Made T' around the 6 o'clock marker.
One of the most distinguishing features of the 250 Sharkhunter is the highly domed crystal. The crystal is made of hesalite. Interestingly enough, this is the same material used on the Omega Speedmaster 'Moon Watch'. It is undoubtedly more prone to scratches due to the height and composition, but any scratches can easily be buffed out. The crystal does tend to reflect light considerably more than the flat crystal of the 300T reissue or the slightly domed crystal of the 600T (both of which are sapphire). It does make it a bit more difficult to read the dial especially in offices with overhead strip lighting, but it is not a big concern and most of the time the dial is very easy to read. It also makes it very difficult to photograph without a reflection on some part of the crystal.
Another difference from the 300T and 600T SUBs, that can be clearly seen from the above photo, is that the winding crown is at 4 o'clock. This also translates to a dial which has the date window at 4 o'clock, rather than the more traditional position of 3 o'clock. The crown is screwed and unsigned and takes almost 4 complete revolutions to screw or unscrew it.
The bezel on the 250 while similar to that on the 300T reissue and 600T, is slightly different in both height and the way the lettering is formed. For starters the outer numbers which are the depth in meters are not filled in with orange paint as on just about every Doxa ever produced with the No Decompression bezel. This is very strange as it is part of what makes a Doxa instantly recognizable from just about any other dive watch. The first thing I did was to take an orange crayon and fill in the numbers. This was very easy to do and totally transformed the watch. The bezel takes 60 clicks for one rotation and while is tighter than that on the Zeno, it is not as nice a bezel as that on the 300T or 600T. The bracelet shown in the above photo is from a Seiko Orange Monster. It was not a straight swap as the lugs on the 250 extend a few millimeters beyond the springbar holes and necessitated grinding off a bit of the bracelet's shoulders. It is really comfortable and suits the watch to a T.
Another thing that I was slightly disappointed with is the caseback. It is plain with very small writing which says SWISS MADE SUB 250 25 ATM. No Doxa fish or anything to differentiate it from the back of the Zeno 300 SEL other than the words SUB 250. The lettering is also very faint.
The movement in the SUB 250 is a Swiss 25 jewel self-winding mechanical movement with 40 hours of power reserve based on an ETA 2452. The movement was assembled from New Old stock parts and is shock resistant, Incabloc, Anti-magnetic, ball bearing winding rotor, 18,000 bph and self-winding but non hacking. It has been running at around a 25 second a day gain which is not particularly good considering that most of my other watches are within the + or - 10 seconds a day range. I would expect with use that the accuracy will improve, if not it is a fairly easy job for any competent watchmaker or jeweller to regulate it. An interesting point regarding the movement is that Zeno claim that their 300 SEL uses the ETA 2452, but in their case the movement is 21 jewels.
As mentioned before the luminous material used on the dial and hands is Tritium. Because of this the luminosity of the SUB 250 was fairly good. It was bright after charging with a lamp and remained easily readable throughout the night.
The dimensions of the 250 put it closer to the size of the SUB 600T rather than the reissue SUB 300T. The polished case is 41mm wide, 49mm lug to lug and 16mm in height. It is also a fairly light watch due in part to not having a sapphire crystal. It is very comfortable to wear and because of the flat sides at the ends of the case, it is well suited to the thick mesh bracelet seen in the photo above.
Quite a few people have asked me about the mesh bracelet and where I got it. It is 20mm wide over the whole length and has a hidden double butterfly clasp. It is 3.2mm thick and was bought from Walt at LoneStarWatches. It is the thickest and most substantial mesh bracelet I have seen and it comes in brushed or polished finish. The workmanship is superb and I highly recommend them.
I think it is fairly obvious to see that the SUB 250 Sharkhunter was meant to be a cheaper, cut down version of the SUB 300T reissue. In many markets it is a sound business strategy to produce a slightly lesser and more affordable model or service. In the case of the 250, Doxa definitely scored a success. They manufactured 2,000 watches and at the time of writing around 10 are left. For me the problem was that Zeno had released the 300 SEL months before and it had an orange Doxa style dial and a steel oyster bracelet. To add insult to injury the Zeno could be bought for around 300 dollars as opposed to the 499 dollars Doxa were charging. There was a great deal of discussion on the internet regarding this fact. It basically boiled down to the fact that with the Doxa you were getting a watch with a long history behind it and a higher level of service. The Zeno looks like a Doxa and as it turns out is virtually the same watch, but it isn't a Doxa. To many people the Doxa name on the dial, alone was worth the higher price.
So is the SUB 200 in the same league at the SUB 300T reissue or 600T? I have to be honest and say no it isn't. But then it cost half the price of those watches. Is it a good watch? I have to say yes. For those people who prefer the black dial Doxa but haven't the 1,200 dollars to buy a 600T Sharkhunter, then I would say "go get a SUB 250" and put it on a decent metal bracelet. It's a great looking watch and I believe that like the 300T Reissue, it will only be truly appreciated once they are all sold out. As I said at the start of the review, I really wasn't that sold on the SUB 250 when it came out. I'm happy to admit I was wrong. Can I at least have some cream for the humble pie I have to eat?