This is a true story. It involves the original Doxa SUB 300T which was given to Clive Cussler in 1969. I've taken the liberty to make it a story rather than just tell the facts. I hope you enjoy it.
Clive Cussler stood up and looked around the dive shop where he had worked for over 2 years. It was his last day and the time had come to say goodbye. Working in a dive shop was a far cry from his previous job as the creative director for a large advertising agency in LA and with a $400 per month salary it was also never going to allow him to save much. But what it did do was give him the time and freedom to write. Cussler was an adventure story writer. His hero was Dirk Pitt, a man you could count on in a crisis and a hero who could give James Bond a run for his money when it came to saving the world. Unfortunately Cussler was an unpublished adventure writer. He needed time to hone his skills and develop his stories. Working in the dive shop allowed him to do just that. When it came time to quit, Cussler had finished his first novel. He had begun writing adventure stories 4 year earlier in 1965. It would be another 4 years before his work was published.
Cussler had no idea what he was getting when the manager handed him a small blue box. He said it was just a small gift from the guys and hoped Clive liked it. Cussler thanked him and flipped the lid. The orange dial instantly gave the game away. It was a Doxa SUB 300T. The watch was special, because it was a Doxa. Doxa were unique in the Diving industry as having brought out the first submersible watch with a orange dial and a bezel with the US navy non decompression dive table on it. They had also released dial colours in black, silver and yellow but orange was the "in" colour. You were top of the heap if you had an orange one. At the time U.S. Divers were the distributor for the DOXA Dive watch. This one had their logo on the dial. Cussler shook everyone's hand and thanked them for the wonderful gift. He was going to miss the old place and the friendships he had developed, but the orange Doxa would always remind him of all that. As he turned to leave a thought came to him, "maybe I should have Dirk Pitt wear an orange Doxa".
After more than 20 novels written and well in excess of 100 million books in print, Clive Cussler had established himself as one of the greatest adventure story writers in the world. Dirk Pitt, his fictional hero, had entered the American folklore, and his many exploits had foretold things to come, years before they happened. It was Dirk Pitt who found the Titanic long before Bob Ballard. For years Pitts orange dial Doxa had helped him save the world numerous times and in a strange twist of fate, it was Dirk Pitt who had saved Doxa. Like many Swiss watch manufacturers, Doxa had succumbed to the Quartz revolution in the 1970's. The Doxa SUB watches ceased to be produced and new generations of divers had never even seen a SUB 300T. Doxa were all but consigned to a footnote in wristwatch history. But the orange dial Doxa lived on in Dirk Pitt's world. It was always there. Steady, reliable and every bit a trusted friend. Dirk Pitt without his Doxa? Unthinkable.
Cussler had now 2 Doxa orange SUB watches. The original from 1969 and a new reissue model from 2002. Thanks to Dirk Pitt, Doxa was alive again and making new dive watches. Their first model, the SUB 300T reissue was a special watch in honour of him; the limited edition Seahunters version. He had number 1 / 1000. Compared to the new watch, Cussler's old Doxa was showing its age. The case was scored, the bezel had numerous scratches, the bracelet had long since fallen apart and the dial had an area of paint missing. It was time to send the watch back to Doxa to be restored. Rick Marei, the Marketing Director of Doxa had sent over a watch for Cussler to look at and assess the dial / writing combination. It would be an easy task to just include the old Doxa in the packet with a note to Rick. This is what he wrote.
4 weeks later he called Rick to check that he had received the package.
Initially, Rick Marei was happy to have Clive Cussler on the phone, they had met several times and spoken often about the SUB watches and the placement and branding associated with the upcoming release of the movie Sahara, loosely based on one of Cussler's novels. Marei's mood changed dramatically when he realized that the package containing the watches had never been received. He held his breath while Cussler explained what needed to be fixed all the while contemplating the fact that the original Cussler Doxa was missing. Marei kept telling himself "calm down, calm down!, we won't loose this watch, why in the world should this piece get lost among hundreds of others that had been sent in for refurbishment from all over the globe". Marei could replace the watch a hundred times over but it just wouldn't be the same. Neither man could bear to think that Clive Cussler had lost a very old friend. Something that was unimaginable in Dirk Pitt's world.
Marei put down the phone and called a meeting with the Doxa personnel. They were going to tear the company apart and find Clive Cussler's watch.
Days turned into Weeks. Weeks became months but there was no sign of the watch. Everytime Marei thought about loosing the watch he felt the beads of sweat appearing on his forehead. He had started patrolling all the post offices in the neighborhood, driving people crazy bombarding them with calls every day. He became a permanent fixture at the lost and found in the hope that somehow it would turn up. But with no success.
By the end of the year 2004, full of agony and fear, Marei had to call Cussler to give him the bad news; "the original orange face DOXA was lost". Cussler took the news stoically but Marei could hear the sadness in the writer's voice. The watch was missing in action and there was nothing that could replace it. Even Dirk Pitt couldn't resolve this problem.
The Present Day
The day had started like any other. Winter in Switzerland was in full swing but there was always the thought that spring would soon be here. It had been over 6 months since Cussler's watch had been posted and in that time Rick Marei was torn between accepting the fact that the watch from 1969 was lost and the hope that somehow, miraculously it would turn up. The post was late today, but when it came, it contained a battered old box with a Return to Sender mark on it. Marei looked at the package, it was probably another vintage Doxa SUB that was being returned for service and by the looks of the box more damage had been done to the watch in transit.