REISSUE DOXA SUB 300T COMPARED TO THE ORIGINAL SUB 300T
© Dr. Peter McClean Millar - April 2003 (Updated November 2003)
The King is dead. Long live the King! 1977 saw the end of the original Doxa SUB 300T. We had to wait almost 25 years before the reissues came to fruition. Was the wait worth it? Is the young reissue pretender to the throne better than the old King? For those people who have never seen one of the old Doxa SUB 300Ts, I hope this review will give you some idea of the similarities and differences between the two watches.
For those of you who have read my original review of the SUB 300T Professional, you will know that I waited almost 13 years before I was able to own one. It was the fulfillment of a dream and I am extremely happy with the watch. However, it is substantially different in design to the original and I still pined for one of the old orange faced Professionals. In December of 2002 I thought I had one, but thanks to a Mr. Roy Sterlex in Luxembourg who stiffed me for 250 Dollars instead of delivering the watch I bought, I had to wait a bit longer.
In the end I got a great deal on a Sharkhunter from Brad (WATCH CAREFULLY). It was one of the Synchron models with the original bracelet and ship logo on the caseback and US Divers logo on the dial. The case was in fairly good condition, the crystal had a few scores and the crown had been replaced by a gold coloured one. The first thing I did was to send the case off to Paul Cheng at Toronto Jewellers Supply who put in a new crystal, freed up the sticking bezel and plated the gold crown to a silver colour. Paul's work is tremendous and his prices aren't too bad at all. So if you have a badly scratched crystal, drop him a line. I then used some 600 grit sandpaper and lightly buffed the case to take out the small scores and dings in it and restore the brushed look. The luminous material on the minute and sweep hands was a bit patchy so I repainted and relumed them. They came out pretty well. The bezel and caseback were in good shape but a little watchpolishing compound had them looking like new. The old bezel had the Feet (FT) lettering which was dropped in favour of Meters for the reissue. OK so it is not an orange dial Professional but a black dial Sharkhunter, however, apart from the colour of the face, the two watches were identical, so I think the comparison review is justafiable.
In order to get a better idea of the difference in size and shape between the old and the reissue, I took off the bracelets. As they say in boxing, "the tale of the tape" shows that the reissue dwarfs the old SUB 300T. The old watch is 45mm long compared to 59 for the reissue. Including the crown, the width of both watches is identical at 45mm. Both crowns are screw in and even after almost 30 years the old SUB 300T threads nicely.
Thanks to the curved lugs of the reissue, it sits noticeably higher at 17mm, than the old SUB which is a more standard 13mm in height. Even though the reissue case is a lot larger than the original, because of the curved lug design, it doesn't feel unwieldy when on the wrist.
One of the most contoversial things about the new SUB 300T family is the bracelet design. It is huge, 22mm wide over its whole length and has been likened to a bicycle chain. You either love it or loath it. Because of the radical design of the lugs on the reissue, it is virtually impossible to get alternative bracelets for the watch. It has grown on me, but I still prefer the Seiko bracelet I modified to fit my Professional. A lot of people put great faith in the original "rice bead" bracelet. Well, let me dispel a few myths here. It is not a great bracelet at all. It got the name of being weak and prone to breaking and now that I own one I can see why many broke or people just changed them for other stronger bands. The thickness of the steel in the clasp is very thin and pliable. There is a ratchet mechanism for tightening the clasp when it is closed and the locking wings are again very flimsy. However, the weakest part is probably the 2 spring loaded ends at either side of the clasp. This was a design to enable the bracelet to expand easily over a wetsuit. Nice idea, but the spring mechanism just isn't up to the job. If I ever decide to give my Sharkhuner serious wrist time I'll change the bracelet "mucho pronto".
I have already discussed the 25 Jewel ETA 2824-2 movement here. It is robust, reliable and my Professional is gaining around 5 seconds a day under constant use. The old 300T used the 17 Jewel ETA 2852. I haven't been able to find out anything about this movement. However, there are still a lot of original SUB 300Ts around so it says a lot for its longevity. I haven't worn my Sharkhunter much but over a 24 hour period it is losing around 10 seconds. It still runs for about 30 hours after I take it off. I'm sure it could be regulated to reduce the 10 second loss but for me it's running fine and as they say "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". As a watch it functions great, however, in terms of a dive watch, I wouldn't even think of diving with it until all the seals were renewed and it was pressure tested.
The caseback of the Sharkhunter has the old Doxa sailing ship logo. The reissue has the new fish logo. This logo is actually the Jenny fish logo. According to Doxa, the Jenny Family is one the oldest traditional Swiss Watch maker families in Switzerland and one of the very few families (among 5 others) still in the watch manufacturing business which did not shift to another industry or go out of business. In the sixties and seventies Jenny invented and patented the first 1000 meter water resistant wrist watch using the legendary monocoque case. The Jenny family is now the owner of the trademarks DOXA and Jenny Caribbean.
The above photo is of my "Doxa family" The Reissue Seahunter, the original Sharkhunter and the reissue Professional. For me the only one missing is the orange dial SUB 200 T.Graph Chronograph, but I doubt I'll ever have one so the next thing to do is replace the black Sharkhunter dial with an orange Professional one.
And this is what it should look like. I was pretty lucky beacuse I was actually given this dial by Kodiak, one of the Forum members. I bid for it in an auction which didn't meet the reserve. I contacted John and asked what his reserve was. When he found out I was the www.doxa300t.com guy, he gave it to me. Just how kind is that! I'm indebted to him for his kindness. There is hope for the world after all. The dial was not in very good condition so I sent it to the International Dial Co. in Ohio. These guys did an amazing job. They even had the mask for the US Diver version of the dial, which I preferred over the original. Now all I need to do is have it fitted. The thing is, I like the black dial now, so maybe I'll hang on a while before doing it.
I'm really pleased with the old SUB 300T. It is a great watch and although similar to the reissue it really is a different watch. I can now see why Doxa didn't do a straight copy when they did the reissue. The new SUB 300T is a watch which stands out in its own right as a piece of Dive Watch history, just as the old version did. As for the old SUB 300T, I can't fault the watch at all. It is a classic and deservedly so. The bracelet is a classic also, but for a different reason. It looks great, but it just wasn't able to do the job it was designed to do. That criticism could never be levelled at the reissue bracelet and unlike the original SUB 300T bracelet, and I guarantee that virtually every one of them will still be around in 30 years time.
If you are a Doxa fan, and lets be honest here, if you weren't you wouldn't be reading this, my advice is get one of the old versions of the SUB 300T. It doesn't have to be the purist orange dialed Professional. The Sharkhunter, Divingstar and Searambler are every bit a piece of Dive Watch history as the Professional is. The fact that there are still a fair number of them out there in great condition is testament to the build quality and longevity of the model. At this moment in time I've got far too many watches and I really should sell a few of them. However, one thing is for certain. The old version of the Doxa SUB 300T won't be going anywhere.
The King isn't dead after all. He's still sharing the throne with the young pretender.
The following is an addendum to the original review.
In November 2003, Doxa announced the release of the SUB 600T reissue. It is the same case and bracelet design of the original 600T and for many people it is the watch that they should have released instead of the 300T. I disagree. I believe that the 300T reissue was right for the time. It re-established Doxa and it was controversial enough to make people sit up and notice. The case and bracelet are a unique design and I believe in years to come the reissue SUB 300T will come to be appreciated for the classic design it is. With those thoughts. I decided that it was time to replace the black dial of my original Sharkhunter with the US Divers redial pictured above.
Like many people I like the US Divers aqualung logo on the Sharkhunter. When I had the dial redone I had the choice of keeping it plain or with the logo. I chose to have the logo version. The replacement was fairly simple to do using a caseback remover, hands puller and a very small jeweler's screwdriver.
My old SUB 300T is now pretty close to the 600T in shape and looks. But..... you all know that even with the 2 orange SUBs in my watch box, I have to get hold of a 600T to do a comparison review.
As I said earlier "The King isn't dead after all. He's still sharing the throne with the young pretender". However, they are both watching for the arrival of the new prince.