DOXA SUB750T COMPARED TO AN OMEGA SEAMASTER PROFESSIONAL
© Dr. Peter McClean Millar - June 2007
I have a confession to make......I'm a Doxa nut. I love Doxa dive watches. I prefer them to any other make of watch. However, having said that, it doesn't mean that I don't like or buy other manufactures dive watches. I also love dive watches by just about every other watchmaker. That's why I own or have owned timepieces by a number of big name manufactures; Rolex, Breitling, Seiko and Casio to name a few. The one company I never tried was Omega. People may find that unusual because Omega make one of the best selling and most respected dive watches ever made. The Seamaster Professional (SMP). The fact that it is worn by James Bond also means that it is one of the most recognizable watches in the world. So why did I never consider buying a SMP? Simple really. I didn't like the look of them.
I looked at a few in jewelers windows and the thing that always struck me about them was that the Helium Release Valve crown on the left side of the case looked out of place. I was used to the more descrete and, for me, more elegant solution used by Doxa, Rolex and Breitling which was a simple non return valve built into the side of the case. Having a HRV which necessitated unscrewing a crown was no better than just unscrewing the winding crown. A manual HRV didn't make sense and it unbalanced the whole design of the watch in my opinion. The other big turn off for me was that the SMPs I looked at had the skeleton hands and I really don't like those at all. I just wasn't interested in the watch. A couple of things changed my opinion.
When I do a review of a Doxa watch people read it and then ask questions about the Doxa and how it compares to the major alternatives. These questions have mostly been aimed at the Sea-Dweller, the Superocean and the Seamaster. I have written a comparison using the Sea-Dweller and the Superocean but not against the Seamaster. I felt that one had to be done. The next thing was that I had to spend 2 weeks in Trinidad and one of my coleagues there had an SMP. It was the 2054.50 model which had a black dial, solid hands and a "Bond" style bracelet. I was wearing my SUB 750T and we did the inevitable swap and compare watches thing that we all do. It was actually the first time I had handled a SMP and I was immediately taken buy the feel of it and the quality of the watch. I liked the older style dial and full lume hands and I found myself warming to the watch.
Recently I got the chance to buy a 4 year old Seamaster and I jumped at it, primarily to do this review but also to see if the watch was everything that people said it was. This review is not meant to be a "my watch is better than yours". I'm totally biased towards Doxa but many people have asked me for a comparison and that's what it will be. I'll try to be fair and point out the good and bad of both watches from the point of buying them secondhand. I think this is fair as the 5,000 Doxa SUB 750T production run is coming to an end. The SUB 750T will shortly be replaced by the SUB 1000T which wil be a different watch both in size and depth rating. Also from what I can ascertain, the 2254.50 SMP will also be discontinued. Just a word about the Omega numbering system. The watch in this review is the 2054.50. It is different to the 2254.50 in that the 2054 has the "Bond" style bracelet. The newer 2254 has the Speedmaster bracelet. More about the bracelet later. The information on the SUB 750T is taken from a previous review here which goes into greater detail than is presented here.
The first thing that struck me about the Seamaster was the actual packaging that it came in. A large white box contained a very nice red leatherette box with an Omega "medal" on the top. A small sticker on the bottom of the box indicated that it was made in Thailand. That may be of concern to some people but not me. The box is very luxurious and very well made. There was a segmented wallet with credit card sized plastic cards for the International Waranty, Pictograms showing the specifications of the watch and the Chronometer Certificate. There was also a small hard back book which gave the operating instructions for all Omega watches.
The 750T came in the "standard" Doxa diving tube. This held the watch and credit card sized warranty card and a small Burgeon bracelet removal tool. The operating instructions for the 750T came on a separate CD. Most people who would buy either of these watches would never need to look at the operating instructions and the packaging will be consigned to a drawer, rarely to be seen. Both sets of packaging are excellent but for me the Omega instruction booklet is preferable over the Doxa CD. I just like books.
The 750T is a bigger watch than the Seamaster but it is actually hard to tell from first looks and if you look at the table below there doesn't seem to be much in it. All watches were sized for a 6.75 inch wrist.
|WIDTH (inc crown)||LENGTH||HEIGHT||LUG WIDTH||DIAL WIDTH||WEIGHT|
But look at this photo.
And this one and you can see that the SUB 750T is a much bigger watch. Where the difference is, is in the thickness. At 11mm thick the Seamaster is positiverly annorexic conpared to the 750T. Interestingly, The weight of the watches are fairly similar because the SMP bracelet is a bit heavier than that of the 750T.
One other difference in the watches is the crystal. Whereas the Doxa uses a flat Sapphire crystal, the Omega's is very slightly domed. It actually took me a while to realize that it was domed and not flat.
Both watches use 120 click bezels and both turn with a distinct lack of sloppiness. In the Flying Doctor, Patent Pending, Turn The Bezel With A Thick Glove test, the 750T is a definite head and shoulders above the Seamaster. The extra thickness and ridges of the Doxa bezel make it easy to manipulate. Unfortunately the Seamaster is just about impossible for me. Actually even without gloves I found the Seamaster bezel very difficult to turn. The edges just didn't seem to give a good purchase. And that brings me to the actual bezel design itself. Doxa patented the classic non-decompression dive table bezel and it is still valid in today's age of dive computers. The Omega dive watches use the traditional 60 minute marker bezel. Both bezels are perfectly functional and give an added piece of security to compliment the electronic wizardry that virtually all divers use now. The other difference in the bezels is that the Doxa version is a solid one piece affair, whereas Omega use a more 'standard' hollow bezel with replaceable metal insert. What I find usefull about the Doxa NoDeCom bezel is when I'm asked about the depth rating of the watch. People often say; "wow, a depth rating of 750 Meters or 2,000 Feet. That's deep. How can divers go down that far?" A quick display of the SUB's bezel shows people that a normally aspired diver only has around 6 minuts at 150 feet so for him a dive watch that can go to 1,000 or even 3,000 feet is somewhat nonsensical.
A lot has been written about the Omega "Bond" bracelet and the Doxa "ricebead" bracelet. Both are very comfortable and I've never once had a hair pulled by either. The Seamaster bracelet uses 1/2 links because of the button clasp design which doesn't have the same fine adjustment as the Doxa. The Omega bracelet also uses a pin and sleeve design similar to older SUB bracelet on the 600T but 2 sleeves rather than one. The design is very secure but very fiddly to adjust. Because of this Doxa now use screws on all their bracelets. Omega also stopped using the Bond bracelet on the black dial Seamasters in favour of the Speedmaster style bracelet. I'm guessing it was just to give a consistant image over the range as I can see no technical nor aesthetic reason for discontinuing it.
Whereas the wording on the Doxa caseback is verbose, the Omega is somewhat mute. Only the work Seamaster can be found. Both emblems are ages old (the Doxa fish belonging to the Jenny family) and are instantly recognisable in the dive watch world. Behind those casebacks beat the hearts of the watches. The movements for both the 750T and the Seamaster start out as tried and tested ETA movements but that is where the similarities end. Doxa make minor modifications to the ETA 2824-2 ebouche but Omega give the ETA 2892-A2 an extensive make over. The jewel count increases by 2 and the movement is certified as a Chronometer which guarantees that it is accurate to -4 or + 5 seconds per day. Many of the "normal" 750T (Doxa did release a Chronometer version in limited quantities) have been reported to run at anywhere between + or - 5 seconds per day straight out of the box and this was what mine was giving when I first got it (+ 5 seconds a day). As part of this review I tested both watches against the Greenwich Mean Time signal. Over a 24 hour period with the watches lying face up on the table the 750T ran at +10 seconds and the Seamaster at -10 seconds. Certainly both watches could be adjusted to give better accuracy but the reality is that both watches are out by just about a minute a week. That's good enough for me. Since the Swatch group owns both ETA and Omega it could be argued that the Omega Seamaster uses an in-house movement.
I had heard from other Seamaster owners how they loved the waves on the dial. Photos just don't do it justice. It really is a classic design. If you look closely at the dial the lettering seems to float on the waves. It really is pretty cool. There is nothing to say about the 750T dial which I haven't already said in the review found here. It is the biggest orange dial Doxa to date. The markers owe their pedigree to the original SUB 300 dial from 40 years ago except the amount of luminous material has increased considerably. Both dials were very easy to read both in light and dark due to the large hauds and large amount of luminous material.
Talking about luminous material leads to the photo shown above. As you can see both watches glow fiercely and both hold their "charge" through the night. Both Omega and Doxa use Superluminova. There are several different colours but both dials seem to use the same shade.
Although both watches are approximatey the same size the decreased thickness of the Omega and the use of a bezel insert rather than the solid bezel used on the Doxa means the watch head is a little lighter. I found that it enabled the Seamaster to sit very comfortably on the wrist. When I first got the 750T it seems much heavier than the 600T I was used to but that feeling soon passed and in fact the 750T is a very easy watch to wear. In fact it has been the watch I would class as my daily wear since I got it. Occasionaly I have worn my other Doxas and Sea-Dweller but I find myself coming back to the 750T very quickly.
As I said at the beginning of the review, this is not a my watch is better than yours piece. I still prefer my orange Doxa but for reasons that have to do with the fact that I'm just an addict and there is no doubt that the orange Doxa Professional just leaps off the wrist in terms of getting noticed. However, in fairness I'll leave the last photo and word to the Seamaster.I have a new found respect for the Omega Seamaster and rather than buy it to do the review and sell it on, it has earned a place in my watch box and wrist. Just don't tell the wife because I promised I was just buying it to review it, but it is just too good a watch to let go.