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Doxa SUB200T Sharkhunter

A Dive Icon Now Perfectly Sized

Many years ago I stepped into the fascinating world of horology by way of the iconic dive watches that were made by Rolex, Blancpain, Doxa and Squale. Being a certified recreational diver myself (sorry for the gentle flex,) I dreamed of owning one of these iconic timepieces because they were created from a clear purpose-driven perspective. Indeed, they were created because professional divers—whether they were commercial divers or navy divers—needed reliable timekeeping devices and that is why the Submariner, Fifty Fathoms, SUB300T and SUB39 were born. Each of these first models from the aforementioned brands came with their own unique design and mechanical traits. But none seemed to be as peculiar and well thought out as the first Doxa SUB300. 


I’ve had this model in my eyesight for the better part of the past decade but I was always intimated by the large diameter of 42.5mm of the original iteration. (I guess I needed to go to horological therapy much earlier than I originally thought.) Then a few years ago a new version with a COSC-certified caliber came out, the particularity of which was that the dial opening was much smaller than its older siblings, that is in relation to the case diameter. I thought this was almost the one for me but it wasn’t so. So imagine my delight—and surprise—when Doxa announced a 39mm version of their iconic diver design which, actually, looks smaller than that—a design feature I particularly adore. 


Anyway, let’s dive in (pun absolutely intended here.) 



Specifications 


Never judge a book by its cover, or as the saying goes in our niche world, don’t be hasty judging a watch by its dimensions. As much as it is possible for one to do, one needs to get hands-on with as many timekeeping devices as possible to get an accurate feel for them. And although, after years of therapy and self-reflection, I know that dimensions don’t tell the whole story about a watch, I can indeed wear larger watches than I normally think I could. The thing with the Doxa SUB200T is that the dimensions are ideal for me for this type of watch: 39mm in diameter with a dial opening of 25mm (ish), 41.50mm lug-to-lug, 10.70mm thick, and an effective lug width of 18mm. (I say effective because the bracelet and straps flare out past the lugs.) 



Inside this beautifully proportioned case we find a Swiss Made Sellita SW200-1 caliber that beats at 28,800 BPH/4Hz and comes with 38 hours of power reserve. (The entirety of the watch is made in Switzerland.) A solid and reliable movement which perfectly suits the solid and reliable nature of the Doxa SUB200T. Thanks to a screw-down crown and case-back, the SUB200T boasts 200 meters of water resistance (the clue was in its name), is equipped with a flat piece of sapphire crystal complete with anti-reflective coating, and the ubiquitous dual-register, 120-clicks unidirectional bezel. On the inside of the bezel we find a fully graduated count-up scale whilst on the outside we find a decompression scale measured in feet. (The latter isn’t necessary nowadays but remains an iconic trait of Doxa’s divers.) 



Two other very “Doxa” elements are the bezel profile and grip as well as the manta-ray-like case profile. The former is rather thin and comes with notches that aren’t deep but darn well effective, truly giving out the impression that turning the bezel would be an easy thing to do whilst wearing gloves, being blind-folded, and buoying upside down. The case is just superb as it is thin and perfectly hugs the wrist, as if indeed it was suctioned to my skinny ensemble of skin and bone. These design and physical aspects of the bezel aid in making the Doxa SUB200T wear magnificently comfortable on my 6.50”/16.5cm wrist. And the beads-of-rice bracelet is equally comfortable and well-engineered with a proper ratcheting diver’s extensions, screwed links, and female end-links. 



Design 


Whilst the new Doxa SUB200T reduced comes in eight color variants (most coming with an “Iconic” or “Sunray'' finish,) I opted to review the black version known as the Sharkhunter. As you probably know, I’m a sucker for black dials as I find them to be the easiest to read and to be the ones with the highest potential for flying-under-the-radar. And I further opted for the “Iconic” dial variant which comes with a lacquered finish. Note that the “Sunray” version is, as you might have guessed, endowed with a sunburst effect. While it’s nice for Doxa to offer more options to fit the horological preferences of a wider swath of the community, I’m a hardcore design conversative when it comes to watches. So of course I wanted to review what I would define as being a classic variant of the SUB200T. 


Though many would argue that it is the orange dial version that is the most classic of all. Hey, that’s alright, we can’t be compatible on all horological matters. 



If you've ever heard of Doxa divers, you are most likely familiar with the “plongeur style” hands where we find a large and orange minute hand casting a shadow on an atrophied hour hand. The hands were designed this way because it is more useful for divers to be able to track elapsed minutes than knowing what hour it is. Which is why the minute hand is so massive so that it can easily be aligned to either scales found on the bezel. Furthermore, the scales on the bezel were designed in this way so one can easily calculate the maximum bottom time (how long one says at a maximum depth) looking at the markings in orange, based on how deep one goes. For example, at 100 feet of depth (about 30 meters) the maximum bottom time is 25 minutes. 


At the 25-minute mark, you should skedaddle back to the surface. 



Looking closer at the dial gives us more clues as to the idea that the Doxa SUB200T—and all of its predecessors—where created with a function-first approach. Everything from the fully-graduated minute track where we find particularly tall hash-marks and the hour markers design which both allow for large lume application and easy legibility in daytime (thanks to the thick white lines surrounding the lume,) to the framed date window at the three o’clock (believe me, as a diver it is nice to know what date it is) and the oversized, rectangular lume element on the seconds hand. The latter was done so, I suppose, to make it easier to check that the movement is running while exploring the dark depths of the ocean. (Or perhaps not.) 



Lastly, we should indeed talk about the case profile, the type of which is known as “cushion case” as it comes with distinctive large flanks that circle around the dial/bezel assembly and form natural crown-guards around the crown. This type of case, when well executed like it is here, is both visually pleasing to look at and ultra functional as it aids in making the watch sit perfectly flat on the wrist. I love the fully-polished case flanks and lower section of the bezel, and how we find polished center links on the beads-of-rice bracelet. The rest of the case and bracelet are fully brushed, and so this alternation of finishes endows the SUB200T with a versatile utilitarian/elegant aspect. Quite unique if I may say. 



The Heart of the Matter


At the heart of the matter is the fact that Doxa safeguarded the unique design and operational elements that made the original SUB300 a function-first diver. Creating a watch from this perspective meant that form indeed had to follow function which can be witnessed here in so many ways. From the bezel design and the cushion-case to the large and bright minute hand and the clasp fitted with a practical, yet simple, diver’s extension. (In my experience this type of diver’s extension, a design as old as the first divers, is more functional and easier to use than modern iterations many watch enthusiasts and journalists rave about.) Actually, I became quite obsessed with ratcheting diver’s extensions because in a way they remain very basic but oh so well effective. Why do we always feel the need to reinvent the wheel? 



In the introduction I indicated that of all iconic divers created in the 1950s/60s, I would have gone for a Doxa, and I made this statement for two main reasons. First, because I love the purpose-driven nature of the SUB200T and of its older siblings, as it makes this model remain an actual tool watch—which brings me to my second point, which is, that whilst Rolex and Blancpain embraced the “luxuryfication” of their tool watches, Doxa (and Squale for that matter) did not. Yes, the SUB200T is superbly made, however it remains attainable for many humans—$1,550 USD on the rubber strap and $1,590 on the beads-of-rice bracelet. You know what, that’s how much a Submariner used to retail for in the 1960s adjusted for today’s inflation. 


That’s cool folks. 



Conclusion 


I wouldn’t be able to tell you how many models of dive watches exist today. Probably in the thousands if not more. I read one day that dive watches are the most popular type of watches sought after and manufactured throughout the world, and in particular in the micro and independent watch market. Granted, Doxa is not the type of brand I normally write about as it is no longer fully independent (it was acquired by the Jenny Family in 1997, the latter which created the private label the Walca Group in 1976.) However, the SUB200T, as well as all of its older siblings, are made to the same quality and priced as fairly as divers which can be bought from younger and truly independent watch brands. Furthermore, I wanted to get my hands on this model because it has remained, for all intents and purposes, a function-first tool watch. 


No bling, no precious metals, no COSC and METAS-certified calibers, and no otherworldly materials for the dial. Just a solid, legible, and purposeful diver just like I love them. I encourage you to check out Doxa’s website to learn more about its catalog and the new SUB200T. 


Thanks for reading.

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