n 1967, Doxa launches the revolutionary SUB concept with the SUB 300, considered to be the first truly purpose-designed diver’s watch that is also accessible to the general public. The radical innovations it introduces quickly make it the benchmark for professionals, too. Rated to 30 ATM, i.e. water resistance to a depth of 300 meters, it marked a first with a patented rotating bezel that allowed the diver to calculate and monitor no-decompression dive times based on the official US Navy dive tables. The watch soon also becomes easily recognizable because of another first: instead of the conventional black or white dials of the time, the SUB’s dial is bright orange. The legend begins.
Since then, Doxa has continuously perfected its diver’s watches, and in particular the most emblematic of all, the SUB 300, which remains one of the rare diver’s watches to have made its mark in Swiss watchmaking history. The legend lives on.
More than 50 years after its launch, true to its unique tradition of innovation, the legendary SUB 300 is now reinterpreted in carbon. The SUB 300 Aqua Lung US Divers pays tribute to a rich past while reconnecting with Aqua Lung: the brand that embraced the SUB concept in the early days, through an official partnership that has just been signed to coincide with this product premiere. The SUB 300 Aqua Lung US Divers – a bridge from the past to the future.
- Jan Edöcs, CEO of Doxa Watches
Jan Edöcs, CEO of Doxa Watches, comments: “Doxa has been experiencing an unprecedented revival over the past 12 months. The brand’s unique history, the quality of our watches and our ability today to innovate and project ourselves into the future while staying true to our DNA are the key ingredients of a strategy that remains faithful to the principle established in 1889 by Georges Ducommun: to design and produce watches of high technical quality that are reliable and affordable. We are very proud of our heritage, and particularly happy to experience a success today, the fruit of passionate work.
In presenting the SUB 300 Carbon Aqua Lung US Divers, I am delighted to announce today that we have formalized our partnership with Aqua Lung, with whom we share a long history and the same values: innovation, quality and customer service.
With this collaboration, we again have a perfect combination of the world of diving with that of technical and reliable watchmaking. We look forward to working together with the Aqua Lung team, with the excellent understanding that we have enjoyed since we began our talks.”
Forged carbon provides Doxa with an advanced and stylistic material to build on the heritage of the SUB 300.
So light compared to its stainless steel peers, the SUB 300 in forged carbon gains an urban camouflage vibe. Jet black alternating with shades of charcoal: The iridescent effect plays with reflections that change with the intensity of ambient light, making the watch more radical and contemporary.
Far from the conventional classic black cases, the texture and colors of forged carbon are simply unique. Matte, raw, high-tech, the material seems both very compact and irregular. This very particular non-homogeneous pattern, achieved by working with randomly oriented carbon fibers, creates a subtle balance between the deference to its roots and the indomitable drive to break new ground – just as the SUB 300 did way back then.
Thus, the SUB 300 Carbon Aqua Lung US Divers builds on its origins while cultivating an edgier, more technical but also a more urban look. Far from betraying its heritage, this spark of radical daring places it in the future by putting an advanced high-performance material high-performance at the service of functionality.
A limited series of 300 pieces, each an officially COSC Certified Chronometer.
Precision, robustness, reliability: All the self-winding mechanical movements that power the 300 units of the SUB 300 Carbon Aqua Lung US Divers edition are certified by the prestigious COSC (“Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres”), which guarantees the chronometric performance and scrupulous compliance with requirements in terms of precision, reliability, shock resistance, automatic winding and ease of maintenance.
The SUB 300 retains all of the hallmark technical features that built the legend.
With a diameter of 42.5 mm, the SUB 300 Carbon Aqua Lung US Divers features a pressure-resistant titanium chamber and a screw-down crown to protect the movement. This watch is rated to a depth of 300 meters, allowing maximum freedom of undersea exploration. Its scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, treated with an antireflective coating, echoes the domed plexiglass of early SUB generations. The COSC-certified automatic movement ensures a power reserve exceeding 40 hours.
Also a distinctive feature of this limited series of only 300 pieces: the use of carbon not only for the case but also for the dial – the discretion of black contrasts with the assertive presence of white and yellow.
All dive-related markings have a Super-LumiNova® luminescent coating to ensure optimum readability during dives under low visibility conditions. The white indices are clearly visible, as is the dual indication of dive time in minutes and depth in feet on the famous patented unidirectional rotating bezel for calculating and monitoring no-decompression dive times. The inserts of the diving scale defined by the bezel are white, with a white dot at 12 o’clock. The depth indications in feet on the outer bezel ring bezel are yellow for visual differentiation, with a yellow dot at 12 o’clock.
There is another distinguishing attribute: This is the first time Doxa employs a bright yellow minute hand. It’s the same yellow as the exclusive Aqua Lung logo placed at 7 o’clock. Next to it, the designation “SUB 300 Sharkhunter Carbon.” The watch is fitted with a black soft rubber strap for exceptional wear comfort, with a black PVD-treated folding clasp featuring the exclusive “Doxa fish” symbol.
The SUB 300 Carbon Aqua Lung US Divers follows through in a long line of thoroughly engineered and reliable products at an ultracompetitive quality/price ratio, true to the principle the brand has been committed to for its customers since 1889.
Doxa and Aqua Lung: Brought together again by a shared heritage.
Let’s rewind to the early 60s: The space race is on. However, at the same time as the world is looking towards the stars, another universe, much closer but just as mysterious beckons us to explore it: the deep blue sea.
It’s 1964 and Urs Eschle, head of product development, sees where all these fascinating documentaries, TV shows and magazine articles about underwater mysteries and adventures are leading. Diver’s watches have been around for quite a while, but for all intents and purposes they are designed for military and professional divers – and they are prohibitively expensive.
Urs Eschle, for his part, envisions a reliable watch designed as the perfect underwater tool, yet also affordable to a growing community of scuba diving enthusiasts. He sets up a team that also includes professional divers such as Claude Wesly, already a legend through his missions with Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his participation in the Precontinent I, II, and III undersea habitat research projects in 1962, similar to the Sealab project conducted a few years later by the US Navy.
Faithful to the principle “A high quality watch at a reasonable price” established almost a century ago by Georges Ducommun, founder of Doxa, they get to work.
The birth of the SUB concept.
Every aspect of what makes a watch a genuine diver’s watch is examined, re-examined, tested and tested again until the best solution is found. It starts with an orange dial, as many trials show that it offers optimum visibility in the typical diving depth range down to 30 meters.
Then comes a larger minute hand, quickly identifiable, because a diver measures time in minutes rather than hours. A case carved out of a single block of stainless steel to ensure water-resistance. A bracelet with a folding clasp that allows adjusting to a larger wrist diameter when donning a wetsuit – without having to add and remove links.
Perhaps the most striking innovation: a groundbreaking unidirectional bezel with a double indication showing dive time in relation to depth and enabling the wearer to calculate and monitor no-decompression dive times. It is based on the US Navy’s no-decompression dive table, the bible for determining the dwell time at various depths to ensure a safe return to the surface without having to put in decompression stops.
Doxa’s engineers take the US Navy’s values and incorporate two separate scales into the bezel, one in orange on the outer ring to indicate depths (in meters or feet, depending on the version) and the other in black on the inner ring for the dive time in minutes – a Doxa patent.
Aqua Lung on the dial in 1968.
Unveiled in 1967, and marketed the following year, the SUB 300 becomes the first truly purpose-designed diver’s watch that is also accessible to the general public. The radical innovations it introduces soon make it the benchmark for professionals, too.
Jacques-Yves Cousteau, co-inventor of the Aqua Lung underwater breathing system and the father of modern scuba diving, appreciates the SUB 300 to the point that he secures an exclusive distribution agreement for his American company, US Divers.
This agreement marks the opening chapter of the story between Doxa and Aqua Lung. Watches sold through US Divers all sport the Aqua Lung logo, the now iconic ‘dive tank and regulator,’ on their dials.
During the design and development of the first series of branded timepieces, a small batch of SUB 300 models is produced with an Aqua Lung logo in black and yellow. During testing, this version was finally abandoned in favor of a logo with better legibility. Only a few units from this batch, nicknamed “Black Lung,” eventually made it to market. Today, they are among the most coveted pieces for Doxa collectors around the world. Worth noting, from 1968 onwards, SUBs are ubiquitous on board the Calypso as it roams the oceans on a new adventure each week, taking millions of TV viewers on the legendary diving missions of “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau.”
About Aqua Lung
In 1943, Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Émile Gagnan break new ground invent a truly reliable, portable and scalable compressed air regulator for underwater use: the Aqua Lung. Today, Aqua Lung remains a leader in the design, development and manufacture of scuba diving and water sports equipment. Its expertise in technical, military and leisure applications is reflected in a global reach that spans more than 60 countries.
Aqua Lung focuses on innovation and customer service, and is committed to designing, manufacturing and offering quality equipment for both recreational and professional diving.
Aqua Lung offers equipment adapted to all diving styles, from weekend outings to full-fledged exploration missions, for an incomparable underwater experience – as is the case with Doxa watches.
2020 indeed heralds the prospect of a long and rewarding “Doxa x Aqua Lung” collaboration.