DOXA SUB 1200T Professional Review

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DOXA has been synonymous with dive watches since the debut of the SUB 300T, Doxa’s inaugural diver, at Basel in 1966. It was an instant classic, and eventually made famous by the oceanic explorer Jacques Cousteau. Since its rebirth in the early 2000s, DOXA has kept their line of dive watches true to the brand’s heritage with the classic tonneau case, orange dial, iconic hands, and unique no-decompression bezel. Of course, DOXA has made changes and incremental improvements over the years, but it has generally kept the style and feel of its watches the same.

Doxa-1200T-14That’s certainly true with the SUB 1200T, which combines classic styling and modern specs to create one of the most faithful modern interpretations of the vintage 300T (there’s also the soon-to-be-released SUB 300T heritage, a limited edition piece). With the 1200T, DOXA has kept intact the vintage size and look, but with some upgrades that include a screw down crown, sapphire crystal, greater depth rating, and a robust beads-of-rice bracelet. So, basically what we have here is a vintage watch built to modern specs, and that’s something I can certainly stand behind. Let’s take a closer look.

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$1890

DOXA SUB 1200T Professional Review

Case
316L stainless steel
Movement
ETA 2824-2
Dial
Orange
Lume
Super-LumiNova
Lens
Domed sapphire
Strap
Beads-of-rice bracelet
Water Resistance
1,200 meters
Dimensions
42.7mm x 44.6mm
Thickness
14.4mm
Lug Width
20mm
Crown
6.5mm x 4mm, screw down
Warranty
2 Years
Price
$1890

Case

You can tell the case is a DOXA from a mile away with its classic tonneau shape and large sawtooth bezel. Made of 316L stainless steel, the case measures a solid 42.7mm wide (44.5mm with the crown) by 44.6mm long. It has a height of about 14.4mm, with the 3mm domed sapphire and tall bezel contributing to that number. To me, it’s the perfect size for a modern diver—large enough so you can feel the heft, but still totally wearable. In terms of finishing, the case features nice satin brushing up top and polished curved sides.

Doxa-1200T-32The large unidirectional 120-click bezel is a joy to operate, with precise action and deep sawtooth grooves for an easy grip. The grooves are especially well done and give the case a high-quality feel. The bezel also features DOXA’s signature dual ring with juxtaposed finishing, something I really like as it immediately draws the eye. The inner ring is brushed and shows elapsed time in black, and the outer ring is polished and has the no-decompression scale in vibrant orange. For the desk divers among us, DOXA’s website provides instructions on how to use this unique feature.

When I first saw the bezel markings, they seemed a little busy to me, especially given how the no-decompression table isn’t particularly useful today and more of a throwback to another era. That, however, changed quickly as I grew to appreciate the unique look it offered. Plus, the 1200T is basically designed to be a modern throwback to the 300T, which was first and foremost a tool watch. To stray from that initial utility would have done the watch a disservice.

Doxa-1200T-24The caseback has a great looking deeply engraved Jenny fish logo, Jenny being DOXA’s parent company. The large crown is a screw down type, as it should be, and is nestled in the case for protection. Often recessed crowns can be difficult to operate, but this one is easy to grip and turn, making winding and setting a snap. The knurling pattern mimics that of the bezel, which is a really nice touch. The crown is also signed with the Jenny fish logo.

On the opposite side at 9 is the automatic helium release valve. The SUB 1200T is rated for a whopping 1,200 meters (3,937 feet) of water resistance—a spec that makes the size of the watch all the more impressive.

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Dial

As large as the case is, the dial diameter is relatively small at 27mm. While it’s not tiny, it is a bit peculiar by today’s standards, especially on a dive watch. However, the smaller dial stays true to the original SUB proportions, and gives the watch an overall feel of being “just right” on the wrist.

The 1200T Professional (shown here) comes in the traditional DOXA orange. There are, however, three other variations of the 1200T available: the Sharkhunter with a black dial, the Searambler in silver, and the Caribbean in dark blue. While these are really nice looking on their own, I do prefer the classic vibrant orange of the Professional. The dial looks almost exactly like the one found on vintage DOXAs, with rectangular lumed (Super-LumiNova) hour markers flanked by black rectangles on each side. The 12, 6 and 9 o’clock markers are larger than the others, and a simple bordered date window is positioned at 3.

Doxa-1200T-22

The dial is split into quadrants with a broken crosshair. In the upper left quadrant, the dial is signed “DOXA Automatic,” and in the lower right it says “SUB 1200T Professional.” I really like this text placement. It is in keeping with its vintage inspiration and it is not particularly common among contemporary watches, and that makes it unique in my eyes.

The black painted hands are DOXA’s classic set, with the oversized minute hand, diminutive hour hand, and a second hand with a large square “lollipop” tip. I must admit that the hands are definitely an acquired taste, and the smaller hour hand takes some getting used to. I grew to like the handset and I certainly appreciate the aesthetic for its obvious utilitarian purpose; the minute hand is the star of the show on a dive watch, since it’s what a diver will use to time a dive. It makes complete sense to emphasize the minute hand, and this is how Doxa chose to do so.

Doxa-1200T-26

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Movement

The movement is a tried-and-true ETA 2824-2 or a SW200, ETA’s Sellita clone. The ETA 2824/SW200 is a high-grade automatic 25-jewel Swiss-made workhorse, decorated here by DOXA. It is self-winding with a hand wind function, it hacks, and it features a quick-set date. It ticks along at 28,000 beats per hour and has a power reserve of 42 hours.

Bracelet and Wearability

The SUB 1200T Professional comes equipped with one of the better bracelets I’ve come across on a modern diver. Again, keeping true to the original, it’s a classic beads-of-rice (BoR) design with a solid flip-lock clasp signed with the Jenny logo. This bracelet is an upgrade over their previous fused-link beads design, and you can really tell that it’s well made and built for the long haul.

Doxa-1200T-30

At 20mm the bracelet feels ideally paired with the case. The 20mm extends all the way through the bracelet. While I generally preferred tapered bracelets, the lack of a taper works and helps balance the watch head. It is also one of the most comfortable bracelets I’ve ever worn.

The links are removable with a screwed pin, which is so much nicer than some brands’ pin and cotter construction. It took me all of five minutes to adjust the bracelet with the provided DOXA screwdriver.

Doxa-1200T-27Overall, the watch wears extremely well. I almost want to tell you to ignore the dimensions, as the watch should work on a number of different wrists (shown above on a 6.75-inch wrist). It sits comfortably atop the wrist, has great presence, and the size and proportions are near perfect. It also has some nice heft without being a knuckle dragger. And as I already mentioned, the BoR bracelet is phenomenal.

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Conclusion

When I received the 1200T for review, the first thing that went through my head when I strapped it on was, “I need one of these!” I’ve seen many pictures and read lots of forum and Instagram posts about the various Sub models, but I’d never had the pleasure of trying one on. Now that I have, my initial reaction is totally reinforced. I really like this watch!

Doxa-1200T-35Some of you may know that I’m a huge fan of vintage divers, DOXA included. While vintage DOXA divers are hard to come by and can be quite pricey, the availability of the modern SUB 1200T brings this great watch to the masses. Being able to wear the SUB 1200T in any environment is another plus, since you likely wouldn’t go diving with a 1960s original!

DOXA has done a great job of sticking to their roots, and the SUB 1200T is a well-executed tribute to their original diver. Strap this watch on and it’s easy to feel the spirit of Jacques Cousteau and his diving exploits, safe and sound from your desk or actually using it as it was intended! Though the MSRP is listed at $2,490, the pricing on DOXA’s website starts at $1890. You really feel the value of that price in the fit and finish of the watch.

Images from this post:
Christoph (Instagram’s @vintagediver) is a long time collector and lover of all things vintage, starting with comic books when he was a kid (he still collects them). His passion for watches began in 1997 when he was gifted a family heirloom vintage Omega Genève by his step-father. That started him on the watch collecting path—buying and selling vintage watches of all sorts, with a special appreciation for vintage dive watches and Seiko.
vintagediver
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  • That’s the stuff for sure – enjoyed the read ‘Stoph!

  • Li Wang

    Thanks for the thoughtful review, Stoph. Coming from your love of vintage divers, this is a strong endorsement. I have been meaning to add one of these to my collection, probably the Searambler.

  • Graham’s Ghost

    This is one of the top watches on my wish list. Thank you for the review!

  • Bruce

    There won’t ever be another orange like Doxa orange. Love it.

  • Alex Medeiros

    I love Doxa and the original orange. I’m on my 3rd one now. I tried the 1200t and loved it but did feel the dial was too small for me personally. I got the 1500t and the dial size was perfect and the 44.4mm case was fine on my 7.5″ wrist, but man it was heavy. Now I have the 800Ti and I love it. All the presence of the 1500t but none of the weight thanks to the titanium. All of them had great quality.