[Hands-On] The Doxa Army Returns

Some 50 years after the launch of the original, Doxa, along with retailer Watches of Switzerland, is bringing back one of their most distinctive designs in a re-issue of the aptly named Army. Originally built for members of the Swiss Army’s Combat Diver crew, the Army represents a more clandestine take on the usually colorful Sub 300, with a matte black case, sand colored dial, and black rubber strap. The re-issue looks to capture the personality of the original, meaning you can experience this bit of history in full effect without the years of combat diver training required of the original Swiss Army unit who were first issued this watch in 1969.

You’ll recall that we recently got our hands on a rare example of the original Doxa Army to compare to an homage of the watch, the Synchron Military. Zach Weiss reviewed the Synchron through the lens of the original in this Owner’s Review. While Synchron managed to capture the finer details of the watch to a satisfying degree, that “Doxa” label on the dial represents a robust history that roots the new model to its heritage. The fully ceramic case and COSC certified movement, bring this one fully into the modern realm, however.


The Doxa Army is instantly recognizable thanks to the sandy brown dial with black and orange accents, as well as the unusual manner in which it utilizes positive and negative spaces at the intersection of the inner dial and chapter ring. The lumed hour markers reside within a thick black ring at the edge of the dial, while the black surface area they’ve taken up gets shifted over to the central area of the dial. This dynamic creates a lot of contrast for the short, block of an hour hand, complete with bright orange coating, to track against. A long orange minute hand pushes right up against the minute hashes of the dial. 

An original Doxa Army

The ceramic bezel insert is fully indexed in the same manner the original was, meaning a trio of hashes appear within each five minute segment. The original used an acrylic insert, and the Synchron used a sapphire inlay to get a similar effect. The ceramic will sacrifice a bit of that depth in appearance, but is obviously much more in line with modern watchmaking trends (though I’ll point out that Christopher Ward is also using a sapphire bezel insert in their new Aquataine collection, so maybe that’s a material worth keeping an eye on).

Doxa is using a COSC certified Sellita SW200 inside the Army, where the Synchron employed an elabore grade ETA 2824-2, however the thickness is a big differentiator here, with the Doxa clocking in at 11.9mm compared to the 14.7mm of the Military. Most of the thickness looks to be taken from the midcase, and it’s noticeable in hand and on wrist. The case is black ceramic with a titanium caseback, and measures 42.5mm in diameter and 44.5mm from lug to lug. Overall it wears incredibly well, and though it’s thinner I wouldn’t venture to call this one under-the-radar by any stretch.

Given the purpose of the watch, you might find that rather ironic, however the reality of the situation is even stranger. As it turns out, the actual Doxa watches that were issued to Swiss Combat Divers were Sub 300T models with orange dials, the very same as were available to the general public. The Army edition honored here was worn by other service members, however the divers preferred the orange dials and those watches (complete with signed casebacks) saw the most action. 

Given the limited production of the Doxa Army I suspect they will be difficult to come by, though now nearly as difficult as the original. At the time of writing, there still appears to be inventory via Watches of Switzerland. The Army is priced at $4,500, and ships with a colorful camo case and fabric strap, along with the black rubber unit fitted to the watch. Learn more about the new Army from Doxa, and more about the original from Analog/Shift.

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Blake is a Wisconsin native who’s spent his professional life covering the people, products, and brands that make the watch world a little more interesting. Blake enjoys the practical elements that watches bring to everyday life, from modern Seiko to vintage Rolex. He is an avid writer and photographer with a penchant for cars, non-fiction literature, and home-built mechanical keyboards.