Doxa Sub 200: The Understated Watch for Dive Enthusiasts
Doxa Watches is a venerable Swiss brand that has been associated with dive watches ever since its inception. One particularly slick recreational diving model from the brand is the Doxa Sub 200. Presented to the general public in 2019, the Doxa Sub 200 sells at a very budget-friendly price without compromising on quality or durability. With robust functionality and a great ‘less-is-more’ approach to its design, the Doxa Sub 200 is one of the best entry-level dive watches for those just starting their collections. Without further ado, let us dive in and discover everything the Doxa Sub 200 has to offer.
A Brief Background on the Doxa Sub 200
Upon its release, the Doxa Sub 200 stirred some controversy, as some watch fans argued that its style and look are incredibly derivative of Omega watches. Specifically, some have pointed out the Doxa Sub 200’s resemblance to certain models of the Omega Seamaster and Speedmaster.
What many have failed to note, however, is that the Doxa Sub 200 is actually a modern iteration of the brand’s own lesser-known vintage dive watch, the Doxa Sub. Released in 1967, the Doxa Sub is thought of by many as one of the first timepieces to be designed as a dedicated dive watch. For the brand’s 130th anniversary, Doxa chose to update the Sub, launching it in the form of the Doxa Sub 200. As such, not only is the Doxa Sub 200 a sleek time-telling tool made to support the needs of dive enthusiasts, but it is a watch with a rich horological history to boot.
Anatomy of the Doxa Sub 200
Case, Bezel, and Caseback
The Doxa Sub comes in a sturdy 42mm case crafted from stainless steel. This is a fairly sizeable watch, best suited for average-to-large-sized wrists. On the sides of the watch, you can find the Doxa Sub 200’s unique ‘twisted’ lugs. Sharply constructed so that they turn inwards, this has the effect of making the watch’s lugs quite short, measuring just 45mm lug-to-lug. As a result, the Doxa Sub 200 looks a little less hefty than it is.
Fitted on top of the Doxa Sub 200 is a well-polished stainless-steel bezel with an extraordinary black sapphire insert. This is a rare material for bezels, with exceptional scratch-resistant properties that easily rival the likes of aluminium and ceramic. On the black sapphire insert, you can find muted yellow indicators for the elapsed time scale, which wearers can use to keep track of the amount of time spent underwater. This bezel also comes with slight, gear-like edges, so that wearers can grip the bezel more easily.
Keeping with the vintage theme, Doxa also gets rid of the crown guards, choosing to use a simple screw-down crown that is slightly sunken into the case. Engraved on the crown is Doxa’s signature fish logo in vibrant orange. This is a tribute to the original Doxa Sub, which was famous for being the first dive watch to come with a bright orange dial. On the underside of the watch is a solid steel caseback that is securely screwed-down, protecting the inner mechanisms of the watch. Like the crown, this caseback bears a gleaming, polished finish and a carving of the brand’s quirky fish logo.
One interesting thing about the Doxa Sub 200 is that the brand has come up with interesting, funny names for each of its dial colours. There are six distinct variants available: the Sharkhunter (black), Caribbean (deep blue), Professional (orange), Aquamarine (aqua blue), Searamble (silver), and Divingstar (yellow). Of the bunch, the most popular is the black dial Sharkhunter, which stands out with its quintessential dive watch look.
The dial of the Doxa Sub 200 is also fairly straightforward yet highly legible. It comprises thick, rectangular hour indices of varying lengths, bold sword-shaped hands, white hash marks for the minute track, and a trapezoidal date window at 3 o’clock, outlined in white. The hour markers and hands are also generously coated in cream-coloured lume for better visibility in the dark. One thing to note, however, is that the lume quality of the Doxa Sub 200 is quite poor, and does not last particularly long. The lume on the applied hour indices is considerably dimmer than the lume on the handset, which can make the dial difficult to read under certain lighting conditions.
Driving the Doxa Sub 200 is a very reliable and robust ETA 2824-2 calibre. As an automatic winding calibre, this is one of the most popularly-used movements in the watch industry, with a solid power reserve of 38 hours. This movement is held together by 25 jewels and beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour, sending the seconds hand sweeping across the dial in a very smooth movement. It also comes with hand-winding and hacking seconds functions, so you can accurately set the time when winding the watch manually.
Given that the Doxa Sub 200 comes in six different dial colours, the strap is also offered in a number of variations to perfectly complement the different shades and styles of the watch. The first option is a stainless steel bracelet, which comes with a convenient folding clasp engraved with the Doxa fish logo, so you can quickly and easily remove the watch. This bracelet also comes with a wetsuit extension, so it will fit comfortably on your wrist even when you are wearing a diver suit.
If you are not a fan of steel bracelets, you can also opt for a rubber strap, which is available in black, orange, deep blue, silver, yellow, or aqua blue. The rubber strap is equipped with a secure pin buckle, also marked with the Doxa fish logo, so there is no risk of the watch falling off your wrist.
As one of the best entry-level Swiss diver watches, it is only to be expected that the Doxa Sub 200 has a solid water resistance capacity. With its screwed-down crown and bezel, this watch has a depth rating of 200 metres. This is more than enough for the Doxa Sub 200 to accompany you to the beach, the pool, or even on your underwater diving adventures.
This watch retails at a price of $990 USD. Considering its versatile look, rich history, and high-quality materials, this is quite a good bargain indeed.
Alternatives to the Doxa Sub 200
The Doxa Sub 200 is undoubtedly a well-made diver watch with incredible features and classic styling. That said, not everyone might have easy access to this particular model. Alternatively, you might also be dissatisfied with the Doxa Sub 200’s water resistance capacity. That is why we have curated some of the best alternative dive watches to the Doxa Sub 200, which you can check out below.
1. Seiko Prospex Samurai Ref. SRPF03K1
If you are searching for a more budget-friendly diver watch packed with superior features, the Seiko Prospex Samurai Ref. SRPF03K1 is the best option in the market. This robust timepiece is presented in a 43.8mm stainless steel case and three-link bracelet paired with a handsome black dial. It is equipped with a two-tone unidirectional bezel in grey and black, which complements the rest of the watch face’s dark aesthetic well.
The textured black dial shows off a pattern with small raised squares, and is decorated with thick white hour indices and pronounced arrow-headed hands, both generously coated with LumiBrite for optimal legibility. The watch also comes with a date complication at 3 o’clock and a layer of scratch-resistant Hardlex crystal that adds more protection to the dial.
Driven by Seiko’s in-house Calibre 4R35 movement, this Seiko Prospex watch beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour. Held together by 23 jewels, it has a substantial 41-hour power supply. Like the Doxa Sub 200, this watch also has a depth rating of 200 metres.
You can purchase this affordable dive watch for just $449 USD.
2. Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba Ref. H82211981
The Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba Ref. H82211981 has a distinctive design that toes the line between elegance and sportiness. It comes in a slender 37mm stainless steel case, which makes it smaller than the Doxa Sub 200. This is paired with an outdoorsy light blue textile strap, and a sleek, elegant two-toned bezel that comes in grey and light blue hues.
The watch’s face comprises a gorgeous sunray black dial, which is furnished with circular and triangular hour indices, small Arabic numeral markers, and sizeable dauphine hands. The hands and hour markers are all coated in white Super-LumiNova, allowing them to stand out more strongly against the black backdrop.
Powering this watch is an impressive F06.105 which has a battery life of 68 to 94 months. This Hamilton Khaki Navy diver watch also has a 100-metre water resistance enough to accompany you on most water activities.
This Hamilton watch is available at approximately $519 USD.
3. Rado Captain Cook Ref. R32105103
Last but definitely not least, we have the Rado Captain Cook Ref. R32105103. Like the Doxa Sub 200, this diver watch is also a modern reinterpretation of a 1960s watch model. Inspired by the brand’s 1962 Captain Cook watch, this timepiece combines vintage details and styling with modern, up-to-date functions. It is also a limited edition piece, with only 999 pieces available.
This Rado Captain Cook watch is housed in a 42mm stainless steel and ceramic case, giving it a more lightweight build than standard all-stainless-steel timepieces. This is coupled with a stainless steel bracelet and a grey unidirectional bezel, which is a handy feature in dive watches. The dial is a matching shade of dark grey and contains white luminous hour markers, thick arrow-headed hands, and a date display with bright red text at 3 o’clock. On top of the dial is a sapphire crystal, which protects it from any scratches or impacts.
This Rado watch runs on an automatic movement with an incredible 80-hour power reserve. It also possesses an impressive 300-metre depth rating, which outperforms all the other watches in this article. If you are seeking a reliable alternative to the Doxa Sub 200 with an equally rich heritage, then this timepiece should definitely be on your radar.
Considering its top-notch capabilities and state-of-the-art materials, it is no surprise why this watch is the most expensive one on the list. The Rado Captain Cook Ref. R32105103 retails at $1,949 USD.
Ultimately, the Doxa Sub 200 is an all-out dive watch packed with incredible features. It is a tribute to the brand’s long history with dive watches, with its robust functionality and classic styling. If you are searching for a sleek and sturdy vintage-inspired dive watch, then the Doxa Sub 200 is certainly a worthy investment.
Photos are credited to Doxa’s official website unless otherwise stated.
Feature image courtesy of Doxa’s official website.
If you are still searching for another top-tier diver watch in the market, read our review about the Certina DS PH200M.