Doxa Sub 1200T Searambler Review
If you’re active in the watch community, even in a small capacity, you’ve probably noticed the trend toward “Modern Vintage” watches. Modern day companies revisiting their roots in watch making, and borrowing from past designs to create a vintage inspired piece, utilizing modern technology. When discussing watches of this style, Doxa is bound to come up.
Doxa is a small brand best known for their Sub series of divers, which made their way onto prominent divers in the 60’s such as Jacques Cousteau, and Claude Wesly. Unfortunately, shortly after the release of the Sub 300T, Doxa was hit hard by the quartz boom, and closed its doors in the early 1980’s. The brand was purchased by the Jenny Family, which revived the Doxa line of iconic divers in 2002.
The watch I’ll be discussing today, is the Sub 1200T, which is closely designed after the original Sub 300T, with more modern dimensions.
One of the things that originally drew me to the Sub 1200T, was the iconic Doxa cushion shaped case. This is one of those cases that you couldn’t mistake for anything else. You could see a Doxa from across the room, and be able to immediately recognize its unique case styling.
Specification wise, the 1200T comes in right around 42mm in diameter, with a lug to lug of approximately 44.6mm. Thanks to this short lug to lug length, the watch actually wears quite well, even on my smaller 6.5” wrists. In fact, the 1200T has proven to be one of the most comfortable wearing/fitting dive watches I’ve had the chance to try. With a large part of its size being the case itself, with a smaller face diameter, the 1200T wears smaller than its dimensions would suggest.
The 1200T is powered by the tried and true ETA 2824. There’s really not much to be said about this movement that hasn’t already been said. Some might argue that they’d like to see Doxa develop an in-house movement for their divers, but I think the ETA 2824 services this watch just fine. During my ownership of this watch over the past few months, I’ve experienced no timekeeping issues, and it’s nice to know that servicing this watch could be accomplished by a local watchmaker in the future.
Dial, Crystal & Bezel
Now we’re getting into the really fun parts of the Sub 1200T. This model is available from Doxa in 4 different dial colors: Sharkhunter (black), Searambler (silver), Professional (orange), and Caribbean (blue). I opted for the silver Searambler dial, and it’s a stunner. The silver sunburst dial catches light nicely, and really makes the watch a pleasure to wear. The dial is segmented by somewhat of a crosshair, that breaks the dial up into 4 quadrants. In the top left, you’ll find Doxa’s branding, and in the bottom right you’ll find “Sub 1200T” and in my case, “Searambler.”
There hour markers are not applied, but are all generously lumed, with the 12, 3, 6, and 9 markers being slightly wider than the rest. At the 3 position, you’ll find a date window, which is white regardless of the dial color you choose, surrounded by a black border.
But the thing I absolutely love about the Searambler, is the hands. The undersized hour hand, and the monstrous orange minute hand just scream utilitarian design, and adds to the Doxa’s funky, unique design language. All together, the dial of this watch is a great vintage inspired design.
Complementing the dial, is the ever so slightly domed sapphire crystal, adding to the vintage design language on the 1200T. And surrounding the dial, is Doxa’s unique decompression bezel. This bezel design is one of the things that made the Doxa Sub line a favorite among divers in the 60’s. In short, this bezel allows for you to time your dive, as well as decompression time necessary. During a time before dive computers, the Doxa Sub line provided a much needed functionality for early divers.
The Sub 1200T comes on a Beads of Rice style bracelet, reminiscent of the bracelet that came on the vintage Doxa’s. The style of this bracelet certainly adds to the vintage appeal of the watch, and I found it to be very comfortable on wrist. It drapes very well, and was a breeze to adjust thanks to its screw-in lugs and the included tool. However, the clasp on this bracelet did leave something to be desired. The clasp is somewhat sloppily stamped with the Doxa logo, as well as the Jenny logo. While the bracelet has a solid, well made feel to it, the stamped steel cheapens the aesthetic.
Even though the bracelet is comfortable, I’ve taken to wearing the 1200T on either a Nato strap, or a Marine Nationale Strap, the latter of which is definitely my favorite.
The Doxa Sub 1200T is without a doubt an interesting watch. While its funky, vintage design isn’t going to be for everyone, I’ve greatly enjoyed owning and wearing it. It wears extremely comfortably, rocks a unique design aesthetic that you won’t find anywhere else, and runs on a reliable movement. What else could you ask for in a modern vintage piece?
While every aspect of the watch, such as the bracelet, aren’t perfect, they haven’t hurt my impressions of the watch too strongly. I’d highly recommend this piece to any dive watch fan, or really, any watch fan in general. The Doxa represents a watch that was truly designed out of utility, by a group of people who used it for its intended purpose. And not only that, it looks damn cool; and that’s enough for me.