With the advent of SCUBA (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) in the late 1950s, skin-diving as a sport became much more accessible to amateurs. Before electronic diving computers, watches were a crucial tool for divers, who required them to calculate dive and decompression times, and they needed specialized, easy-to-read watches. Rolex and Blancpain's iconic dive watches were released during this decade, the Submariner and Fifty Fathoms, and both have become the stuff of legend.
By the 1960s, DOXA was already established as a major manufacturer of timepieces, with over 100 people employed in its shop. The success of the Submariner and Fifty Fathoms drove DOXA to develop a dive watch of its own. It had to be comfortable, rugged, and above all reliable, with a dial that could easily be read in the murky depths of the ocean.
Research and Development for the Sub 300 began in 1964, under a team helmed by Urs Eschle, the brand's head of operations, who consulted professional divers including none other than the father of SCUBA himself, Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
Since wearability was crucial, Eschle designed a large case with wide rounded lugs. For the dial, the team tested many colors (orange, yellow, turquoise, and red) in the waters of Neuchatel Lake before hitting on what would be the distinctive orange dial most associated with this watch, and used an unprecedented amount of tritium on the hands and hour indices. The team implemented a unidirectional bezel with an innovative insert: the U.S. Navy No Decompression chart, with the outer depth scale in orange and the minute scale in black, to allow divers to gauge how much air was in left in their tanks. Rounding out the Sub 300's innovative design was a beads-of-rice bracelet that was the first to implement an ratcheting expandable clasp capable of fitting over a diver's wetsuit without having to remove links.
With the introduction of the Sub 300T, DOXA initiated subtle changes in the watch's design, including different dial colors, a thicker case and a flatter crystal. DOXA further blazed trails in dive watch design by incorporating a Helium Release Valve or HRV in the DOXA Sub 300T Conquistador. DOXA worked in conjunction with Rolex to develop this technology. Rolex incorporated this feature into its Sea-Dweller. But since the Sea-Dweller didn't debut until 1971, the Sub 300T Conquistador was the first watch with a HRV available to recreational--rather than professional or military--divers.
While the Sub 300T Professional with its bright orange dial is more recognizable, there was another version of the watch with a black dial. The Sub 300T Sharhunkter was released around the time as the Professional, and certainly has the same rugged appearance as its more recognizable cousin. But the Sharkhunter--or Sharkie as it's known to aficionados--was the watch that Cousteau himself wore, making it a clear choice for a collector who aspires to own a diver with an established diving heritage.
Stainless steel case is approximately 42mm (excluding crown). Circa early 1970s.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition with minimal signs of use and wear in keeping with its age. Dial is in very good condition with some signs of age, including a fine even patina, particularly to the luminescent elements of the hour markers and hands. Bezel is in good condition with some slight flaking to the printing in the decompression chart. Unsigned crown. Case back with Doxa logo has some slight signs of use and wear but is in otherwise very good condition.
Includes two 20mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle