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The First World War saw the advent of watches being worn on the wrist instead of tucked safely in waistcoat pockets. On the wrist they were exposed to the dusty, violent, and above all wet conditions of the battlefield. Rolex was one of the first brands to tackle the problem of water-resistance with their Oyster case, which crossed the English Channel with British swimmer Mercedes Gleitze in 1927 and saw combat during the Second World War. The 1930s brought water-resistant offerings by Cartier and Omega: the Pasha de Cartier and the Omega Marine in 1932 and Omega's Marine Standard in 1939. But the introduction of the Aqua-Lung in 1942 and SCUBA in the 1950s necessitated a watch that could endure exposure to depths far deeper than ever seen before.
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 needed 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 time, the Submariner and Fifty Fathoms, and both have become the stuff of legend.
The Father of SCUBA, Jacques Cousteau, wore a Fifty Fathoms in the Academy Award-winning documentary Le Monde du silence, but there's another dive watch with which he's more closely associated. By the 1960s, DOXA had decided to develop a dive watch of its own. The Sub 300T Professional was the brainchild of DOXA's product manager Urs Eschle, who consulted with Cousteau and other divers in the development of this watch. 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. The Sub 300T Professional debuted in 1967, with a bright orange dial, a unidirectional bezel (the first to feature the U.S. Navy No Decompression chart), and a beads-of-rice bracelet that was the first to implement an expandable clasp that could fit over a diver's wetsuit. Cousteau himself became the sole distributor of the watch in the U.S. through his company U.S. Divers.
DOXA further innovated the design of dive watches by incorporating a Helium Release Valve or HRV in the DOXA Sub 300T Conquistador. Rolex and DOXA worked in conjunction to develop this technology, Rolex using it in its Sea-Dweller. But since the Sea-Dweller didn't debut until 1971, the Sub 300T Conquistador was the first of its kind 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 Sharkhunter 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. This particular version is a rare transitional model, falling between the prototype thin-case versions and the early 1970s production models which featured a thicker case design, making this example not only a rare, but incredibly enjoyable to wear.
Stainless steel case is approximately 42mm (excluding crown). Late 1960s.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition over all with minimal signs of use and wear in keeping with its age, including some slight pitting and scratches on the sides of the case. Dial is in very good condition over all, with some light signs of wear in keeping with its age, including some scratches near 5 o'clock and between 9 and 10. Dial otherwise has gained a fine even patina over time, particularly in the luminescent materials on the hour markers and hands. Unsigned crown; signed case back has some deep tool marks but is in otherwise very good condition.
Includes one 20mm light brown leather strap with tan stitching and two 20mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle.