If you’re after a bright, funky, retro-styled dive watch, it’s hard to pass by Doxa without taking a long look. Doxa’s been making watches for over 130 years, but the brand truly came into its own in the 1960s with the introduction of the Sub, a watch developed in collaboration with SCUBA diving legend Jacques-Yves Cousteau. During the ensuing decades, Doxa earned a reputation for creating some of the most instantly recognizable — and colorful — watches on the market. That trend continues with the Sub 600T, a blocky and angular diver that harkens back to an oft-overlooked era of watchmaking: the 1980s.
If the brand’s iconic orange-dialed Sub 300, made famous by Jacque Cousteau and the Calypso divers — as well as Clive Cussler’s intrepid adventurer Dirk Pitt — is a bit too out there for your tastes, and the Sub 200 skin diver a bit too conservative, the SUB 600T might be just the ticket. Modeled after watches produced during the so-called Aubry era — a period during which Doxa was owned by the Aubry Frères watch company — the Sub 600T embraces the 80s in the best possible way. We’re not talking about two-tone, Roman numerals, or calculator watches (those are still great), but rather forward-thinking design in a purpose-built watch that comes from an era of experimentation in which not every design stood the test of time, to put it mildly.
The Doxa Sub 600T is an immediate standout, both in the case and dial design. The 600m water resistant case is blocky, defined by sharp transitions, flat surfaces, and a general absence of curves. Measuring in at 40mm (47.6mm lug-to-lug), the Sub 600T is a classic example of dimensions not telling the whole story of the watch. Given the moderate case diameter and a crown tucked away at 4 o’clock, you’d be forgiven for thinking of this as a compact diver. However, due to blocky design and a case height of 14.5mm, the watch feels and weighs more than expected based on dimensions alone. That’s not to say it’s unwieldy, just that the Sub 600T is an unapologetically chunky diver. Rounding out the details on the case, you get a flat sapphire crystal, a screw-down crown, and a solid caseback both emblazoned with Doxa’s fish logo.
With the Sub 600T, Doxa retains its signature no-deco bezel — a design based on the US Navy’s no-decompression dive table that features an outer depth ring and inner minute ring. While the classic stainless-steel bezel with colored numerals is still available, Doxa has added a second option of a black ceramic bezel with numerals on the outer ring, color-matched to the dial. There’s no wrong choice here, but ceramic is a nice option for Doxa fans after a more contemporary look.
The dial on the Sub 600T is open and spacious, with the modestly sized hour markers shifted towards the outside of the dial and augmented by oversized diamond markers at 12, 6, and 9 o’clock (the 3 o’clock marker is substituted by a framed date window). The spacious feeling on the dial is due in large part to the minimal offset branding. Complemented by an oversized handset, the Sub 600T is plenty legible.
As is now standard practice for the brand, the Doxa Sub 600T is available in each of its six signature colors: Professional (orange), Sharkhunter (black), Searambler (silver), Caribbean (blue), Divingstar (yellow), or Aquamarine (turquoise), along with a new white dial model called Whitepearl. Combine those seven dial colors with both bezel options and choice of a rubber strap or bracelet, and there are 28 possible options in the Sub 600T line. One quick note: The different colorways utilize different types of lume. The orange Professional, reviewed here, is equipped with bright and long-lasting C3 Super-LumiNova, which has a greenish tint during the day. Other models, like the Aquamarine, utilize lume (likely BGW9) that comes across as pure white during the day.
Prior to the release of the Sub 600T, Doxa created a limited edition of only 200 pieces of the titanium-cased 600T Pacific. Unfortunately, those pieces sold out in a matter of days, and you’re out of luck if the vibrant orange and blue colorway of the Pacific isn’t for you. It’s a bit of a shame that Doxa didn’t stick with titanium for the general release of the 600T, as titanium would be an excellent material for the size and shape of this watch. The use of titanium would also have decreased the weight and helped further differentiate the 600T from the rest of Doxa’s lineup.
Powering the Sub 600T is a Sellita SW 200-1 Swiss Made automatic movement. Beating at 28,800 bph and featuring 38 hours of power reserve, the SW 200-1 is a reliable, easily serviceable movement that is a good match for the watch’s intentions.
The Doxa Sub 600T comes on either a 20mm rubber strap or stainless-steel block bracelet for a $40 upcharge. The three-link bracelet with its equally sized links and spot-on fit to the case is a nice aesthetic match, though some fans of Doxa will be missing the beads-of-rice bracelet that’s become synonymous with the brand. However, the Sub 600T Professional reviewed here came mounted on a matching orange rubber strap. The FKM rubber is thick and high-quality but not terribly soft or pliable. The rubber strap looks excellent and is a great aesthetic match to the watch, especially with the fitted ends that sit flush against the case. This gives the watch a finished, integrated look. Securing the rubber strap is a milled and engraved deployant clasp. The construction of the deployant clasp is high-quality, but mirroring the case height, it’s thick at 11.5mm. Coupled with the thick, stiff strap and limited adjustment options, finding a comfortable fit can be a challenge, depending on the size and shape of your wrist (for reference, my wrist is 6.75”). For those looking for a thinner, softer rubber strap, there is no shortage of options, and a Tropic strap could be a great match. It’s also hard to go wrong with something like a gray NATO-style strap on any colorway of the Sub 600T.
The Doxa Sub 600T is an intriguing option that rounds out the brand’s lineup of colorful, vintage-inspired divers. By resurrecting a design from the 1980s, the Sub 600T provides a welcome respite from the sea of designs from the ’60s and ’70s. If you’re after a funky, colorful watch with a unique case and dial design, the Sub 600T is certainly worth a look. Make no mistake, this is a beefy diver, but it’s got the specs to match and is an excellent choice if your summer plans involve spending lots of time in the water. The Sub 600T starts at $1,450 USD with stainless bezel and rubber bracelet ($1,490 USD on bracelet), with a slight upcharge for the ceramic bezel ($1,550 USD on rubber, $1590 USD on bracelet). To learn more about the Sub 600T and other Doxa watches, visit the brand’s website.
>Model: SUB 600T
>Price: $1,450-$1,590, depending on strap and bezel
>Size: M-40: 40mm diameter, 47.6mm lug-to-lug, 14.5mm height; 20mm lug width
>When reviewer would personally wear it: Excellent summertime watch for wearing to the beach or out on the town.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone looking for a fun, colorful watch from a storied brand who wants a unique aesthetic.
>Best characteristic of watch: Color, bezel, and strap options to fit any taste and look that captures the best of ’80s design.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Thickness of the watch won’t be to everyone’s taste, and the thick rubber strap and clasp can make it difficult to find a comfortable fit depending on your wrist.