Rick at Doxa was kind enough to send me a couple of demo watches for the Atlanta GTG that was held last weekend. Both the SUB 4000T Pro and the Aquadive Bathyscaphe 100 DLC are incredible watches and of high enough quality that I felt obligated to review them for the benefit of both brands offical forums. I will be posting a review of the AD DLC in their forum sometime in the next few days. The AD was not an actual demo, it was from Rick’s personal collection. My opinions are my own and are truthful based on my impressions of the watches. As a Moderator of the Doxa Forum, one could assume that my opinions toe the company line but that is not the case. Reality is, in fact, quite the opposite. I am a moderator because I respect the brand and enjoy talking about them with like minded folks.
I do not consider myself to be much of a writer so please be kind.
The first thing that one notices about the Doxa SUB 4000T Pro is the size. This thing is big. There is no other way to put it but don’t take that observation to be a negative thing. While it certainly commands it’s share of wrist space, it uses the extra real estate as an opportunity to better show off it’s quality in the bright orange that is the hallmark of the brand.
My wrist is an extremely masculine, OK somewhat puny 6.5’’ so I have to be more selective in my choice of dive watches. While I prefer my watches to be on the large size, I do not care for the look of a watch whose lugs overhang the wrist. At that point they begin to look cartoonish which is not a look that I go for. Being rather flat, my wrist allows me to wear watches that range in the common widths between 40mm and 45mm. The relatively short lug length of the 4000T, 48mm, makes it wearable even on my wrist. At 47mm wide I would not have expected it to wear as well as it does.
As die hard Doxa fan, I consider myself to be somewhat of a purist. I like the iconic designs of the original SUB’s so the aesthetic changes on this model took some getting used to on my part. After a few days with it I began to warm up to the changes. The modern updates work well with the size. In fact, after giving it some thought, I really like that this is in the lineup. There are only so many subtle variations that can be made to the original design before the offerings begin to look stale. Sure, there will always be first time buyers out there but variations such as the SUB 4000T, SUB 1500T, SUB 800Ti, etc, give returning customers something different. I mentioned a while back on the forum that I would love to see Doxa in the sweet spot between Rolex and Omega as far as the collection as a whole goes. IMO, Rolex have become stodgy. They rarely make changes to their core lineup which is fine for their demographic but I don't think it would help Doxa with repeat business. OTOH, Omega seems to change their core lineup once a month. I am, of course, exaggerating a bit but you get my point. They lack continuity. One never seems to know if a favorite model will still be offered next year. Again, this would be terrible for Doxa as they primarily trade on the classic SUB design. I believe that there is a spot in between the big guys where watch models can maintain consistency as well as just enough variety to keep the people interested and wondering what will be out next year.
Stepping off of my soapbox and back to the review...The large case maintains the classic cushion shape but with a slightly modified dimensions to work with the larger diameter. If the original case were simply up-sized to 47mm the lug to lug measurement would have been longer and therefore not as wearable. The classic No-Decompression bezel is still available and looks great, as always. I have not yet seen the sapphire bezel option in person but I like the looks on the pictures that have been released. The sapphire is also a clever way to avoid the scratches that the polished No-Decomp bezel seems to attract. Another change is the bracelet. I am surprised by how much I like the new three link oyster style bracelet. It’s shape, weight, and 22mm width are a better match for the large case than the traditional 20mm Beads Of Rice would have been. Some of the larger re-issue Subs such as the 750GMT use the 20mm BOR bracelet with 21mm end links. This is a workable solution for the 44.5’’ models but would have been off balance on the 4000T. Another common concern amongst Doxa fans is the dial. The “Safe Dive” indicator seems to be especially polarizing. I have to admit that I was in the camp that did not care for the “Safe Dive” text. My opinion was based on the pictures on Doxa’s website. The enlarged pictures tend to exaggerate the text’s impact on the dial. In person it is small enough to not really get noticed. What is noticed, however, is the power reserve. I have yet to own a watch with one and I rather like having it there. I now find myself wishing that at least a few of the divers in my collection had it. Another plus for the Safe Dive indicator is the way it fills that lower left quarter of the dial so that the field of orange does not appear too large. As you know, blank space on dials tend to make the dial appear larger, even more so on a brightly colored dial like the 4000T Pro. IMO, breaking it up in this manner helps the watch be more wearable while still giving us plenty of that Doxa orange.
As the model that I have is an “Arret”, a model that is stopped to make it easier to photograph, so I cannot comment much on the movement. I have owned a few watches with ETA 2892 movements and have yet to have issues with them. I would expect the modified movement used in the 4000T to be of the highest quality.
Anecdotally, my opinion of the 4000T would seem to be shared by others. The attendees at the recent Atlanta GTG got a firsthand look at the model and a common sentiment was heard over and over, “Wow!, That thing is big but I like it. I don’t know that I could pull it off…” That succinctly sums up my feelings or, at least, my feelings prior to spending a few days with one. I’d advise anyone on the fence about this model to not let the size be the reason to go another direction. If my 6.5’’ wrist could pull it off, I would expect it to be even more wearable for the majority of Doxaholics.
Now, on to the pics. I've tried to get them at various angles that show how it looks IRL on a fairly average sized guy, 5'11, 175 lbs, 6.5" wrist. I've also included shots of my 750T for comparison. It has a 44.5mm case where the 4000T has a 47mm case. I have dispensed with any close up macro shots of these models as there are already many available on the forum and Doxa's website, not to mention the fact that my macro shots tend to look like a five year old took them with a 1 megapixel camera while jumping on a trampoline. One more thing, please ignore the gnarled knuckles of a misspent youth.
PS. The new SUB 300T-Graph uses the same case\bracelet combination as the 4000T so many of my observations and opinions of this watch would apply there as well. I’ll be looking forward to a review of that release once they ship to the guys fortunate enough to score one.
Wrist, 6.5" on the dot...