This is a first post, so an introduction and a review of my first impressions of my new Sub 1200T Professional. My point of reference is a Rolex Submariner 16610 which I've had for ca 7 years from new. An unreasonable yardstick you may say but then my Vostok Amphibias wouldn't do the Doxa justice and my various 1960s Smiths watches would be an even worse benchmark.
From order over a weekend the watch was on my wrist by Thursday evening. On unwrapping the package the first thing I noticed was, despite the tube being well packed, some of the text was scratched off it, probably whilst in storage. Obviously I'd rather have a pristine tube but its not a major issue as it'll spend the rest of its days in a box with my other watch boxes.
Rolex watch boxes aren't great but generate a little more occasion than Doxa's tube. To be clear I don't really rate Rolex watch boxes which are made of a hard plastic with a ripple effect on the lid and have seen nicer, more impressive looking boxes housing 'lesser' watches.
On opening the tube I was initially struck by how insubstantial the watch looked and the smallness of the dial, I'd even venture to say I was a trifle disappointed. I'd ordered the watch knowing its dimensions including that of the dial, in fact I probably wouldn't have ordered it if it were bigger! Despite having 20 cm / 8" wrists I tend to wear dress watches from 33mm to the 40mm of my Rolex or 420 case Amphibias so the Doxa Sub is my biggest watch to date.
My next observation was the luminous markers appeared more yellow/brown than white. This was unexpected but I like it as it fits the watch's vintage character. Later on I came to appreciate the lume more which burns fiercely, particularly on the oversize minute hand, and outlasts that on my Rolex.
Working through the tube's contents I found the warranty card, an orange Doxa signed screwdriver - as opposed to the silver Bergeon one I'd seen in other's photos - and an orange Doxa strap. I hadn't realised the watch also came with a strap so this was a pleasant surprise although its unlikely ever to see the light of day on my wrist. As an aside I only found the booklet with CD about five days later when about to throw the delivery box out. Am I the only one to no longer have a computer with CD drive at home? I think simple printed instructions would be more user friendly and these could also be made to fit in the tube. After-all, who with a new watch to play with is going to fire up their computer to look at something on a CD! Downloadable PDF instructions would also be good for those that inhabit Apple's Flash disabled world and finally do decide to read the dos and don'ts of their new watch.
Anyway back to the watch, I stripped of the protective plastic and popped the Sub on my wrist. My next thought was they built the strap for giants as I'd need a link or possibly two removing (I settled on just one for now with it being summer). When I got by Rolex Sub I'd had to squeeze the open clasp over my wrist - I did buy it in Japan though and so wonder if it was already partially 'sized' for the market. Once on my wrist the Doxa started singing to me more, the classic case style and thick bezel looking just so.
Now I'm aware of positive and negative comments on the web about Doxa's Subs, for example poor paint coverage on the hands but had also read a statement from Doxa SA this had been resolved. With all of this in mind I must admit to pulling out my magnifying glass and looking at the dial and hands through it. What did I see? Lots of lovely black paint on the hands and a perfect dial (actually one tiny stray speck of lume north 12 o'clock but its more of a microdot). I don't think I've ever looked at my Rolex dial through a magnifying glass so can't make a meaningful comparison here except to say it has raised (white gold) markers which make the watch ever so slightly more elegant and less of a tool, two much unnecessary lettering with its "Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified" and the quite common Rolex 'dimple' where the hands pass through the dial.
I also looked carefully at the bezel pip. This doesn't quiet line up with the dial, it's very slightly off but it is also very slightly irritating. I've read Doxa's comments about manufacturing tolerances for solid bezels as opposed to those with inserts so understand the issue. My Rolex Sub is also a (smaller) fraction off but has a little play allowing a slight clockwise turn to allow alignment of bezel and watch markers. In a way the Doxa bezel's strength, a lack of play in use, is also its weakness here.
My Doxa didn't need much encouragement to start ticking but I took it off to set the time and wind it up. The movement felt stiff as I wound it - not overwound - just tight compared to my Submariner. I've read someone else making the same comment when comparing a 1000T and 1200T despite both having the same movement. Adjusting the time felt good without the 'slop' or 'wiggle' found on my 16610.
The Doxa Sub case has a heft to it and feels substantial and looks well made as does the Rolex. The Rolex case is less deep but also has a deeply dished case back. I read in one of Dr Peter Millar's reviews the extra thickness of the Doxa was for cosmetic reasons and I for one would be happy for it to loose the unnecessary flab. To be fair it should be noted Rolex Subs are rated to 300m whereas the 1200T is good for 1,200m so the more substantial case might be justified.
The weakest part of the 1200T package is the bracelet as it is with the Rolex 16610 or rather in the latter's case the clasp. But for the clasp the Rolex bracelet looks great and exudes quality and the Doxa BOR bracelet just doesn't compare. Whether its due to being brushed in a different direction to the case the Doxa bracelet looks to have a different tone, almost bead blasted, and doesn't seem to match. To try and combat this I might have the beads polished at some point. The end links where the 'beads' connect also look a little rough on the Doxa as do the name and logo stamped on the clasp.
All in all the Doxa has won a place in my heart. Will it be a keeper? Probably yes, it is unique enough to have it's place although, and I now realise I've omitted to say what flavour I have, its difficult to match its orange dial for everyday wear. Perhaps I also need to get a more versatile Searambler .........