Doxa SUB 1500T Aquamarine
The Doxa SUB 1500T Aquamarine is suffused with cheerful teal tones, however, don’t be fooled, this is a serious professional divers’ watch. Angus Davies enjoys a few days appraising this model at close quarters.
My wife often remarks that I have a one-track mind, namely watches. My thoughts invariably focus upon variable-inertia balances, overcoils, black polishing, gold chatons, guilloché dials and complications. Most evenings, I enter Koala mode about 7pm and seldom utter a word, however, should the conversation turn to horology, I suddenly come alive and talk incessantly about my favourite subject.
Now, I have another topic to discuss around the dinner table, Doxa. A few weeks ago, I enjoyed a ‘hands-on’ experience with the new Doxa SUB 300 Carbon Aqua Lung US Divers. I was profoundly impressed by this lightweight divers’ watch. Afterwards, I reflected on my time with the model and pondered if one of the brand’s cheaper steel models would prove equally as impressive.
I visited Doxa’s website and selected the Doxa SUB 1500T Aquamarine. The model is offered in an array of different colours, however, the aquamarine coloured option captured my attention. Thereafter, I requested a press sample for an extended period of evaluation.
Looking at the dial of the Doxa SUB 1500T Aquamarine, one cannot help but smile at the cheerful face of this model. The hour and minute hands are presented in black and lined with white luminescent fill. The minute hand is dominant, proving bolder and much larger than the hour and central sweep seconds hand. This is eminently logical as the display of minutes on a divers’ watch surpasses all other considerations.
The baton-style indexes continue with the black and white theme with the white luminescent centre section making its presence known in dim light. The central sweep seconds hand is ultra-fine with a square marker positioned two-thirds along its profile. An aperture, located at 3 o’clock, displays the prevailing date using black numerals set against a white backdrop. The contrast between the white date disc and aquamarine dial surface enhances readability.
The dial shuns other indications, displaying merely the essentials. There is a smattering of branding in the south-easterly and north-westerly dial regions but these don’t impair the dial’s clean aesthetic. The dial hue is arresting and, dare I say, ‘fun’, but nothing detracts from the model’s serious purpose of imparting information underwater.
Measuring 45mm in diameter, the Doxa SUB 1500T Aquamarine may sound large, however, things are not quite as they may first seem. The strap sits close to the dial area and naturally rests at 90° to the watch head. The case measures approximately 47mm end to end, a comparatively modest figure often found on watches with a smaller case diameter.
The case is made of 316L stainless steel. Inevitably comparisons will be made with 904L used by some other watch brands, including Rolex. There are advantages and disadvantages with each option. In terms of 904L, it is less susceptible to scratching, exhibits a superior lustre and offers superior corrosion resistance.
However, 316L is harder and possesses a lower nickel content. While titanium is the best option for sufferers from nickel allergies, 316L will prove friendlier to the skin than 904L. On balance, I have owned several watches made of 316L stainless steel and have always been happy with the performance of this metal.
The upper case surfaces are satin-brushed while the remaining areas are highly polished. The vertical flank of the crown is adorned with the brand’s Orange fish symbol which, for some inexplicable reason, makes me smile. Indeed, there is a repeated tendency to smile with this Doxa, especially when discovering one of the many delightful details. For example, the strap is held steadfastly with purposeful screws, surpassing regular spring bars.
Conforming with divers’ watch convention, this Doxa model is fitted with a unidirectional bezel. Rotating the bezel grants a pleasing and positive feel to the accompanying sound of audible clicks. Doxa has expended much effort refining this model’s touchpoints, repeatedly reminding the wearer that this is a quality product. The bezel features two scales, an inner scale in black, indicating the dive time in minutes, and an outer scale presented in aquamarine, showing the dive depth in feet.
The sapphire crystal provides clear sight of the dial when viewed straight-on. When the dial is viewed from some acute angles, it becomes apparent that the thickness of the crystal is far greater than a ‘regular’ watch. This should come as no surprise as this model has a maximum water resistance of 1500 metres. It is unabashedly a professional divers’ watch, despite its handsome appearance. The model is also fitted with a helium escape value should the wearer partake in saturation diving.
The watch is available on a stainless steel bracelet, but I succumbed to the charms of the aquamarine rubber strap. In my opinion, it looks fabulous, albeit I concede it may polarise opinion. Rest assured, the model is available in an array of colours, some less conspicuous than this version.
Doxa has paired the rubber strap with a folding clasp with wetsuit extension. Again, there is a palpable sense of quality with the release buttons delivering a sublime positive action and the clasp closing with a reassuring click.
This model is equipped with the ETA 2892-2 self-winding calibre. The Swiss movement specialist needs no introduction, its expertise is widely known. The quality-price ratio of its movements is superb. Furthermore, a trained watchmaker should have no problem servicing or repairing this calibre.
The balance is fitted with the firm’s proprietary ETACHRON regulator system, much loved by watchmakers as it proves simple to adjust. The movement contains a lone spring barrel, providing a power reserve of 42 hours. The ETA 2892-2 has a frequency of 28,800 vph (4Hz) and contains 21 jewels.
Doxa state they have decorated the movement, however, I am unable to comment on this owing to the solid case back.
The Doxa SUB 1500T Aquamarine is a serious professional tool, suitable for use in oceans deep. However, like most prospective purchasers, I am drawn to this watch for its appearance and those qualities which make it ideal for life on dry land.
One glance at the dial and the brain readily assimilates all indications. There is no need to decipher what is being communicated, it is clear to see. The model is generously proportioned but should suit a large number of would-be wearers. I would urge all readers to set aside the stated 45mm case diameter for one moment and appraise the watch when affixed to the wrist as it feels much smalls when worn.
The ETA movement needs no introduction, it has seen service in numerous watches from a plethora of brands and it enjoys an enviable reputation for reliability.
While the aforementioned attributes should not be discounted, the reason I would suggest looking closely at this model is that it exhibits discernible robustness and notable quality. It has been made to function in an inherently hostile environment but its sturdy composition is equally valid on terra firma. Indeed, each touchpoint conveys a sense of quality and, despite its modest retail price of just £2250, it delivers a high quotient of ownership delight.
- Model: Doxa SUB 1500T Aquamarine
- Reference: 818.104.22.168
- Case: 316L stainless steel; dimensions 45.00 mm x 47.00 mm; height 16 mm; water resistance 150ATM (1500 metres); sapphire crystal to front and solid case back; helium release valve
- Functions: Hours; minutes; central sweep seconds; date
- Movement: ETA 2892-2; self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 21 jewels; power reserve 42 hours
- Strap: Aquamarine rubber strap with steel folding clasp with wetsuit extension
- Price: £2250 (RRP as at 23.6.2020)