It was early September and we were anchored 90 feet above a dive site named “Cathédrale” off the west coast of Mauritius. Our guide was Gérald Rambert, the Franco-Mauritian who literally wrote – and photographed – the book on sea life surrounding his island. He and his wife, Estelle, run Sun Divers, a small shop based out of one of the resorts in the small coastal town of Flic-en-Flac. Together, they make a photogenic couple, fit and tanned in their wetsuits, like a modern day Hans and Lotte Hass.
Even though we were parked almost directly on the Tropic of Capricorn, there was a chill in the offshore breeze; after all, it was winter in the southern hemisphere. I tucked my neoprene hood into the collar of my wetsuit and double-checked my life support system—full tank of air turned on, regulator working, buoyancy vest inflated, and weight belt secure. I activated my digital dive computer on my right wrist and on my left, I spun the bezel of my watch—the DOXA 50th Anniversary SUB 300 Professional—to align the zero marker with the oversized minute hand. Then I clutched my mask to my face and back-rolled off the gunwale into the Indian Ocean.
Though DOXA considers 1967 the official launch of the SUB 300, some early examples from 1966 and possibly even ’65 have surfaced among collectors. Regardless, the 50th Anniversary edition is modeled after these earliest watches and in a crowded market of vintage-inspired “heritage” watches, this one is perhaps the most faithful. To wear it, especially while diving, is to enter a sort of time warp, and glancing at my wrist underwater, I had to reassure myself that this was a modern, water-resistant timepiece and not a rare vintage collectible.