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Doxa Watches - The Beginning Of Glory
The Swiss town of Le Locle, located deep in the Jura Mountains, has long been one of the beating hearts of Swiss watchmaking. Here in this small town, which many experts believe to be the birthplace of modern Swiss horology, the story of DOXA Watches begins.
Georges Ducommun was only 12 years old when he enrolled in a watchmaking apprenticeship. This would-be master was part of a family of 13 siblings. He had to contribute financially to his family at that early age. However, he learned the subtle craft and precise engineering of building watches through dedication and hard work. As he rose through the ranks, new ideas flooded the mind of this young master. Unable to do much within the establishment that he worked in, the young Georges left his job and opened a new watch company, ‘Georges Ducommun, Fabriques Doxa’ in 1889. This truly heralded the arrival of a watchmaking genius bursting onto the scene!
Conquering The Marine World
Although the reason behind why Georges Ducommun chose the word ‘Doxa’ is unknown, we can assume that he wanted his watches to bring glory to their owners. Yes, that’s right. The word ‘Doxa’ has its origin in the Greek language, where it means ‘glory’. Another meaning of this word is popular opinion. And, what better way for a watch company to grow if not by being the popular choice amongst the masses?
Over the next half a century or so since its launch, DOXA produced watches for all types of consumers. The 1908 8-Day DOXA Caliber became the industry standard for cars and was soon used in ships and aeroplanes. Georges Ducommun’s son-in-law, Jacques Nardin, was now at the helm, following the founder’s death in 1936. However, DOXA’s innovation peaked in the 1960s, when they collaborated with legendary marine expert and diver Jacques-Yves Cousteau to bring the highly advanced deep-diving watch- the SUB 300T. This creation revolutionized the category of diving watches and is still considered to be the benchmark by many. The SUB 300T watch went through many ground-breaking innovations that transformed into an exemplary amalgamation of comfort and practicality.
Launched in 1967, it featured an innovative flex buckle along with the metal bracelet. This flex buckle ensured that divers could fit the watch into their wet suit sleeves without much hassle. DOXA watches also designed a ratchet mechanism into the clasp that helped size the watch without the problem of adding or removing links! This pioneering watch was named SUB 300T because it could withstand water pressure up to 300 meters (1000 feet), while titanium was the material used to manufacture the luminous material on the dial and the case.
In 1968, the DOXA watches almost perfected their dive watches with the SUB 300T Conquistador, introducing the world’s first helium release valve (HRV). Solving the problem of exploding watch crystals due to a change in pressure in the decompression chamber caused by helium molecules, the SUB 300T Conquistador is now considered to be one of the most sought-after vintage diving watches.
Yet, the success of the SUB project couldn’t save DOXA from the Quartz Crisis of the 1970s, and the company stopped its operations in 1980. But, this wasn’t the end of the story. In 1997, the Jenny Family, watchmakers for over four generations, purchased the DOXA rights and ushered this 19th-century company into a new era focusing only on diving watches. As a result of this relaunch, the headquarters of DOXA shifted from Le Locle to Bienne in Switzerland.
The Glorious New Era
DOXA, since its relaunch, has focused on innovating and bettering the SUB diving watches that it created in the 1960s. As a result, this Swiss-made watch company has now reshaped its categories into different SUB models, including some beautiful limited collections. These categories are the SUB 200, the new SUB 200 C-GRAPH, the limited edition SUB-200T, the SUB 300, the SUB 300T, and the SUB 1500T. Other limited edition watches are the SUB 300 CARBON AQUA LUNG US DIVERS, the SUB 600T Pacific, and the Sub 4000T.
The exciting features in these watches include being created from scratch-resistant quartz, carbon cases, titanium chambers, and an anti-reflective coating. In addition, all DOXA watches contain the patented unidirectional rotating bezel! There are also exciting colours and models to choose from for every regular edition watch, including orange (Professional), black (Sharkhunter), silvery-white (Searambler), blue (Caribbean), yellow (Divingstar), aqua blue (Aquamarine), and newly released White pearl. Again, excluding the limited collection watches, SUB-200 and other diving watches have three bracelet options: stainless steel, large rubber, and small rubber!
Along with watches, DOXA has also sponsored many diving expeditions and projects in recent years. One of them was Mission 31, led by Jacques-Yves’ grandson Fabien Cousteau at the world’s only underwater marine lab, Aquarius, located off the coast of Florida. DOXA honoured their feat of 31 consecutive days underwater with 331 limited edition watches celebrating the Mission 31 team. Doxa also made the record as the longest continuous submersion of a diver’s watch.
As it moves into the future, DOXA is steadily progressing with technological advancements in the world of diving watches, staying true to the vision of its founder - Georges Ducommun.