Editor’s Note: For all the shiny new watches we come across every week, nothing gets our hearts racing like a great vintage timepiece. These are watches with stories, some known, some lost to history. Watches from the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s come from an era when a man’s timepiece was his everyday carry, a tool for the job that wasn’t put away when things got down and dirty. Many vintage watches bear the marks of use that we endearingly call “patina”, and remain that much more lovely in spite of (or because of) it.
The other appealing aspect of vintage watches is their rarity. Even the most common old timepieces are becoming harder to find in good shape. So while you can walk into a retailer and buy a brand new watch anytime, finding a good vintage piece requires patience, persistence, research and legwork. This leads us to our new series, Timekeeping Selects, a partnership with Analog/Shift, the New York-based purveyor of vintage watches. We’ve done the legwork for you, handpicking the coolest, most unique old watches, all of which have impeccable authenticity and are serviced and ready to wear.
This week we bring you one of our favorite dive watches of the 1960s, the DOXA SUB 300T Sharkhunter ($2,500). We’ve sung our praises of DOXAs before; their historical ties to scuba diving, endorsement by Jacques Cousteau, and innovative subaquatic features are by now well known. Vintage examples often bear the scars of hard use. Their singular purpose meant that those who bought them new were likely banging them around on boats, wrecks and reefs and taking them deep with regularity. So finding old DOXAs in good condition can be tough.
This example, a transitional version with a thinner case, dates to about 1968 and is in remarkably good shape. It is the Sharkhunter variety of SUB 300T, meaning it sports a matte black dial instead of the orange of the more common “Professional” version. It’s more wearable day to day and channels more real world diver than fictional — think Cousteau rather than Dirk Pitt. Vintage DOXAs make great everyday watches. Their burly build quality, modern size (42 millimeters) and reliable self-winding ETA movements mean you can wear them without fear, though we wouldn’t think of wearing a vintage timepiece, even a DOXA, diving.
This vintage DOXA has been recently serviced, has a replacement crystal (originals were often scratched beyond recognition) and an unsigned screw-down crown. The dial shows lovely yellowing of its tritium markers and hands and the case is in terrific condition, with just enough scratches to show it’s been used but not enough to beg for a polish. The watch comes with a pair of 20-millimeter nylon NATO straps from Crown and Buckle, though half the fun of old dive watches is fitting them with cool Tropic rubber or antiqued leather straps, so go wild.
Vintage DOXAs are getting more and more popular and thus becoming harder and harder to find and this one won’t last long.