When I test drove the first Ford GT remake I asked the PR flack why FoMoCo didn’t use carbon fiber. “Carbon can withstand an enormous impact,” he said. “After that, there’s nothing left. Most car accidents involve multiple impacts.” Needless to say, the current gen Ford GT has a carbon fiber body. When it comes to high performance motoring, weight is everything. When it comes to watches, well, the DOXA SUB 300 Carbon Sharkhunter weighs . . .
3.4 ounces. In comparison, the DOXA SUB 300 Searambler on a steel bracelet tips the scales at 5.3 ounces (with three links removed). Both watches are powered by a COSC certified ETA 2824-2 automatic movement. So both watches are equally accurate. Both can withstand the same shocks. Both are water resistant to 300m.
So weight is the only “performance” difference between the “original” 1967 SUB 300 remake – which added extra lume, plopped an orange logo on the crown and changed the markings to meters – and the new SUB 300 Carbon.
Is the lack of heft worth an additional $1400? That depends on your financial circumstances, but sure!
Wearing the Sharkhunter is like walking around in a pair of Bruno Magli Xeleste Drivers; you’re not aware of your comfort until you switch to “normal” footwear. In the same way, you can’t appreciate the Sharkhunter’s comfort until you swap it for a steel timekeeper.
While some people like a heavy watch on their wrist, some people enjoy being whipped. Just sayin’ . . .
It’s not just carbon fiber adding to the SUB 300 Carbon’s price and reducing its gravitational pull. Carbon fiber – especially forged carbon fiber – can’t withstand the pressure generated 300m below the waves. A DOXA SUB that couldn’t function at that depth would be like a Ford GT that couldn’t out-drag a Prius.
And so the Carbon Sharkhunter’s carbon fiber cushion case sits atop a lightweight titanium chamber, sealed by a pitch black titanium caseback. The resulting timepiece is as light as it is durable, ready to boldly go where no recreational diver should go.
Forged carbon fiber is weaker than woven but it creates a unique-to-each-example marble-like appearance. The SUB’s cushion case has red inclusions – not ideal for red/green color blind males (need I mention any names?). It’s only this trippy in the right light, this close-up.
On the positive side, the black dial SUB 300 Carbon Sharkhunter’s black case, black bezel (with all-important decompression time markings in red) and black rubber strap combine to create a distinctly dashing Darth Vader vibe.
Did DOXA send the Sharkhunter to TTAW because they think we’ve gone over to the Dark Side? As if! More to the point, where’s our orange SUB?
Everyone knows the orange dial Professional is the SUB 300. Buyers in Nordic countries (who prefer the teal dial Aquamarine) and New Zealand and Australia (who prefer the Aquamarine and yellow Divingstar) may disagree, but orange is the best and most popular choice for underwater utility and DOXA brand heritage.
That said, the nearasdammit all-black Sharkhunter has its advantages. While the silver Searambler’s dial seems puny in its shiny steel case, the Sharkhunter’s relatively demure carbon fiber case blesses its face with more visual oomph.
The symbiotic relationship between the elements also aids legibility. The SUB’s steeply domed sapphire crystal does not, especially when it comes to reading the date. And it takes a while not to mistake the larger, thicker orange minute hand for the hour hand.
The SUB 300 Carbon is still a big watch (42.5mm measured from crown to opposite end) with a diminutive dial (27.25mm measured from crystal edge to crystal edge). But it doesn’t look so goofy on the wrist.
Hats off to DOXA for the quality, construction and design of the rubber strap. It’s substantial without being burdensome, smooth on the outside and gently ribbed on the inside, for a soupçon of extra grip.
Additional kudos for not following the rubber strap brand boasting billboard trend; “DOXA” is subtly embossed on its outer edge. I would’ve preferred a carbon fiber clasp to seal the deal, but you can’t fault the glossy black PVD-treated clasp’s [no clank] ratchet adjustment system – unless you’ve got a wrist smaller than 7″.
The new new old DOXA SUB 300 Carbon Sharkhunter has a lot going for it, from a modern almost tactical aesthetic to extreme comfort. As it should for a watch selling for a hair under four grand. If the distinctive and in some corners unmistakable design floats your boat, the quality is there.
The question then becomes color; each of the variations has a distinct personality. While the Carbon Sharkhunter is the least obtrusive, most visually cohesive of the lot, I say go orange or go home. Let’s just say it’s not a weighty decision.
Model: DOXA SUB 300 Carbon Sharkhunter
Case diameter: 42.5mm
Case thickness: 13.4mm
Lug width: 20mm
Case: Forged carbon over a titanium cage and caseback
Bezel: 120-click unidirectional with decompression and five-minute markers
Clasp: Black PVD coated steel with ratcheting dive suit extension
Weight: 3.4 ounces
Crystal: Anti-reflection coated box sapphire
Movement: COSC Certified Chronometer grade ETA 2824-2 automatic
Power reserve: 38 hours
Water Resistance: 300m (screw-down crown)
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
RATINGS (out of five stars):
Design * * * * *
Not the look you’d expect from a “vintage” DOXA SUB 300, but the look I like. An ideal upgrade from the standard SUB 300 if you don’t fancy a dinky looking dial.
Legibility * * * *
Excellent at-a-glance-ability – aside from the box crystal’s edge distortion and the need to recognize the bigger, thicker, bright orange hand as the minute hand.
Comfort * * * * *
Disappears on the wrist.
Overall * * * *
An lightweight reimagining of a historically significant design with a workhorse Swiss engine and perfectly practical water resistance. Darth Vader may object, but the Sharkhunter’s denied the final star’s for not being the orange dial SUB 300 Carbon Professional.
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