Georges Ducommun founded the now 130-year-old watchmaking company Doxa in 1889. The humble startup took off from his backyard workshop and today prides itself amongst the world’s leading watch brands.
The Greek name Doxa translates to glory, and its success story is true to the name. As a result, the brand, now in its second century of existence, has pioneered and crafted iconic timepieces. Doxa watches continue as a hand-assembled brand focusing on precision and robustness.
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Georges Ducommun: The Spark of a Vision
The founder’s story precedes the origins of the brand. His early days as a young and enthusiastic watchmaker began in Le Locle, a small-town high up in the Jura Mountains of Switzerland. One amongst 13 children, Georges Ducommun began his journey early as an apprentice with a local watchmaker. Aged just 12, he was already contributing to the family’s livelihood. Meanwhile, with every timepiece Georges creates, his passion, skill, and vision for the craft grow.
1889: Doxa Comes to Life
Starting from the workshop in his backyard, Georges at 21, sets up his business. In no time, the young watchmaker gains attention and a good reputation for quick service, attention to detail, and ingenuity. For instance, accounts of Georges traveling twenty kilometers on foot for watch deliveries are a testament to his passion.
During his initial years as an independent watchmaker, Georges constantly worked towards bettering the components of his watches. Subsequently, he sees potential in a new brand that could offer his quality of watches. As a result, the brand is born, “Georges Ducommun, Fabriques Doxa.”
Doxa quickly earned quite a reputation for its build, components, value, and remarkable artistry. Consequently, word of the brand spread well beyond the town of Neuchatel and soon beyond Switzerland.
The early 1900s: Initial Years
1905 and 1906 mark immense importance as Doxa won prestigious awards. First, the World’s Fair held in Liege, Belgium honors the Doxa pocket watch, and then, the anti-magnetic Doxa claimed the gold medal at the following World’s Fair held in Milan, Italy.
Success has always fueled further innovation at Doxa, and Georges soon set his eyes on the world of endurance racing. During the early 1900s, endurance racing was in vogue, and teams were on the lookout for a dashboard-mounted timepiece. Above all, these miniature clocks had to be robust, reliable, and come with sufficient power reserve. Georges took it upon himself to find a creative solution and in 1908, filed a patent for the ‘8-Day Doxa Caliber’.
Legendary racing brand Bugatti incorporated Doxa’s patented design as standard in all its racing cars, and soon other racing teams followed suit. After that, Doxa’s timepieces found themselves in the instrument panels of ships and aircraft too. Consequently, this marked the brand’s foray into rugged and precision-focused watches.
Post-1936: The Era After Georges Ducommun
The stature of Doxa continued to rise through the early decades and so did the founder’s legacy. However, in 1936 Georges passed away. Following the founder’s death, his son-in-law Jacques Nardin took over the reins of the company. Jacques himself came from a family renowned for watchmaking, his grandfather was Ulysse Nardin.
The young leader looked toward innovation and technologies like alarms, ring-watches, date pointer, and a jumping second hand. In other words, the brand now looked beyond just travel and sports. As a result, they opened up to a broader customer base.
1957 marked a significant year in the brand’s history. Doxa launched the Bauhaus-inspired ‘Grafic‘ collection, a minimalist dress watch. The new release garnered great adulation and acclaim. The brand had produced an instant classic. Likewise, in the following decade, the ‘SUB’ collection was released to great success.
The 1960s: The SUB Collection is born
The head of product development at Doxa saw potential in a dependable and affordable timepiece, purpose-built for divers. At the time, diving watches commanded rather high prices and were mostly dedicated to professional and military use.
As a result, Project SUB was born in 1964. Understanding the complexity, Doxa set up a team that included professional divers like Claude Wesley. This project also included the legendary French Naval officer, conservationist, innovator, filmmaker, and sea researcher Jaques-Yves Cousteau.
To better the diving watches of the time, Doxa developed a watch case from a solid block of stainless steel, giving it complete water tightness. The newly designed case passed tests to a depth of 300 meters and became the critical platform for the Doxa SUB 300. The team’s significant step came to light with the choice of color for the dial.
Following a host of underwater tests and studies of light underwater, Doxa decided to roll down on the black dial for better readability. As a result, the bright orange dial came into being, giving Doxa its iconic signature look. In addition, the SUB’s patented bezel incorporates two scales to precisely monitor time spent underwater. Further innovation in the bracelet ensured a comfortable fit around the wetsuit. Three years of persistent and pioneering engineering made way for the Doxa SUB 300T at Baselworld in 1967.
1967 sees Doxa partner with Rolex. As a result, the Doxa SUB 300T Conquistador becomes the first timepiece to feature a Helium Release Valve.
The Conquistador, even today is amongst the most sought-after vintage dive watches.
Turbulent Years and the Subsequent Takeover
While the sixties offered the brand shining moments in its history, the following decades would prove to be tricky. The arrival of the Quartz era shook the Swiss watchmaking industry to its very foundations. However, Doxa would persevere through the turbulent times. The last decade of the 1900s saw another major chapter in Doxa history.
Looking to build on the brand’s iconic collections and enduring legacy, the Jenny family, acquired Doxa in 1997. Established in the watchmaking industry for four generations, the Jenny Family revered the brand’s history and stature. The takeover, in essence, was a testament to the brand’s success. After that, the brand finds a new home in Biel, Switzerland. The brand appoints Romeo F. Jenny as the new CEO to direct the company towards the future.
Doxa Watch Collections
The SUB Collection
Launched in 1967, The SUB collection was among the most advanced and professional-grade diving watches with its unique design. The excellent timepieces are a result of three years of incredible engineering. The SUB dive watches set a new benchmark for professional dive watches. Subsequently, the brand became the preferred choice for professional and military divers. Currently, the brand offers just seven watches, uniquely crafted, under its name.
The most economical watch offered by Doxa the SUB 200. The three-hand diver’s watch boasts the highest quality 316L stainless steel case. Launched in 2019 at Baselworld, the SUB 200 comes in steel and rubber strap options. In addition, the model is available in six exciting dial color options. As the name suggests, the SUB 200 is waterproof to a depth of 200 meters. Measuring at a diameter of 42mm, elements of the piece have a Super-Lumi Nova Luminescent coating.
SUB 200 130th Anniversary
Marking 130 years of the brand’s founding, a limited edition of the SUB 200 made way. Doxa released only 130 timepieces.
SUB 200 T. GRAPH
The SUB project in the 1960s made way for the Doxa SUB 200T. GRAPH. The watch set new benchmarks for professional dive timepieces. To mark 50 years, a limited edition of 300 timepieces is available. The iconic orange dial comes with a stainless steel strap to reinterpret the original from 50 years ago. The model with a diameter of 43mm is water-resistant up to 200 meters.
Furthermore, the timepiece features the patented unidirectional rotating bezel with dual rings for depth and dive time. As a homage to the original, the current model holds two counters, indicating the seconds and 30 minutes. The watch also features the unique Doxa ‘grains of rice’ bracelet design made from the 316L stainless steel and the 7734 VALJOUX movements.
Originally launched as the SUB 300T Conquistador in 1969, the Doxa timepiece was the first diver’s watch with a Helium Release Valve for everyday divers. The current model launched in September 2019 stands as a tribute to the original piece 50 years ago. The current model is available in six dial color options, including the iconic bright orange. In addition, the straps too can either be stainless steel or rubber. With a diameter of 42.5mm, the piece is water-resistant up to 1200 meters.
An older model, but successful nonetheless. The SUB 1200T was released in 2010 to celebrate the iconic SUB 300T Conquistador. The limited-edition model featured aesthetic cues from the original watch in its design. Doxa released only 1200 watches as a limited edition series. The patented unidirectional rotating bezel measures dive time and depth. The model was initially available in four dial color options. However, most of them quickly sold out.
The SUB 1500T is a professional diver’s watch. Crafted as the worthy successor to the SUB 300T Conquistador, the watch boasts of a 45mm diameter. The rugged and precise timepiece stands testament to the original icon. Informative elements receive a Super-Lumni Nova luminescent coating coat to ensure optimum clarity underwater. The model is available in six dial color options and two strap options. The current model also features the unidirectional rotating bezel in a similar vein to the original.
The final watch under the Doxa brand is the SUB 4000T. This line was a limited edition release with only 300 timepieces. The model is available in three dial color options – Professional, Professional Sapphire Bezel, and Sharkhunter.
Doxa limited the Sapphire Bezel option to only 200 pieces. The SUB 4000T slightly departs from the original design and features rounded edges. Further, the watch also stands out in the current lineup for its size, measuring at 47.5mm. Water-resistant up to a depth of 1200 meters and also hosts a power reserve indicator. Even the stainless steel strap is a departure from the traditional design.
Doxa Brand Reputation
Doxa has forged a name for quality and trustworthiness over the years. The brand’s watches are all Swiss-Made and 100% hand-assembled. Renowned for innovative and unique timepieces, Doxa watches were the first of their kind to make special-purpose watches to withstand all diving conditions. Fulfilling every diver’s dream, Doxa ensures complete reliability underwater and on land.
Doxa is proud to manufacture 100% hand-assembled watches made with great skill and accuracy. By limiting their sales to just seven carefully crafted timepieces, Doxa ensures maximum customer satisfaction during and after sales. With over a century worth of knowledge and technical know-how, Doxa is at its pinnacle of expert watch-making, and the brand continues to deliver with the same zeal even to date.
Is Doxa A Good Brand?
Watch enthusiasts mostly have good things to say about Doxa for its build and durability compared to other mechanical watches.
Compared to its competitors like Omega or Sinn, Doxa excels in the professional dive watch category. Doxa is known for its build quality and impressive water-resistance with some models Although in contrast to the Omega Speedmaster, some watch lovers believe the Doxa’s design is too simplified. But, if you are looking at maximum functionality underwater, Doxa stands above many competitors.
For customers looking for a watch for daily wear, a functional Swiss-made watch in a similar price range- Omega or Longines might be a better fit. It prides itself on making purpose-specific watches, and given its legacy, you can rely on the guarantee Doxa gives.
For one thing, is sure, if you are a serious diver, Doxa won’t let you down with several dive watches with 1,000m resistance or better.
Is Doxa a Luxury Watch
Yes, Doxa is considered the Luxury category. Although watch collectors like to further stratify the hierarchy of different brands, such as entry-level or affordable luxury – Doxa makes that cut by almost any definition of luxury watchmaking. The brand has a long history of watchmaking, having filed patents going back over 100 years and winning gold medals for watches as early as the world fair of 1906. In-house production, watch innovation, premium materials and impressive build quality of professional dive watches all land this independent Swiss watch brand in the luxury category.
Where Are Doxa Watches Made?
All Doxa watches are Swiss-Made. The brand was founded in 1889 in Le Locle, Switzerland. In 1997, the brand was bought by the Jenny family of Switzerland and is now headquartered in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland.
Doxa Watch Warranty
Doxa offers a limited warranty of two years on all their watches, effective from the date of purchase. The warranty is valid only when purchased from an authorized dealer.
The warranty will, however, not cover:
- Straps or batteries
- Damage arising from accident, negligence, misuse, repair by unauthorized personnel;
- Loss or theft;
- Incidental claims.
In the event of a warranty claim, Doxa will inspect the watch to either repair or replace free of cost. If you wish to send your Doxa for inspection, send the damaged watch by insured mail to authorized after-sales centers, or to the authorized dealer. Be sure to include the proof of purchase and the warranty card when claiming a warranty. You can also email Doxa at [email protected] for any warranty queries.
Where to Buy Doxa Watches?
Doxa’s official website is a great place to start if you are looking to understand the brand and the specific functions of each watch.
If you are located in the US or Canada, you can also email Doxa at [email protected] and they will help you with placing the order and getting it delivered to you.
If you are based anywhere in the UK, you can also buy Doxa watches on JuraWatches.
eBay has some of Doxa’s SUB collection and some of their older timepieces.