Doxa S.A. is a Swiss company, founded in 1889, that manufactures watches. Doxa is best known for its dive watches.Doxa, founded in 1889 by George Ducommun, began as a maker of fine dress watches and other timepieces. Over the years, Doxa gained in size and branched out into other timekeeping markets.
In the late 1960s Doxa realized that diving was becoming more popular—especially given the success of early innovators like Rolex and Blancpain in the early 1950s.
In fact the success of Rolex's Submariner and Blancpain's Fifty Fathoms helped originate a market for followers such as Doxa. This may have been due to the efforts of Jacques Cousteau and increased general awareness of the sport. Doxa decided to devote resources to create a watch to be used for diving. Tests indicated that an orange face was more visible in murky water. Doxa also consulted with divers, including Cousteau, then chairman of "U.S. Divers," and Claude Wesly (a Cousteau companion and the first man to spend seven days thirty-three feet underwater). A staff of engineers and professional divers was assembled to create a watch with features important to the diving industry. The Sub300t was purchased in quantity by U.S. Divers, who resold the watch in the United States. It was an instant hit with divers and quickly sold out upon its introduction.
The Doxa Sub300t features an orange face to make it more visible in the water. It has a rotating bezel with the official US Navy air dive table for no-decompression dives engraved onto its surface. The watch could be used to calculate decompression times, and other information useful to divers. It was rated to work 300 meters below sea level, and later versions were introduced that could work up to 750 meters below sea level.
Picture courtesy of : lesmala.net
Other watchmakers then followed with similar bezels, as well as colorful and bright faces.
Soon after the introduction of the Sub300t, the Swiss watch industry was hard-hit economically by the quartz watch revolution. Accurate, reliable and small timepieces could now be made without the mechanical movements that the Swiss specialized in constructing. In response, Doxa joined a group of Swiss watchmakers to consolidate resources. This eventually failed and Doxa, after being sold, ceased operations in about 1980.
Recently, Doxa has been revived by the Jenny family of Switzerland, who owns the brand. Since August 2002, Doxa has introduced re-editions of its well known watches and timepieces in limited quantities. Many are faithful to their original models in design and construction, and all use Swiss movements.
First Orange Faced dive watch, Sub300t in 1967.
First watch with a rotating bezel to compute no-decompression times, Sub 300t, 1967
First Publicly Available Dive Watch with Helium Release Valve named the Conquistador. In certain diving situations, helium can penetrate the watch seals and cause a pressure buildup in the watch, eventually blowing the crystal off the watch face. Rolex, invented and introduced the first dive watches with a helium release valve in 1969, which prevented this helium buildup. While this was a major advance at the time, few actual watches with this feature were produced. Doxa introduced the Sub300t Conquistador in 1969 featuring a helium release valve.
According to the sales brochures and advertisements in Skin diver magazine, DOXA was the first watch company to introduce this device to the public for general sale. Rolex was manufacturing watches with the Helium Release Valve at the same time, but was only selling them to Commercial Diving Companies such as COMEX. Rolex offered the Sea Dweller with Helium Escape Valve to the public in 1972. Omega also eventually introduced a helium release valve, in its Seamaster watch.
In the media
The hero of the Dirk Pitt book series by author Clive Cussler wears an Orange faced Doxa watch and also in the movie Sahara an orange faced Doxa is worn by Dirk Pitt. In recognition of this Doxa have officially recognised Clive Cussler and presented him with a special watch.