50 years after the DOXA Army was born, the iconic Swiss watch brand honours its history with the Swiss Army’s elite divers unit by reissuing, for the first time, a limited edition of the famous model historical model, now released in collaboration with Watches of Switzerland.
Press release information with commentary in italics.
New: Doxa Army
The retail price for the new Doxa Army is CHF 4,200.00 – EUR 4,200.00 – USD 4,500.00. Limited edition of 100 pieces.
The watch’s origin story is quite interesting. It is not clear if the original watch labeled Doxa Army was ever issued to the (Swiss) Army, though the Swiss Army’s Elite Combat Diving unit were issued with Doxa’s SUB 300 T Professional. We base our research on this topic on the excellent blog post by The Blomman Watch Report’s DOXA SUB 11891-4 Army. While we cannot vouch for the accuracy of the Blomman report, it is one of the few articles which has good information on the watch. Our take from the Bomman report is that if the watch was official Army issue, it would probably bear military markings to identify it as “Swiss Army”, the Helvetica Cross or engraved “EMD” (Federal Military Department). The back of the original watch released in 1969, which is a derivative of the SUB 300 with a special dial, was just plainly labelled as “Army”, and many collectors and vintage scholars believe this to be the naming convention given by Doxa to the style of the dial.
This new release is a re-interpretation of the original, including the black case. Still based on the SUB 300, the new watch bears the base design resemblance to its lineage. However, instead of a black oxide coating on the OG case, to give it the glare proof matte black finish, the entire case is now constructed in a matte black ceramic. Also, the dial is given a splash of colour, animating it, but one which respects the OG aesthetics. The dial is now in a beige base colour, with a black chapter ring surrounding it. The indices transverse both the dial and chapter ring, starting out on the periphery as beige, and inverting to black as it enters the center. This creamy beige and black colour scheme replaces the white and black on the original, bringing a hint of how the patina of the original’s tritium paint would have aged. The hands are huge, and painted orange, with a infilling of lume, kind of balances the dial design in a rather nice, but perhaps quirky way.
The huge black ceramic bezel, marked in numerals, lines and a triangle at 12 is uni-directional, an indication of the diving roots, and the case itself is in a matte black ceramic.
Attention to detail in recreating the OG Doxa Army is quite good, and the watch is delivered with a pouch sporting the original camouflage pattern used by the Swiss Army at the time thw watch was first issued. And the watch is supplied with two straps- one from black rubber, and a NATO strap with camouflage pattern.
The movement is the workhorse Sellita SW200-1, and Doxa has chosen to have it COSC certified.
At the proposed price point of CHF 4.2k for a diver watch in a ceramic case and bezel, certified to 300m water resistance is a rather good value. We also find the aesthetics to be very good, with nods back to the OG, and appropriately updated.
In 1969, the DOXA SUB concept passes muster as the Official Watch of the Swiss Army’s Elite Combat Diving unit.
In 1966, the Swiss Army sets up a special force of military divers, trained to become an elite corps. The first members of this highly specialized Swiss diving unit begin training in 1968. It is also around this time that the DOXA SUB 300T passes the stringent evaluation procedure set up by the Swiss Army for the items that would be part of the standard equipment issued to its divers.
Between 1968 and 1975, Swiss Army combat divers are systematically equipped with a SUB 300T Professional – the same as the one launched in 1967, now more popular than ever with divers everywhere.
Approximately 150 SUB 300T Professional watches are issued to the Swiss Army’s elite divers. Etched on the back of each case: the serial number matching the personal diving equipment with each diver – who was also allowed to use the watch off-duty.
The SUB 300T is so popular with the Swiss Army’s elite diving unit that other units outside of Switzerland also adopt this model.
The DOXA Army enters into service
1969: Within the framework of its collaboration with the Swiss Army, DOXA develops a dedicated model, aptly designated “Army” – and branded “The ideal watch for military divers”.
The distinctive matte black case, matte black insert diving bezel and sand-beige dial eliminate any risk of glare whilst ensuring excellent readability in low visibility conditions. In fact, Dr. Peter Nussberger, the Swiss physician of world renown at the forefront of diving medicine (also referred to as undersea and hyperbaric medicine (UHB) and author of numerous reference works, actively accompanies the Swiss Army’s divers – and receives his personal DOXA Army as part of his own military service.
“The DOXA Army is – due to its history with the Swiss Army, and its unusual original design – one of the most sought-after vintage DOXA pieces for collectors. It is truly a pleasure and an honour to call this cult model of our brand back to active duty with this new Limited Edition. This reissue remains painstakingly faithful to the original design, with the black matte ceramic case and COSC-certified precision movement adding a subtle dimension of materials and performance that is in tune with our times. Following the official recognition of the Swiss Army Divers by Swiss Federal Councillor Viola Amherd six months ago, we feel proud and privileged to celebrate not only an exceptional watch born more than 50 years ago, but also the excellent collaboration with our partner ‘Watches of Switzerland’.”Jan Edöcs, CEO of DOXA
The original DOXA Army’s black oxide case
The DOXA Army occupies a special place in the brand’s history not only because of its connection with the Swiss Army. It was also one of the very first watches to use a coating process for cases that was relatively new to the watchmaking industry: the stainless-steel case was blackened by oxidation, giving it a matte black finish that prevented any glare, a key criterion for military equipment. This visual effect, quite original at the time, is maintained in today’s reissue through the choice of matte black ceramic for the case.
The DOXA Army remains a fine example of DOXA’s innovative spirit in the development of diving instruments perfectly adapted to each situation, be it for scuba pioneers such as Captain Jacques Cousteau and his team aboard the Calypso (who praised the patented no-decompression dive bezel introduced with the first SUB models), for professional divers (who appreciated the additional safety and utility of the helium valve-equipped SUB 300T Conquistador), or for use in the military (with the discreet DOXA Army).
Just like the first SUB with its original orange dial, the DOXA Army of that era is now one of the rarest and most sought-after models of the DOXA brand.
Today, more than 50 years after its debut, DOXA and its Anglo-American partner Watches of Switzerland are reissuing the DOXA Army in a very small Limited Edition of only 100 pieces.
Each watch comes in a packaging designed specifically for this edition and sporting the original camouflage pattern used by the Swiss Army at the time the watch was first issued. The box also includes two straps: one made from black FKM rubber and one NATO strap with a camouflage pattern.
See now, buy now: The DOXA Army reissue is available at all Watches of Switzerland retail outlets where DOXA Watches is represented, and on the Watches of Switzerland and DOXA Watches e-commerce platforms.
Doxa Army Watches of Switzerland Edition Technical specifications
Indications: hours, minutes, seconds, date
Matte black ceramic
Titanium chamber for the movement
Diameter: 42.5 mm x 44.5 mm
Thickness: 11.95 mm
Unidirectional rotating bezel
Screw-down titanium crown – threaded titanium case back
Water resistance: 300 meters, equivalent to 30 ATM, approx. 980 feet
Orange hour and minute hands, coated with Super-LumiNova® luminescent material
Painted outside minute track, white
Matte black ceramic, unidirectional rotation
Numerals and dot 12 o’clock coated with Super-LumiNova® luminescent material.
Sellita SW200-1 COSC
Mechanical, self-winding Swiss movement, 3 hands, COSC-certified
Power reserve: 38 hours
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz)
Jewels: 26 rubies
Black FKM rubber strap, colour-matched with the case
Folding clasp, black PVD coating, featuring the exclusive ‘DOXA fish’ symbol and adjustable wetsuit extension
Additional NATO camouflage strap included in the box.