New Watches: DOXA, Audemars Piguet, Seiko, and Others

Posted by Robert Farago on March 24, 2021

DOXA SUB 300 Carbon – $4k

Watch enthusiasts greeted the return of the 1967 DOXA SUB 300 with open hearts and open wallets. The Truth About Watches was a little more circumspect, concluding that the $2490 DOXA SUB 300 Searambler is “Not a practical dive watch and plenty pricey, but if you like the design, you’ll love the watch.”

The even more financially challenging Carbon model fixes the practicality issue with 300m of water resistance (up from 100m). The new improved version is a COSC Certified Chronometer, promising -4 to +6 seconds per day accuracy. As for the pressure-resistant titanium (not carbon fiber) case . . .

At 42.5mm, the cushion-shaped container makes the dial look less dinky than it does nestling in the steel cased SUB 300 Searambler. The real hero: the Carbon’s FKM faux rubber strap. “It is the softest, most pliable and comfortable rubber strap I’ve ever owned,” commentator Rice and Gravy asserts at watchuseek.com.

More than that, the Crayola strap is like the Dude’s rug in The Big Lebowski: it ties the horological room together. Though sure to offend traditionalists, the optimistically priced DOXA SUB 300 Carbon is a better watch and, IMHO, better looking than any of its predecessors. And you thought I was a hater.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver – $22,300

Gerald Genta’s original Royal Oak was an understated masterpiece that invented the Swiss steel sports watch genre. The new Royal Oak Offshore Diver pisses on Genta’s legacy, from its oversized “mega tapisserie” dial texture (in grey, navy blue or olive green), to the undersized dial size (relative to the case), to the oversized crowns (one of which rotates the inner bezel). The Oak’s trademark move, the integrated bracelet? Gone! Aside from the “diver’s helmet” bezel, the Diver has about as much “Oak” to it as a potted plant.

To be fair, the Diver trumps a standard Royal Oak’s water resistance by a factor of 10 (300m vs. 30m). As no scuba diver worth their salt dives without a dive computer strapped to their wrist, who cares? Leaving us with an ungainly watch powered by a modified Code 11.59 movement (AP has a lot of those hanging around). New watch alert! The only way this thing makes sense: the completely OTT limited edition orange Offshore Diver Chrono (above). Go garish or go home? That’s AP these days.

Seiko Prospex LX SNR031 – $6k

SeikoSeiko ProspexGrand Seiko. Makes sense, right? Good movements with durable cases and dials; better movements with fancier cases and elegant dials; best movements with immaculate cases and perfect dials. Cheap, not-so-cheap, expensive. New watch alert! If you think a $6k Prospex dive watch fits this brand matrix it’s time to stop taking the blue pill. The catchily named LX SNR031 is a Grand Seiko in all but name, and quite the babe it is too . . .

Sinn U1-T DS LE – $2850

$2850’s not a lot of scratch for a scratched dial Sinn UT-1 DS. The über-legible Sinn offers a U-boatload of tool watch technology for the money. The case, bezel, bracelet and locking clasp are all made of corrosion resistant tegimented steel – the same hardened material Germany’s six stealthy submarines depend on to not sink (unless ordered to do so). Panerai-shunning Kampfschwimmers will be pleased to know the UT-1 is water resistant to 1000m. Best of all . . .

“No two dials are alike,” Sinn promises. “The result created through the machining process cannot be repeated,” they add in computer-translated German, in case you’re worried about running into another UTR-1 DS owner. More intriguing: “While the dial appears grey from afar, up close it becomes more evident that the base material can change color depending upon the angle of the light.” At 44.8mm, the UT-1 DS catches a lot of light. But it ain’t light, tipping scales at well over four ounces. A small burden to bear for a pre-scratched scratch-proof watch? We report, you deride.

Swatch X MOMA The Starry Night By Vincent Van Gogh The Watch – $100

Friends, Romans, countrymen! Lend me your ear! New watch alert! The Van Gogh-inspired plastic fantastic quartz-powered timepiece sets itself apart from Swatch’s strange descent into roll-your-own watches, where you drag an image around to create a bespoke version of an underlying design. The cool thing: this MOMA collab honoring Vinnie’s Starry Night isn’t an obvious homage. It’s a work of art in its own right . . .

Notice the way the dial design continues onto the case and band. The thick and lustrous “brush strokes” swirling across the face. To use art history terminology, that’s some cool sh*t.

The MOMA Swatch marks a return to the Swiss brand’s artsy fartsy collector roots. Unlike the recent Keith Haring Mickey Mouse mishegoss, Swatch’s MOMA series evokes the artists’ works without billboarding them. They’re an “in the know” fashion statement that can be appreciated by those who aren’t. The watches are also legible, practical and cheap. Right answer. 

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