Hands-On With The Doxa Army Bronze Bezel In Hunter Green
We all saw this one coming. The new Doxa Army regular-production models finally hit the market a few months ago. When I first saw Doxa’s limited edition with Watches of Switzerland in the US, I knew this could only mean one thing. The unmistakable Army dial in a black ceramic case was a hit and sold out instantly. It was only a matter of time before the brand brought some iteration of the original Army back to regular production. After all, the vintage Doxa Army is the icing on the cake for many vintage-diver collectors. My favorite is the Doxa Army bronze bezel version. Let’s have a closer look at the model.
Although it might not be the most historically accurate one, the delicate little detail seals the deal for me. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; here’s the whole story.
The original Doxa Army was a particular piece created in 1968. Just a few years earlier, in 1966, the Swiss Army established an elite corps of military divers. This tactical team of highly skilled Swiss combat divers began training in 1968 and needed a unique watch. This is when Doxa comes into the picture. Between 1968 and 1975, some 150 SUB 300 T timepieces were sent to the elite corps, all bearing the name Doxa Army. These timepieces were different from regular-production models. Aside from the unique beige Army dial and logo, the watch had a black oxidized case. Yes, the vintage Doxa Army divers had a black case finish, making them some of the first wristwatches to use a coating process for their cases.
Since the oxidation process was in its early stages back in the ’60s, over time, the black coating rubbed or flaked off. That is why some of the vintage Doxa Army models looked like they had a steel case, whereas others maintained the black layer and looked dark. The company found the perfect way to play with these quirks. The limited edition had a black ceramic case. This marked the introduced of a new case material for Doxa which I’m sure we’ll see more of in the future. In the meantime, the regular-production models came with a steel case. Otherwise, the two (well, three) timepieces are the same. So much for limited editions and vintage models; we are here to have a closer look at the Doxa Army bronze bezel. Don’t worry; I’ll not complicate this more by bringing in another new material.
Steel or bronze?
Why did Doxa make the new Army with a bronze bezel? It has nothing to do with the vintage model unless that is, historically speaking, bronze is a material connected to diving. If you are a fan of the Army’s look, you can get it with a steel bezel. As far as I know, our own Nacho will talk about that model soon, so keep your eyes peeled on Fratello. However, if you are looking for something special, a timepiece with a bit more pizzazz, you can always opt for the Doxa Army bronze bezel. This, without question, would be my choice. There is something unique and warm about the look. There is just enough bronze on the otherwise prominent steel case to make it work. Having a green ceramic bezel is the perfect final touch.
Yes, while the steel Doxa Army has a black ceramic bezel, the bronze bezel Army’s inlay is deep green. If I read the specs on paper, it would look troubling — steel case, bronze bezel, beige/black dial, green bezel inlay, orange hands. Whoa, way too much is going on here. Yet, I think everything is in harmony, and the final result, the Doxa Army bronze bezel, is perfect. The brand found the right mix between vintage and modern with a sprinkle of boldness. Some might say that the bezel is too shiny for the rest of the case, and you might be right. Remember, though, that bronze will eventually develop a patina and darken significantly. Therefore, you are not risking too much by going with the bronze bezel, as it’s barely noticeable. Those who see the difference, though, will appreciate it.
On the wrist
I can tell you everything about the watch, its bezel, or its historical significance; only one test counts. How does it look/feel on the wrist? The Doxa Army bronze bezel is not a small watch. With a 42.5mm case over 12mm thick and almost 45mm from lug tip to lug tip, we have a substantial timepiece on the wrist. That is a diver, though, so it will be pretty chunky. I’m a fan of the Doxa SUB 300’s slim case profile, but that timepiece would not have been accurate. As such, the brand had to go with the SUB 300 T case, and it’s okay. You know what you’re getting when you opt for this watch. Thank God the case back is flat with the Army logo, just like you see on the dial, in the middle.
Rubber or steel
I got the watch on a bezel-matching olive (military?) green rubber strap. I like it, but I don’t love it. This combo looks better in the photos than in real life. Please don’t ask me why. If I had to choose, I’d get it on a beads-of-rice bracelet. For me, divers work better on a bracelet. Not to mention that it can soften the Doxa Army bronze bezel’s look if you need that. The company offers three options — a black or green rubber strap or the bracelet mentioned above. Finally, Doxa re-engineered the clasp on the bracelet, which was much needed and is a significant upgrade. When it comes to the price, there are not a lot of premiums to pay. The watch is €2,250 on the strap and €40 more on the bracelet. And you get a camouflage NATO as a second option as well.
What’s left to say?
The Doxa Army bronze bezel on the bracelet is the priciest at €2,290. For the steel-bezel version, you have to pay €200 less. Still, I think that the extra money is well worth it. You’ll get the timepiece in a compact case on the choice of your strap and an additional NATO for versatility. I find it to be a great deal of an affordable diver. Due to its significant size, I’d suggest you try one on before committing to buying it. Once that’s done and you love what you see, it’s a no-brainer. I loved my Doxa Army bronze bezel while it was with me, and I’m sure you will love yours too.