Summer Splash — Semi-Final 1: Thor’s Doxa SUB 300 Divingstar Vs. Jorg’s Tudor Pelagos FXD
The people have spoken! After the preliminaries of our Summer Splash contest, there are only four watches left. Today is the first of the two semi-finals. Who will go on to have a shot at the title? You get to decide which of the two watches proceeds to the grand final! So grab your sunglasses, get yourself an ice-cold drink, and get ready for the semi-finals of this year’s Fratello Summer Splash! In this first face-off, Thor’s very own Doxa SUB 300 Divingstar is up against Jorg’s contender, the Tudor Pelagos FXD. They are both divers with a great history, but only one can go on. Let’s find out who it will be!
Let’s remind ourselves of the rules set up for this contest by our head honcho Nacho. The only physical requirement for a watch to participate in the competition is that it has to be colorful. That means no black, white, or gray dials this time. Other than that, basically, anything goes. It doesn’t need to be water-resistant or a dive watch per se, and in terms of pricing, there’s also no minimum or maximum. The watches, however, should all be readily available for anyone to buy. So, discontinued, waitlisted, and vintage watches are out. And remember, there are prizes to win here for you as well! Make sure to read how at the end of this article. With that out of the way, let’s get this show on the road.
Summer Splash Semi-Final 1: Doxa vs. Tudor
Before we let Jorg and Thor’s battle commence, let’s remind ourselves how we got here. In round 1 of our Summer Splash contest, Thor’s Doxa SUB 300 Divingstar crushed Daan’s Autodromo Group B Aqua, taking 80% of the votes versus 20% for the Autodromo. From the get-go, you all made it perfectly clear that the Doxa was not to be threatened by the colorful version of the Autodromo Group B.
In round 2, Jorg’s Tudor Pelagos FXD took 64% of the votes versus 36% of the votes going to Lex’s Hublot Big Bang Integral Ceramic Sky Blue. The end result might imply that the Tudor had its nose ahead from the start, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The Hublot took a quick but small lead in the early stages of the battle. Slowly, the Tudor caught up with the Big Bang, and for a while, the battle was really close. In the end, however, you made it clear that the Pelagos FXD deserved a spot in our first semi-final. Now, it’s over to Jorg and Thor to take it from here.
Jorg’s pick: Tudor Pelagos FXD “Marine Nationale”
Here we are again, Thor! It’s been only a couple of weeks since we battled each other in our Sunday Morning Showdown series. While this match-up might not come as a surprise, Lex’s Hublot put up a good fight. But despite being behind by a small margin, I had faith in the Fratelli that the Tudor would come out on top. Not only was the Tudor the more sensible choice in terms of specs and price, but it also comes with a better story than the Hublot. But I’m pretty sure it won’t be that easy this time around.
Both of our picks come with a strong reputation and a great story to back it up. But I have a pretty good feeling that the Tudor will be able to come out on top, Thor. Why? Because the Pelagos FXD is objectively the better summer watch. It has everything going for it to be the better summer watch besides a bright yellow dial. Now, I know that is a big part of the Doxa SUB 300’s appeal, but I hope that our readers are willing to look past the bright yellow color and see why the Tudor is better.
What are you looking for in a summer watch?
When it comes to the Doxa SUB 300, I have nothing but respect for it. I love seeing it, and I love its story and legacy. But if I had to pick a SUB 300 to be my summer watch, I would pick the SUB 300 Carbon. In my view, the combination of the contrasting colors of the dark carbon and the bright dials and straps make those the ones to have. The Aquamarine version is an absolute stunner. Additionally, the Carbon version is a lot lighter, and that is a very important aspect of a summer watch for me.
It’s an aspect that also played a big part in picking the Tudor Pelagos FXD for this contest. With its 42mm titanium case, it’s a smidgen smaller than your 42.5mm Doxa, but it’s a lot easier to wear. Especially with the variety of summer activities ahead, it makes it more versatile than your bright yellow SUB 300. In terms of practicality, the Pelagos is also the better watch. If there is one thing that has always visually bothered me with the SUB 300, it’s the ultra-small dial. Especially in combination with the colorful twin-scale bezel and the abundance of steel, it needs the fat hands to create a legible display. Sure, it has character, but let’s remind ourselves of why people call the Pelagos models the true Tudor watches.
The brilliance of the Tudor Pelagos FXD
When it comes to character, the Pelagos FXD has plenty of it. The combination of the titanium case with the blue color is something we know from the regular Pelagos. But for this Pelagos FXD, Tudor chose “Marine Nationale blue”, which is a little bit darker and a lot richer than the blue color of the regular model. On top of that, the watch features the iconic Tudor Pelagos handset and dial. The dial has the oversized square and rectangular markers that make it instantly recognizable. Add the handset with its snowflake hour hand, and you have a design that excels in practicality and is unmistakably Tudor.
On the wrist, the watch wears like a charm. Its 200m water-resistant case is 42mm in diameter, 12.75mm thick, and 52mm lug-to-lug. The fixed lugs add a lot of character as well. Sure, they might prevent you from wearing it on a two-piece strap, but I would not need that for the summertime anyway. Both the fabric and rubber pass-through straps that it comes with give it plenty of presence, and switching up the look is easy. I noticed you mentioned the accuracy of the Doxa’s ETA movement beating your Tudor Black Bay. I’m willing to take my chances with Tudor’s chronometer-certified caliber MT5602. I have faith in the Fratelli that they won’t make it the deciding factor, Thor. At €3,680, this is probably the best in class when it comes to modern dive watches. With a story to back it up, I have full confidence in the Tudor Pelagos FXD going all the way!
Thor’s pick: Doxa SUB 300 Divingstar
I almost sympathize with Jorg trying to distract you from the SUB 300 by pitching other Doxa alternatives alongside a barrage of Tudor photos. The FXD is true to its military inspiration, but it’s just too hardcore. The Doxa, however, goes 100 meters deeper without that crazy NATO-only lug design making the 12.75mm FXD seriously fat. If you love bracelets or are a strap-a-holic, you’ll be tearing out your hair from the limited choice. There’s the (admittedly good) OEM fabric strap or… erm… other NATO straps. Diving, swimming, and even showering with a NATO strap is uncomfortable. This week, we hit a sweltering 28 degrees here in Norway(!), and NATOs are like a clammy embrace.
My SUB 300 might be 13.4mm thick, but what your eye and arm perceive is the outer rim of the case. That’s a sliver-slim 3.2mm while the rest of the thickness is in the middle of the watch. The case back itself is tucked in, making the experience silky smooth. The SUB 300 beads-of-rice bracelet, which might seem heavy for the summer, shrugs off heat and water. After all, Cousteau scuba-dived with one for a reason, not a fancy, soaking-wet fabric strap.
Versatility beyond strap choices
Sorry about my strap rant; it will not apply to everybody. Some of you love NATO straps, and I do too, but only with T-shirts. The Doxa wears impossibly flat on its quirky-cool elegant bracelet, meaning it will also slip under a shirt. The lug-to-lug is a short 45mm, and summers are notoriously unpredictable. When the nights are cool, just try to squeeze the fat NATO’ed FXD under a jumper. If you’re a fan of rubber straps, the matching “power yellow” of the wrist-shaped Doxa rubber is a godsend. Wearing smooth and soft, it’s even more of a summer vibe, making the flat-lying Doxa an ergonomic dream. Dial-wise, I actually love the classic snowflake Tudor hands, but I need some color or bling for my summer choice. Why so serious, Tudor? That Pelagos blue is as matte as a €15 IKEA plastic chair, even if the chunky indices are kind of cool.
Dare to be different
This is such a cliché, but it’s fitting for the Doxa. In the first round, I toned down the yellow in Lightroom and still won. These shots are undoctored and true to life — it is actually that bright. At over a grand less than the “classic” Tudor design with the limiting lugs, the Doxa SUB 300 grabs more attention that an emerald-bezel Yacht-Master. The dial is small, yes, but if it were any larger, its yellow radiance would be a danger to pedestrians and drivers alike. Any Doxa is an acquired taste, but who wants to look like everyone else? Embrace the madness of a minuscule hour hand and a cricket-bat minute hand in gloss-black lacquer on a glossy lemon dial. Then, go ahead and wear it with something “wrong” like a suit jacket for the summer cocktail party. Watch the smiles appear where the FDX would look shamefully out of place. Rock on, converted Lemonheads! I will see you in the final.
Now it’s your turn!
All right, Thor and Jorg have made their cases for the first semi-final of this year’s Summer Splash. Now it’s up to you, dear Fratelli, to tell us which one of these colorful watches should take the win! Will it be the bright yellow Doxa SUB 300 Divingstar? Or will you go for the “Marine Nationale blue” Tudor Pelagox FXD? Vote now, and please let us know in the comments why your favorite should make it to the next round!
And don’t forget, there are prizes to be won here! We have gotten our hands on three Casio G-Shock DW-5610DN-9ER watches, and whoever makes the best suggestion in the comments for the competition’s wild-card summer watch will receive one of them. The second one will go to one of our most engaged commenters on the site, and the final one will be given to one lucky Instagram follower (check out the stories for more details). So, you have multiple chances and ways of winning! Good luck to you all, and see you in the next semi-final!