Tiffany blue. Vintage. Sub. All words that conjure hypebeast wishes and caviar dreams. But can you get satisfaction out of a $179 watch that looks like a Doxa Sub 300T took a walk down Fifth Avenue?
I think so?
The Seestern Vintage Sub 300 is a Doxa homage, of that we have no doubt. The piece isn’t quite a replica but it is a near-perfect copy of the original orange-faced Doxa made popular by the Dirk Pitt series of books and it features the Doxa “double” bezel and the odd flying saucer-shaped case. It has a great blue lume on the bold hands and pips and even features a lumed date wheel. It is ostensibly waterproof to 200 meters but I wouldn’t go that deep with it.
This is, to be clear, a new form of fashion watch. It takes the best of a number of brands, including the Tiffany dial, and gives you something that you can wear with relative pride to the beach or a popular gathering. No one with any watch smarts would mistake this for any kind of luxury item but, you know what? Who cares. For $179 you can easily take a flyer on these things and come away happy.
As I’ve noted multiple times on the Hourtime Podcast, I believe these are the new entry-level pieces. While they’re not perfect – I’m absolutely certain this thing will break under hard usage, steel case be damned – they are just fine. If you’re looking for a Doxa and can afford the ridiculous premium associated with modern Swiss brands then by all means, buy a Doxa. If you want a fun watch named after a starfish (“seestern” means starfish in German) then you won’t be disappointed.
Assessing this thing on its own merits isn’t hard. It’s a well-made watch with an acceptable movement and nice case. It wears well and is very comfortable. It actually looks pretty good, if a little too compressed for my taste, and the blue face isn’t quite Tiffany blue as much as just a hair off. I was honestly worried it would look bad but it definitely doesn’t. It runs a solid Seiko NH35A movement, which is another reason why it scratches that entry-level diver itch.
Why should you pick one of these up?
Well, maybe you’re looking for a nice vacation watch that you won’t mind breaking. Or maybe you like blue. Or maybe you’re a diver on a budget. Any of these are valid reasons. This watch is on par with the original Orange Monster, a personal favorite for folks looking for their first “nice” watch and I have no trouble recommending this to entry-level watch lovers.
Again, a real Doxa is a real Doxa. The quality is superior and you pay for the brand. The Seestern is like Danny DeVito in Twins: it’s odd, it’s weird, and no one would mistake it for something that Arnold Schwarzenegger would wear. That said, it’s pretty cool.