Dive Watch Wednesday: The Swiss Military’s Doxa Dive Watch

Doxa Sub 300T EMD issued - FrontDue to the fact that the development of most early dive watches was heavily influenced, or even directly initiated, by armed services around the world, it is no surprise that a large number of these watches were in fact used and issued by them as well. It did, however, come as a surprise to us here at Diveintowatches.com that even the Swiss Armed Forces at one point issued a very small number of its own Swiss-made dive watches.

And in case you are wondering, I use the word “even” because the military of Switzerland, a famously neutral country, is not exactly known for its combat divers, or its large marine corps. (However, to be fair: there were once nearly 100 armed, small patrol boats used on Swiss lakes as a part of the engineer corps, but the boats currently used for this task will soon be withdrawn from service.)

But, back to watches. Around 1970, a small number of regular Doxa Sub 300T Professional watches were indeed purchased for this Swiss engineer corps, which also included a group of combat divers (from 1969 to 1979). Those watches were engraved on the caseback with markings of the EMD (Eidgenössisches Militärdepartment, for “Swiss Federal Military Department”) as well as with an individual number (not legible in the pictures below). The bezel’s decompression scale was in meters. Apart from that, the watches were standard Doxa Sub watches, with their famous — and, to be honest, not very tactical — bright orange dials.

Doxa Sub 300T EMD-issued - Front

Doxa Sub 300T EMD-issued - Caseback cu

In the 1990s, some of those watches were apparently sold to the public (and I don’t even want to know at what price) during regular armory sales. I did, in fact, have the chance to come across two of them in the last eight years: one was sold in 2008 to a vintage watch dealer in Switzerland, the other one (which does not appear to be the same watch) currently belongs to Doxa and was exhibited in 2012 in the beautiful Musée d’Horlogerie du Locle in the Château des Monts during the brand’s temporary exhibition, “Histoire d’une marque horlogère locloise de 1889 à 2012.” This model (pictured below) is believed to have been the watch of the Chief Instructor of the Swiss combat diving unit.

Doxa Sub 300T EMD-issued - MHL Front

From my own compulsory military service, I did at least get to keep my army knife, but seeing these vintage Doxa watches makes me wish I’d tried to join a different unit.

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