Salvaged Diver: Matt’s Doxa T. Graph

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The story you’re about to read may seem like a tall tale. After all, Doxa T. Graphs don’t surface often. Matt was told by our watch community’s resident Doxa expert, analog/shift’s James Lamdin, that to his knowledge less than 30 T. Graphs have been accounted for out of the nearly one thousand believed to have been produced.

What’s more, Matt’s T. Graph is a black dial, Sub. 200 “Sharkhunter.” This version of the diver/chronograph hybrid has been called, “the rarest of an already rare breed,” by the man who wrote the book on Doxa watches (and the website), Dr. Peter Millar.

Salvaged Diver: Matt's Doxa T-Graph

Now that you’re starting to grasp what a treasure this Doxa is, we’ll get into how Matt found it. We’re proud to share Matt’s story for a lot of reasons. One being it serves as inspiration to hunt for vintage watches. Contrary to what you may think, the well has not dried up. The cornerstone of your collection might just be in your backyard…

Matt’s adventure began on a treadmill (he was trying to shed a few pounds after holiday leftovers got the best of him). He had his earbuds in – tuning out the world – except for the hosts of The Grey Nato Podcast – James Stacey and Jason Heaton. While listening to Episode 24, he became intrigued about Doxa watches the more Jason waxed on about his silver dial T. Graph “Searambler” – his favorite watch find of the past year. A short time later Matt did a Google search for “Doxa” to see if any vintage specimens popped up for sale. Well the watch gods must have been looking down on him because on one of the search results pages was a link to an auction site featuring a listing with “Doxa” in the description…

Once Matt clicked through to the website, he was faced with murky, poor resolution photos. To make matters worse, the Doxa in question didn’t have the bright orange dial known for its legibility in deep, dark depths. This particular Doxa had a black dial, the only bright spot being a pair of contrasting, light grey sub-dials…. He thought to himself, “could that be a T. Graph?”

Salvaged Diver: Matt's Doxa T-Graph

Instead of requesting more detailed photos, Matt decided to check it out in person. Yup, as if this story couldn’t get any better, this blue lobster of a Doxa was trapped at a mom-and-pop antique store – a 45 minute drive from his home.

When he asked to see the watch, a young girl pulled a dilapidated cardboard box lid from a display case. As Matt sifted through the watches looking for the Doxa, he noticed a theme… The watches were mostly the diving variety. There was a small ’60s Paul Portinoux, a ’73 Seiko 6105-811X, an ’80s quartz Casio and a ’90s Luminox. Collectively they profiled someone who seemed to be an avid recreational diver.

When he finally dredged the Doxa from the heap, it was clearly a pearl of a watch, appearing to be totally honest. It looked exactly how an almost 50-year-old dive watch is supposed to look: a marked-up case, chewed up bezel, heavily scratched crystal and a bit of wabi-sabi on the hands.

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After winning the auction, Matt found out the pile of watches was brought in by an elderly couple. They either belonged to the husband or were an estate find the couple sold to the antique mall…

We’d like to think this Doxa spent a good chunk of its life in and around bodies of water, perhaps getting tangled up in fishing nets or knocking against the gunwale of a ship whenever the water got choppy. One clue that leads us to believe it did indeed heed its calling is a squiggly inscription on the caseback identifying a former owner, “CAPT. BOB WOLF.”

Hopefully Captain Wolf is still going strong. One thing’s for sure, thanks to Matt, this old Doxa is getting its sea legs back – so to speak. Just like there’s a lot of sunken treasure waiting to be recovered from shipwrecks on the ocean floor, there’s watches out there waiting to be found… So go pull up eBay or run to your nearest thrift store…

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