- conjurer (Online)
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- Joined: July 13th 2010, 10:00pm
In this hobby of ours, so many things seem to impress us that make non-WIS's eyes glaze over and look for the nearest window to dive out of rather than continue to listen to our watch talk. One of those that I always found remarkably tiresome was the tenuous connection that some brands/models have with fictional characters. James Bond had his Rolex Sub, Dr. Maturin had his Breguet minute repeater, and Dirk Pitt has his Doxa. Whoa! Dirk Pitt? Bond was cool, Maturin superbly drawn, but Dirk Pitt, the fictional secret agent guy penned by Clive Cussler, was a two-dimensional cross between Jacques Cousteau and Pee Wee Herman. Cussler's absurd, appallingly written, sophomoric underwater tales bored me to tears when I was in high school--the fact that anybody wastes their time reading them today drives me to despair, even more so than Dan Brown's popularity--and Dan Brown's pretty fucking awful.
Anyway, now that I've got that off my chest, let's take a look at a Microbrand that pays homage to Doxa--if such a thing is even possible--the Irreantum Magellan:
This watch was loaned to me by a Noted Collector for this humble series; I thought it would be fun to compare it to the Doxa Sub 1000t that I used to own, and see how it fared.
The Magellan is bigger, to start with; it measures 45mm across, and 50mm with the 4 o'clock crown included. Top to bottom it's 47mm, and sits 13.7mm tall on the wrist. It wears very similar to a Seiko Sumo, for those familiar with that watch. The Doxa 1000t was more classically sized at a bit over 41mm on the case, although it wore smaller, like a 40mm.
The next thing different is the bezel, which has only a divers scale, as opposed to the Doxa, which had their patented decompression table along with the timing scale. The bezel on the Magellan turns nicely, 120 clicks, and doesn't bind. I recall my Doxa having a stiffer bezel that didn't turn as easily. The Magellan's bezel has a little backplay on it, but it hits the hour markers precisely.
The dial on the Magellan has nothing on it but the indices and the maker's name:
It's also got great lume:
Which easily passed the quick-glance-in-a-dark-car test, although the hour makers faded a bit too quickly. It was still very legible in just about all lighting conditions.
Conspicuously absent is the "SWISS MADE" designation that was carried by the Doxa--although there has been some heated discussion of that which I won't get into here--and I assume the Magellan was made in China or Hong Kong. The rest of the case is nicely machined and finished, including the caseback and the crown:
The crown is big and easy to turn and seats down with five or six twists--however, the threads seemed a little gritty and the spring inside the crown tube seemed pretty tight, making the action on the crown seem a little cheap--this is exactly as I recall the 1000t being, too, so Irreantum got that part right. The case is stainless steel and rated to 500 meters WR, so it's half the water resistance of the Doxa, if that matters to you. The crystal is sapphire, just like the Doxa's.
One iconic bit about Doxa is the beads-of-rice bracelet, which at one time, perhaps back when Clive Cussler got his, it actually was a BoR, but now it's just a single piece, machined to look the part. This is exactly how Irreantum made their bracelet, too:
The Magellan's bracelet is 22mm, 2mm bigger than the Doxa, and, like the Doxa, there's no taper at the clasp--a drawback to me, as I like a bracelet to taper a bit at the bottom of my wrist. The clasp on the Magellan, however, blows away the Doxa, which was a cheap fold-over divers clasp, while the Magellan's:
Is a nicely machined triplock style--a little big for me, as it was clunky on the bottom of my wrist--but quite well done.
On the wrist the Magellan sits well:
And, like I said, wears very much like a Sumo, apart from the chunkier bracelet. I've found that I really am not comfortable with a watch above 45mm on my 6.75 inch wrist, and the Magellan is about as big as I can get without feeling and looking like a doofus.
Inside the Magellan is an ETA 2824, which is--perhaps not so surprisingly--the same movement as used in the Doxa 1000t (although Doxa claimed to have modified it with a special shock absorbing escapement.) Interestingly, the Magellan was far more accurate than the Doxa--I was getting about +1-2 seconds a day, which was better than the Doxa, which was around +9-10 seconds a day.
Now, the big question--is the Irreantum Magellan a better watch than the Doxa? Does it at least hold its own? I'd say that it at least hold's its own, especially since the Magellan's retail price is $545 (direct from their website) vs. Doxa, which is currently selling the 1200t (the 1000t now discontinued) for the jaw-dropping price of $1890.
If you want a watch that looks like Doxa, keeps better time than Doxa, and costs a third of the price, consider the Magellan. This is a Microbrand that's come up with a winner.