Is's been almost exactly five years ago when a member of the Croatian watch forum, which I am also a member of, published the link to this article. As you can see an article announced a new micro watch brand called Marnaut, which has a Croatian origins. Even though I am not from Croatia, I (as of course a lot of my forum friends that were actually from Croatia) was intrigued by this fact. I even checked kickstarter project, but even though I liked the design, the fact that the watch, called Dark Surge, had a relatively high price for a Miyota 9015 powered watch prevented me to pull the trigger on that Kickstarter. Namely, back in 2018 the kickstarter price was 450 EUR with the high probability of additional taxes and shipping from Hong Kong, what we believed would be the case, so the total cost nearly 600 EUR. And then I forgot about it.
Well, last month some other member again shared a link, that Marnaut watches obviously succeed and that there is a Marnaut webpage which also includes a webshop. I checked this shop at once and noticed that beside classic original diver Dark Surge model, the brand extended their collection to a compressor type Seascape models as well. Both models are made in three versions, so basically six different watches. Let me give you an important remark - at the time being, so a little less than two months later, brand introduced also the third model, this time a classic dress watch, called Safe Harbour, again in three versions.
The biggest surprise was that all watches are now powered by Selitta SW200 - 1b movement. And that is not all. Watches have nothing to do with China, they are assembled in Germany. The brand even have the show room in the Croatian island of Brač on the Adriatic coast. But it was not clear where the watches are shipped from if you make an order by email. So just to be sure I asked a question about the shipment and within 10 minutes a brand owner Mr. Mario Jutronic replied that watches are shipped from Split (Croatia) using DHL express.
I usually discuss prices at the end, but this time I will start with them. Namely, prices are more then competitive! The Dark Surge models all have the same price -749 EUR, the Seascape 699 EUR, the latest Safe Harbour just 549 EUR. Having in mind that Croatia is part of the EU, those prices are final prices for EU customers. As said for a Selitta movement watches very competitive. So, there was no question should I take it or not but rather which one to take!
All models have the same dial design. As said before, the main difference is in the case construction. The Dark Surge is a 41mm classic diver with 300m water resistance and outer bezel with 120 clicks. Seascape is a 40mm compressor type diver with 200m water resistance and inner bezel hence with double crowns. The Safe Harbour is a 39mm dress watch without bezel.
Since I like bigger watches, the first pick was to go for the one of the watches from a Dark Surge models. I was afraid that even 41mm might be small ... Next I had to pick which one out of three should I take. Just to remind you - one is a steel case with black bezel, the second is the steel case with grey bezel and the third is all black (so DLC case). It is uncommon that prices are the same for all three models so DLC is not more expensive as we are used to see in most of the brands. Therefore the price was not the factor in choosing the watch. Even though the best looking watch for me is an all black version, as you can see, at the end I decided to pull a trigger on a steel/black version. Practical reasons prevailed.
Order went smoothly, two days latter I received the following:
First impression was great. Watch looks beautiful. I winded it, set it up at once and put it on my wrist. My enthusiasm stopped after few minutes. Watch did not work properly. The second hand stopped at tenth second every circle. So obviously something blocked the second hand at that position. I contacted Mr. Jutronic at once, sending him a video how watch works (or better how does it not work). Mr. Jutronic again responded at once and arranged to send me a new replacement watch next day. Without waiting for the broken one to be shipped back to him! So no arguing about the malfunction, no complication of repair the existing one, just straight solution! I of course sent the broken watch back, but the new watch was received on the day I sent the broken one.
I received the new watch just in time to take the watch with me to my main summer holidays, spent in the Adriatic coast in - Croatia. So the watch was tested and worn in it's natural habitat :)
The most recognizable detail of all Marnaut watches is the dial. It's mimicking the shell of a sea- urchin. And that does very well. So all those dots on the dial are not there just for the fun... Even though the watch is powered with Selitta SW200 movement, which is a movement with date complication, the Marnaut watches do not have date complication. My guess is that the main reason is the ruin of the symmetry that the date window would make.
Speaking of dots. I was afraid that dots can have an impact on readibility of the time as a "false hands". Fortunately, that is not the case. The minute and hour hands are thick and long enough plus very distinctive thus reading the time is never a problem. I am not sure however what happens on a dress Safe Harbour model, which has a very thin hands. The second hand also has a dot on it and that dot runs on the last dots circle. Looks nice.
Dots on a dial makes another problem in designing the outlook. There is no much space for the text. The most noticeable problem with the space is shown at 6, where the word automatic is printed in two rows. Very unusual, if I use a polite word.. More space is at the top, what is used for the name of the brand, name of the model and even the water resistance.
Interesting detail are geographical coordinates printed at the very bottom of the dial. Each model has a different coordinates, they represent the place where the basis idea of the construction of each model was born. All coordinates are around island of Brač including the nearest coast city Split.
I already mentioned the one directional, 120 clicks bezel, which is ceramic. I have a small complain about it. Namely there is some "space" in the setting, it allows counter turning for almost half a minute. You can almost get the impression that it is bidirectional. I am almost sure that was not the case on the first day, it is possible that bezel has loosened it's stiffness during the constant use within the sea, shower, etc. Not a good sign if that is true.
Yes, I wore this watch constantly for one month, almost 24h daily. It was excused only during my cycling sessions (I use my sport watch during cycling...). It has proven to be a very reliable companion. During the entire time I did not have to wind it manually and I never have to reset the time. Within one month watch lost less than a minute.
The reading of the time is easy under the see and even at night due to very good luminova. Not all of dots are luminated so designers were aware of potential problem of "false hands" if everything would be luminated. Bezel is also luminated.
Even though watch has "only" 41mm and L2L of 46mm, watch on the wrist looks bigger, what I like. I believe the main reason is the fact that the dial itself has almost 35mm and that makes watch optically bigger.
The rubber strap is not the best looking rubber strap that I have seen (actually those models of rubber straps with lots of holes are among less desirable for me), but it is very comfortable, soft, pleasant to wear. On my wrist with the rubber strap watch fits very naturally. No complains here at all. I did not have the chance nor a desire to change the strap to a leather one. So I can't give you any impressions how the leather strap feels on the wrist. It feels soft, thin, but as said that is just the impression out of the watch. Lugs are 20mm but they are not quick release.
Glass is of course sapphire, back plate is not. It is standard backplate which is used to put all all kind of information. For my friends from Croatia the most important one is the "Design in Croatia".
Crown is of course screwed in and signed with "M", sign.
An interesting detail is a proof of authenticity card with an QR code. You have to install the "CertiEye" app on your phone, then you can read this QR code and app confirms that the watch with the stated serial number is original and when it was purchased.
So, the final verdict. Watch has proven to be very useful and well made summer companion, with very good p/q ratio. unexpectedly I had the chance to test the post sale support which was perfect. So by all means the Marnaut microbrand is something my Croatian watch fellows can be proud of. And for non Croatians certainly a microbrand that deserves your attention.