Review: Marnaut Dark Surge

One thing many of the past centuries great explorers have in common is a soft spot for a good wristwatch. Think Buzz Aldrin and his Speedmaster, or Ed Hillary and his Rolex. Afterall even on the surface of the moon or on the summit of Everest, time doesn’t stop.

Wanting a reliable and tough watch for my own expeditions I went hunting and came across a new independent brand from Croatia called Marnaut. Besides being stylish – which is, of course, the most important feature – Marnaut’s new flagship watch caught my eye. So after reaching out to Marnaut, I managed to get my hands on a Dark Surge just as it came to market earlier this year.

I opted to test out a Dark Surge 300B which comes with an all-black face, casing and strap and took it for its first big run-out during a five-day mini Arctic expedition in Norway. I used the watch for keeping an eye on my rest breaks – which often drift over time – and for setting short time focused goals.


The Dark Surge is, in essence, a no-frills dive watch (300m water resistant). There are no minute markers, which might not suit everyone, but it does have a rotating bezel to help mark increments of less than five minutes.

I clumsily bashed it on things like my shovel, used it in sub-zero temperatures and wore it for five days solid without any issues. Straight out of the box I noticed that its a weighty timepiece so it doesn’t suprise me that it fared well in the field.

If you’re a fan of looks, then the Dark Surge really ticks that box. It’s got a particularly interesting face with 43 hand placed ‘glow in the dark’ marker dots which are inspired by “the texture and symmetry of the extraordinary and enduring sea urchin shell” found on the beaches of the CEO’s home town in Croatia.


Being an analogue timepiece which is powered by movement, batteries aren’t a worry, which is music to the ears of a cold-weather traveller. But the downside is if you don’t wear it often enough, it will freeze and you’ll have to reset the time again. A relatively minor irritation.

Since Norway, the Dark Surge has rarely left my wrist and its been at home both in the hills of the Peak District and at meetings in the workplace. It comes with two straps, so you can switch between a more sporty silicone band or a smarter distressed leather alternative.

In short, the Dark Surge does what it says on the tin and it’s a tough cookie. It doesn’t have any extra features like a barometer or altimeter etc. but if like me all you need is the time and stylish design it’s an excellent alternative to pricier competitors.

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Disclaimer: I was gifted the Marnaut Dark Surge in return for testing and photographing it in Arctic conditions.