Marnaut opens a new chapter with a Croatian boutique, Swiss movements and German manufacturing Marnaut opens a new chapter with a Croatian boutique, Swiss movements and German manufacturing

Marnaut opens a new chapter with a Croatian boutique, Swiss movements and German manufacturing

Borna Bošnjak

A common feature of any independent brand, micro or otherwise, is the brave undertaking of “cutting out the middleman”. Even though this phrase has become overused, and in some cases, rightfully ridiculed, the success of many independent brands lies in online-only availability, which is often one of the main driving forces behind affordable prices. Yet even the most intuitively designed website and the most polished checkout experience cannot replace the feeling of walking out of a shop with a sleek bag containing some goodies, and a new, shiny watch on your wrist. Marnaut, a microbrand whose Croatian roots hit approximately 270 kilometres south of my hometown of Zagreb, recognised this by taking the next step and opening a boutique. Coinciding with this significant development, Marnaut has also shifted away from Miyota power, opting for Sellita instead, with assembly moving to the German town of Pforzheim, which will be the birthplace of their latest model, slated for a summer 2023 release.

New location, new opportunities

If you’re a small brand looking to get the maximum possible exposure from your physical location, surely, the right move would be to open a store in the busiest town centre that budget allows. Supetar, a town of some 3,000 inhabitants situated on the northern shores of the island of Brač, is about as far from that as it gets. Truth be told, it is the largest settlement on the island, but it’s neither its size nor the quaint limestone architecture that attracted Marnaut’s founder, Mario Jutronić, to the area.

“I’m from Brač, and growing up, I spent my summers here”, he explains. “It feels natural to have our first showroom so close to home and the sea. The watches and the essence of the brand are inspired by this dramatic seascape.”

A new introduction

Until recently, Marnaut’s design was inspired by dive watches of the 1950s and 1960s – a single look at the skin diver aesthetic of the Dark Surge or the dual crowns of the Seascape confirmed that. New for the summer months of 2023, Marnaut is presenting their first dressy take on a watch with the Safe Harbour. The lugs that directly integrate into the case middle immediately reminded me of the likes of the Universal Genève White Shadow, though the dial is distinctly Marnaut.

Sized at 39mm, it will be available in two dial options with a stainless-steel case, or a super-stealth, black-on-black PVD case. Despite its classier intentions, Marnaut didn’t forget to imbue the Safe Harbour with a bit of nautical spirit, as the watch sports a screw-down crown and caseback ensuring 100 metres of water resistance.

Small, but meaningful upgrades

Finally, the brand’s established model, the Dark Surge, receives some welcome updates. Created for those with larger wrists, or those that simply prefer a larger watch, the long lugs and 42mm diameter of the first-gen Dark Surge alienated those looking for more subdued proportions. The redesign doesn’t just end with the case, however, extending to the bezels, which are now ceramic, a dial with minute markings, and most importantly, a Sellita SW200 movement.

But wait, there’s more! Along with the Swiss movement and creature comfort upgrades, the watches are now all assembled in Pforzheim, a German city nicknamed “Goldstatd”, or “Golden City”, for its history in jewellery and watch production. Brands such as Stowa and Laco trace their roots back to the city, and so does the Scheufele family, currently sitting at the helm of Chopard – you can discover the new releases on Marnaut’s website.