by Richard Brown October 07, 2022

We’ve always enjoyed welcoming guest authors and reviewers to the WatchGecko Magazine and the ZULUDIVER Blog. Generally, these people are either very interested in their own right or have a huge passion for watches. Occasionally we meet someone who has both these attributes and Don Russell, FRIN FRGS FRSA, is one such character. 

By profession today Don is a diver, explorer and treasure hunter. He is currently involved in a fascinating project to locate famous pirate treasure off the coast of the UK in a diving expedition that is being filmed by the US Discovery Channel. He is a globally acknowledged survival expert and has taught these skills at his own school – Overland Professional – since 1996. If all that is not enough, Don is also a huge watch enthusiast and the only person I have met who has nearly lost a Rolex Sea-Dweller to the depths of the ocean! 

I met Don a few weeks ago and we really bonded, so he has kindly agreed to work with us on an ad hoc basis beginning with tests of both the ZULUDIVER Octopod strap package and the Geckota Phalanx Tactical Watch. He is currently ruthlessly field-testing both products (over and underwater) with great results and we will publish his reviews soon. 

Some career highlights for Don include working for Rolls Royce and establishing his own company, which specialised in marine search and recovery, and sub-surface engineering. 

Today in “semi-retirement” Don runs an outdoor pursuits company that offers professional instruction in navigation, survival techniques and combat survival (Don has trained with UK Special Forces). He advises on expedition vehicle preparation for extreme terrain, off-road driving and recovery techniques, along with vehicle equipment choice and suitability. Don is also proud to have been elected to the prestigious ‘Explorers Club’ in 2016.

In his spare time (yes, he has some!) Don writes articles for various websites along with action and adventure novels under the pseudonym Kurt Maclane. He is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation, the Royal Geographical Society, and an Executive Member of the Professional Bodyguard Association. 

Did we mention that he also has a passion for watches? And that is what we will be lucky to share with him throughout what we hope will be a long and highly informative relationship. We’re delighted to welcome Don to the wider Geckota family and really look forward to his first reviews and tales of pirate treasure!