Four-year-old independent watchmaker Norqain has been steadily producing ever more impressive timepieces. A large reason behind the brand’s rapid successes has been its heightened sense of itself. The brand knew from its earliest days that it would focus on making watches for the outdoors, hence the three collections that define Norqain today have been named simply, Adventure, Freedom and Independence. Norqain also understood that for a young brand to play its own part in a market with entrenched players, it would have to defer to the wisdom of those who have walked many miles already.
In 2018, when CEO Ben Küffer established the brand, he brought alongside him Ted Schneider, whose family owned Breitling for nearly 40 years, and Swiss ice hockey icon and Stanley Cup winner, Mark Streit as co-founders and board members. Küffer also appointed his father, Marc Küffer as chairman of the board, who brought to the table 45 years’ worth of experience of having worked in the Swiss watch industry. The consortium even recently brought on industry titan Jean-Claude Biver as an advisor to the board. And one other crucial element to Norqain’s success is its long-term partnership with movement manufacturer Kenissi. As a result, Norqain is already able to lay claim to a line of movements that are very much designed and produced exclusively for the brand’s watches.
Of recent note is the Norqain Independence 22 Skeleton, which, as its name suggests, is from Norqain’s Independence collection and features a skeletonised movement. At 42mm, the stainless-steel timepiece presents itself as a robust watch with protruding crown guards and finished with polished bevels and brushed surfaces. The watch head is fitted onto a steel bracelet featuring polished links in the centre and brushed ones on the sides. But the big talking point is the movement, which is not a Kenissi calibre.
The Norqain calibre NN08S is a movement based on the industry workhorse, Sellita SW 200-1. As the Sellita ébauche is one that is produced with solid plates and bridges, the skeletonisation on the NN08S had to be executed by Norqain’s own team. Dial side, we can see that the brand has opted to give the skeletonised components and bridges a ruthenium finish, adding to the contemporary outlook of the timepiece. Interestingly, even the barrel of the movement seems to be skeletonised, making for a pseudo-power reserve indicator. Adding further to the contemporary feel of the timepiece are the sharp hour markers, which seem to precariously hang over the chasm of the dial from the edge of the rehaut.
For a simple time-only watch with the added flourish of skeletonisation, Norqain’s outdone itself with the Independence 22 Skeleton. And even more impressive is that the brand’s managed to pull this off at a price point that does not require you to relinquish an arm or a leg.
MOVEMENT: Automatic calibre NN08S, skeletonised; 38-hour
CASE: 42mm in steel; water-resistant to 100m
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