Founded in 2018, the family-run brand Norqain might be a fledgeling brand on the Swiss watchmaking scene, but in just three years, it has consolidated a respectable collection of watches designed for rugged outdoor activities. What is even more surprising for such a young brand is that since 2020 Norqain avails itself of COSC-certified movements made by Kenissi, manufacture jointly owned by Chanel and Tudor/Rolex. The two Norqain Freedom 60 GMT launching today are fitted with robust Kenissi manufacture calibres. The reference to ‘60’ in the name of the watch alludes to the overall 1960s vibe of the design. Last year, the first Freedom 60 GMT models were launched; in steel with a black dial and a 300-piece limited edition in bronze with a brown dial. As part of the Freedom family with its line-up of retro/sporty models, Ben Küffer, the brand’s CEO, listened closely to customer feedback and decided to produce the GMT models with a 40mm case size.
The latest Freedom 60 GMTs come in a choice of steel with an opaline/white dial with red and blue markings or a bronze case with a lively forest green dial. Instead of relying on an external bezel to indicate a second time zone, the Freedom 60 GMT uses an internal ring with a 24-hour scale indicated by a red-tipped arrow hand. The opaline model features a midnight blue and red track; the green dial model has a black and white track, the darker areas corresponding to night-time (18:00 to 06:00) and the lighter areas to daytime hours (06:00 to 18:00). The GMT function is regulated at the crown in one-hour increments, for the local time hour hand. Like all Norqain watches, the case is water-resistant to 100 metres and features the polished metal plaque screwed into the left side of the case that can be engraved to personalise the watch.
The solid build of the case, measuring 40.5mm across and 14.5mm high, underscores its sporty appeal. The stainless steel model features a greater concentration of polished areas with satin-brushed accents, while the bronze model is satin-brushed throughout with polished accents. The bronze used for the case is a bronze silicon aluminium alloy; not only is it particularly resistant to corrosion, but it will also develop a unique patina as it oxidises over time. The caseback is steel to avoid any allergic reactions but treated with a bronze PVD-coating to match the case.
Indices and hour markers on both models are applied and treated with beige ‘Old Radium’ Super-LumiNova, as are the faceted, syringe-style hands. The idea is to capture the warm glow of lume used on vintage models without radium’s harmful effects. Rounding off the vintage note, the dials are protected by an anti-reflective, scratch-resistant box-type sapphire crystal.
The steel Freedom 60 GMT comes with various strap options, including an integrated steel bracelet, a Norlando leather strap, a Perlon rubber strap and a croco-style rubber strap. The bronze Freedom 60 GMT is presented on a Perlon rubber strap but can be accessorised with a croco-style rubber strap or a Norlando leather strap, all displaying the double Alp stitching near the lugs and a bronze pin clasp. The Perlon rubber strap was developed by BIWI, a Swiss strap maker renowned for its innovative, vegan-certified products.
Norqain Manufacture Calibre NN20/2
To date, Norqain has procured two in-house COSC-certified movements from Kenissi: the three-hand calibre NN20/1 and the GMT calibre NN20/2 (also used inside Tudor’s North Flag in 2015). Kenissi’s jumping-hour NN20/2 calibre powers the Freedom 60 GMT. The innovative jumping hour GMT feature means the local date and hour can be adjusted instantly without stopping the watch. This automatic movement, which is chronometer-certified by COSC, benefits from a comfortable power reserve of 70 hours and runs at a modern frequency of 4Hz. It displays the time, a second time zone as well as the date. Visible through a sapphire caseback, the main bridge is engraved with the brand’s core values – Adventure, Freedom, Independence – and the oscillating weight is decorated with a golden logo.
Availability & Price
The Norqain Freedom 60 GMT in steel is not limited and retails for CHF 3,790 on a steel bracelet; CHF 3,550 on a Norlando leather strap; CHF 3,690 on a Perlon rubber strap; and CHF 3,690 on a croco-rubber strap. The bronze Norqain Freedom 60 GMT is limited to 300 pieces and retails for CHF 3,950 on a Perlon rubber strap; CHF 3,950 on a croco-rubber strap; and CHF 3,790 on a Norlando leather strap. The Norqain Freedom 60 GMT also comes with a four-year warranty.
More information and orders at www.norqain.com.