Norqain and mountain climbing adventures go hand in hand. Founded just three years ago, the logo of this successful independent Swiss brand is a mountain peak. Today, Norqain releases the Adventure Neverest Line, a sub-collection in the Adventure family that marks the brand’s charitable partnership with the Butterfly Help Project to support schooling for children in Nepal. Three new models kick-start the partnership and mark the first Adventure models to be fitted with Kenissi manufacture chronometer-rated calibres, a new 40mm case size, increased water-resistance, the removal of the date window and a screw-down crown. The textured white dial of the Neverest Glacier model replicates the phenomenon of glacier crevasses on the most dangerous stage of the ascent to the summit of Mount Everest.
It’s encouraging to see how far this independent family-run company has ascended in such a short period of time, but you could say that it had a good head start. CEO Ben Küffer’s father had been manufacturing luxury Swiss watches (Roventa Henex SA) for four decades and was on the Board of Directors of the Swiss Watch Industry Association for 25 years. Along with industry veteran Ted Schneider, a family member that owned Breitling, Norqain started life with a very clear roadmap: sporty, robust mechanical watches designed for active outdoor use. In 2020, Norqain climbed another notch in the ladder and announced a partnership with movement manufacturer Kenissi (jointly owned by Chanel and Tudor/Rolex), meaning that many of its watches are now ticking to high-performance chronometer-certified movements with powerful 70-hour fuel tanks. With three collections under its belt – Adventure, Freedom and Independence – Norqain is consolidating a solid reputation in the highly competitive EUR 1,500- 4,500 segment.
The Butterfly Help Project
Founded in Nepal by Norbu Sherpa and his wife, Andrea Sherpa-Zimmermann, the Butterfly Help Project was born to help the widows and children of sherpas who have lost their lives during expeditions to Mount Everest. The increase of mountain climbers to the region has attracted numerous sherpas from their isolated Himalayan villages to the city of Kathmandu. These climbing sherpas are accompanied by their families, and by moving to the city, their children have a chance of receiving an education. However, if a sherpa dies, his wife and children often have no other option than to return to their village farming activities, cutting short the children’s education. Following the death of 14 sherpas in 2014, Norbu Sherpa, who has reached the summit of Everest seven times, and his Swiss wife, Andrea Zimmermann established the non-profit Butterfly Help Project. The goals are to support the climbing sherpa community by building new schools and to help potential sherpas obtain proper training from professional mountaineers.
Norqain is committed to the project and with its Adventure Neverest collection will donate 10% of the sales generated by these watches to the Butterfly Help Project. Moreover, Norqain has pledged to support 50 children in 2021 by paying for school fees, classroom material, books, uniforms and athletic equipment.
Adventure Neverest 40mm Glacier
In a clear departure from the signature herringbone pattern on the dial, the crackled texture of the dial of the Glacier model resembles the jagged crevasses of the treacherous Khumbu Icefall located at the head of the highest glacier on Earth. This 17km river of ice is considered one of the most dangerous stages in the ascent. Advancing 1.2m down the mountain every day, the top of the glacier moves faster than the bottom, which is slowed down by friction. The different speeds, combined with the pronounced drop, create deep, gaping crevasses that can reach 45m in depth.
Other novelties for the Adventure Neverest Glacier are the new 40mm case size, increased water-resistance from 100 to 200 metres, the screw-down crown with crown guards, the removal of the date window and the incorporation of the Kenissi manufacture chronometer-rated calibre NN20/1. Naturally, the knurled, easy-to-grip bezel is present, and the signature plaque on the left side of the case – usually left blank for customised engravings – is engraved with Neverest. The 40mm stainless steel case has a height of 12.55mm and accents its sporty look with brushed top surfaces and polished bevels. The steel unidirectional rotating bezel with a click system features a grey ceramic ring with white markings and a luminous dot in the arrow at 12 o’clock.
The faceted indices on the cracked white glacier dial are applied and polished by hand and coated in X1 Super-LumiNova, 60% more luminous than standard Super-LumiNova. The hour and minute hands are also treated with this more powerful Super-LumiNova, as is the arrow-tipped central seconds hand with its red outline to match the red ‘Chronometer’ inscription on the dial. A scratch-proof box sapphire crystal protects the dial, and the automatic Norqain Manufacture calibre NN20/1can be seen on the caseback with its personalised oscillating weight.
Available on a steel bracelet with folding clasp, a textured rubber strap with pin clasp or a flexible fabric strap, the subdued white and grey colour scheme of the Neverest Glacier makes it the most versatile model of the trilogy.
Adventure Neverest Green Dial and Neverest Bicolour Limited Edition
The second model in the trilogy has a pine green dial with the brand’s signature herringbone pattern. The specifications are identical to the Glacier model reviewed above. The most luxurious model of the Neverest is the two-tone steel and gold edition. Limited to 100 pieces, the bezel is made of 18k 5N red gold with a ceramic ring. Although the dial displays the herringbone pattern, it plays with a grey and black design that requires a more complex production process. Like the Glacier, these models can fathom depths of 200m making this trilogy the most water-resistant in Norqain’s entire line-up.
For more information, please visit Norqain’s website.