For an independent family-run company that has only been on the scene for three years, Norqain is going from strength to strength at an impressive pace. We first covered the fledgling brand in 2020 when it announced its partnership with movement manufacture Kenissi (jointly owned by Chanel and Tudor/Rolex) and became acquainted with the three main collections: Adventure, Freedom and Independence. As their names indicate, the collections are sport-oriented watches with signature features like the customisable plate on the case flank. Following on the heels of last year’s Independence 20 model that sold out in days, Norqain introduces two new Independence models in limited editions: the Independence 21 with a blue dial (200 pieces) and the Independence 21 DLC Skeleton model (100 pieces), the brand’s first skeletonised movement.
Independence 21 Scratched Blue Dial
Lately, many brands have been pushing the ‘urban sports watch’ category. A loosely defined category, the ‘urban sports watch’ accommodates sports watches that want to distinguish themselves from overt high-performance tool watches. Norqain’s Independence collection follows this ‘urban’ path and is branded with images of city skyscrapers and promotes a sense of exclusivity by limiting production. So far, Norqain has three models: the Independence 19 (with a black DLC-coated case, black mother-of-pearl dial and black diamonds) of 2019, the Independence 20 (steel with green scratched dial) of 2020, and now the Independence 21. The Independence 21 shares the same specifications, case design and features as the green 2020 edition but comes with a midnight blue scratched dial.
Clearly following the guidelines of a luxury sports watch case, the prominent ‘ears’ on either side of the case hint at the Nautilus. To balance the pronounced crown guards on the right, the case features a slight protrusion on the left case flank. The 42mm stainless steel case imparts a robust, virile vibe, and the finishings accentuate its dynamic architecture. The brushed surfaces on the lugs and bezel contrast with the polished bevels and the recessed sandblasted areas on the caseband. Like other Norqain watches, there is a polished plaque on the left case flank that can be personalised. Equipped with a screw-down crown and caseback, the watch is water-resistant to 100 metres. In keeping with its sporty appeal, the 3-link stainless steel bracelet is integrated, and displays brushed outer links and polished central links (there is an optional black Barenia leather strap).
For 2021, the Independence displays a new midnight blue scratched dial. The random criss-crossed patterns you can see on the dial are entirely brushed by hand. Since no two dials will ever feature the same pattern, each watch is unique. A raised black chapter ring on the periphery hosts the hour markers, and the inner flange has a white 60-minute scale. The thick indices fixed to the chapter ring are faceted and extend into the blue area of the dial. The openworked hands are also faceted and polished and treated with C1 Super-LumiNova, like the interior of the indices. The central seconds hand features a red tip to match the red ‘Chronometer’ inscription on the lower half of the dial. A double anti-reflective scratchproof box-type sapphire crystal protects the dial.
Norqain’s partnership with Kenissi in 2020 means access to high-performance COSC-certified movements, including the calibre powering this Independence 21 model, which it shares with Tudor. Known as calibre NN20/1 at Norqain, the Kenissi movement is a robust precision engine with a transversal balance bridge to stabilise the escapement and a generous 70-hour power reserve. A sapphire caseback reveals the industrial finishings with matte sandblasted bridges along with the personalised brushed rotor and the words ‘Adventure, Freedom, Independence’ engraved on the bridge.
The Norqain Independence 21 is limited to 200 pieces and retails for CHF 3,150 on the steel bracelet with folding clasp and CHF 2,890 on the black Barenia leather strap with pin buckle.
Quick facts: 42mm diameter x 11.8mm height – 48.75mm lug-to-lug – 316L stainless steel, polished, brushed and sandblasted – screw-down crown and caseback – sapphire crystal front and back – 100m water-resistant – blue dial with scratched manual decoration – applied faceted indices and hour hands with Super-LumiNova – Kenissi manufacture calibre NN20/1 automatic – COSC-certified – 28,800vph – 70h power reserve – 3-link bracelet with folding clasp or black Barenia leather strap with pin buckle – limited to 200 pieces – ref. NN3000S03A/A301/102SI – CHF 3,150 on steel bracelet, CHF 2,890 on leather strap
Independence 21 DLC Skeleton
The Independence 21 DLC Skeleton marks Norqain’s first foray into the world of skeletonisation and comes in a contemporary 42mm black DLC-coated steel case. Although there have been other models in DLC-coated cases, this marks the first time Norqain presents a bracelet with a DLC coating. Like the all-steel Independence 21 version, the case has brushed, polished and sandblasted finishings.
The challenge for Norqain was to incorporate a delicate skeletonised movement inside a sports watch. For the task, Norqain chose the rigid, robust and shock-resistant layout of the Sellita SW200-1S. The unique design of the skeletonised movement is based on the architectural principle of beam construction, and at least two arms hold each support.
The lack of dial allows a clear view of the Sellita SW200-1S automatic skeletonised movement with its components picked out in a metallic ruthenium colour. The faceted hour markers are fixed to a black chapter ring with white minutes/seconds markings and suspended over the dial. Like the openworked hands, the indices are filled with C1 Super-LumiNova. The central seconds hand has a red tip, but the ‘Chronometer’ designation is not red and is placed on the chapter ring to avoid tampering with the view of the movement.
Limited to 100 pieces, the Norqain Independence 21 on a steel bracelet will retail for CHF 3,990, on the black Barenia leather strap for CHF 3,650.
Quick facts: 42mm diameter x 11.8mm height – 48.75mm lug-to-lug – 316L stainless steel with black DLC coating, polished, brushed and sandblasted – screw-down crown and caseback – sapphire crystal front and back – 100m water-resistant –– applied faceted indices and hour hands with Super-LumiNova – skeletonised dial – calibre NN08S (Sellita SW200-1S) automatic – COSC-certified – 28,800vph – 38h power reserve – 3-link steel black DLC bracelet with folding clasp or black Barenia leather strap with pin buckle – limited to 100 pieces – ref. NB30000B03A/302/102BI – CHF 3,990 on steel bracelet, CHF 3,650 on leather strap
For more information, please consult www.norqain.com.