August 19, 2021
The enthusiast appeal of an in-house or exclusive movement is perhaps more powerful than ever before in today’s luxury watch market. The brand cachet associated with an exclusive movement is a potent marketing tool, and while many large established brands can boast exclusive powerplants the practice is far less common among younger marques. This rarity is one of the largest reasons behind the rapid success of Swiss independent brand NORQAIN, which has built a close partnership with Tudor-affiliated movement manufacturer Kenissi to create unique and exclusive movements for NORQAIN designs. The Kenissi-derived NN20/1 “manufacture” movement has been a smash hit for NORQAIN with enthusiasts, and for its latest release the brand brings this chronometer grade powerplant to its diver-style Adventure line for the first time. The new NORQAIN Adventure NEVEREST watch series combines the brand’s sharp modern sporting aesthetic with an impressively capable exclusive movement while helping to support the families of sherpas who have lost their lives while mountaineering in the Himalayas.
The 40mm 316L stainless steel case of the NORQAIN Adventure NEVEREST line is a noticeably more compact reinterpretation of the standard 42mm Adventure Sport design. Rather than the broad-shouldered and thoroughly modern profile of the Adventure Sport, the Adventure NEVEREST offers a somewhat more vintage impression on the wrist. Although the long tapering lugs, vertical case sides, and bold squared-off crown guards are all foundational dive watch elements, NORQAIN adds a sense of visual crispness to its interpretation with a flowing polished chamfer that neatly bisects the fully brushed case body. The knurled outer bezel texture and engraved charcoal gray ceramic bezel insert (rendered in black ceramic and 18K 5N red gold on the limited edition two-tone model) adds to the crisp and smartly functional aesthetic here. At 12.6mm thick, however, the case carries a notable visual bulk when viewed from certain angles, and the signature NORQAIN engraved plate at 9 o’clock remains a divisive element. The brand adds a sapphire display caseback to the Adventure NEVEREST to showcase the exclusive Kenissi-derived movement, while water resistance has been improved from the standard Adventure Sport’s 100 meters to a dive-ready 200-meter rating.
NORQAIN offers the Adventure NEVEREST with a trio of dial options. The most striking of the three is undoubtedly the “glacier dial,” with a deep and organic diagonal grooved pattern inspired by the treacherous ice crevasses that dot the sides of Mount Everest. This matte white texture stands in bold contrast to the mirror polishing of the pointed baton hands and hand-applied sloping faceted indices, while the vibrant fire-engine red of the seconds hand tip and 6 o’clock “Chronometer” text keeps the combination from feeling too monochromatic visually. The lack of a date window heightens the stark nature-inspired effect of the dial, allowing the unique dial texture to play out uninterrupted and preserving the finely tuned visual weight distribution across the dial. The other two models in the Adventure NEVEREST series share the Adventure Sport’s grooved woven herringbone dial texture, with iterations in both rich hunter green and black. This black dial is available only in the limited edition two-tone Adventure NEVEREST, with dial hardware and an applied 12 o’clock emblem in bezel-matching red gold.
Although it shares some similarities with the Tudor MT5621 movement also built by Kenissi including an almost identical balance bridge assembly, the NN20/1 “manufacture” automatic movement inside the NORQAIN Adventure NEVEREST series is truly exclusive to the brand. Built and developed in partnership with Kenissi and first appearing in the Independence 20 series in 2020, the NN20/1 is a fully modern movement with performance to match. COSC chronometer-certified for accuracy and boasting a hefty 70-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate, the NN20/1 is undeniably impressive on a technical level. In terms of finishing, however, the NN20/1 is minimal, with a sunburst finished signed rotor above nearly full matte plates and bridges.
NORQAIN pairs all three models in the Adventure NEVEREST series with a trio of strap options. Our “glacier white” sample model arrived with the most casual and offbeat of the three, an MN-style fabric strap in gray with a pair of accenting black pinstripes. It adds a rugged and military-inspired charm to the design on the wrist, dressing it down effectively while integrating handsomely with the overall design. The Adventure NEVEREST series is also available with a cleanly textured black rubber strap, or for a brighter look on the wrist, the brand’s signature stainless steel oyster-style bracelet with its distinctive polished and split center links is offered as well.
With a more compact design, an extremely capable exclusive movement, and support for a noble cause, the new NORQAIN Adventure NEVEREST is a substantial and charismatic step forward for the brand’s most affordable line. 10 percent of the earnings of each NORQAIN Adventure NEVEREST sale will go to benefit the Butterfly Help Project, a Nepalese charity dedicated to helping the children of deceased Himalayan sherpas attend school. While both stainless steel variants of the Adventure NEVEREST are standard production models, only 100 examples of the two-tone variant will be made. All three models in the NORQAIN Adventure NEVEREST line are available now through authorized dealers, with prices starting at $3,240 for the “glacier white” model, while the green dial variant and the two-tone version carry starting MSRPs of $3,180 and $4,680, respectively. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.