One of the strongest and most enduring trends in the modern luxury watch industry is the vintage-inspired sports chronograph. Most often emulating the racing chronograph designs of the ’60s and ‘70s, these designs run the gamut from faithful recreations of classic models to wholly original modern interpretations with a dash of vintage cues for flavor. The NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chronograph series has historically fallen somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, staying true to the styles of the ‘60s while presenting a bolder, more modern 43mm stance and without directly referencing any one particular vintage model. For 2022, however, NORQAIN pushes the Freedom 60 Chronograph in a more period-correct direction with the launch of a new 40mm design. With more compact dimensions, visually rebalanced dial elements, and an array of new vegan strap options, the new NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chronograph 40mm offers a tighter, more refined presentation for the brand’s vintage-style chronograph series.
While the 40mm-wide 316L stainless steel case of the NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chronograph 40mm presents a more compact profile than its predecessors, this watch still carries a sizeable presence on the wrist. The first reason for this is the long, narrow tapering attached lug design with almost no downturn in images, which accentuates the sizeable 49.27mm lug-to-lug length. Secondly, the Freedom 60 Chronograph 40mm measures in at a bold 14.9mm-thick, although this measurement is divided between a tall domed sapphire crystal and a sharply sloping polished smooth bezel that work to visually break up the case sides. These measurements aside, the Freedom 60 Chronograph 40mm presents a classic sporting case layout, with cleanly brushed vertical case sides, slim lug chamfers, and a bold set of piston pushers. NORQAIN finishes this case with a sapphire display caseback and rates the watch for a solidly sporting 100 meters of water resistance.
NORQAIN offers the Freedom 60 Chronograph 40mm with a pair of “reverse panda” dial options. Both variants share the same vintage-inspired dial layout as their 43mm-wide stablemates, with recessed azurage subdials, terraced applied indices flanked by creamy fauxtina lume plots, and the series’ distinctive syringe-tipped paddle handset. Here, however, NORQAIN emphasizes the smaller sizing with a contrasting off-white outer tachymeter ring. Not only does this add an extra visual highlight to the design, but it also helps to optically compact the rest of the dial by reducing the main dial surface’s area.
These tweaks, along with a simplified subdial design that removes the 43mm model’s stepped subdial rings, work to redistribute the overall visual weight of the design, leading to a fuller, more balanced look on the wrist. Each of the two dial colorways imparts a different character to this base layout. In images, the anthracite gray sunburst dial gives the design a more reserved, faded feel, emphasizing the off-white tones of the subdials and presenting a dramatic spectrum of warm gray tones. By contrast, the blue sunburst dial offers a bolder presentation, with a rich oceanic tone that brings more energy to the design. Although 4:30 date windows are often divisive propositions among enthusiasts, both variants integrate their date displays cleanly with color-matched date wheels.
NORQAIN powers the Freedom 60 Chronograph 40mm with the ETA 7753-based NN18 automatic chronograph movement. Built on a decades-old mainstay of the watch industry the NN18 offers tough, reliable performance including a respectable 48-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. The brand dedicates substantial efforts toward creating 100% vegan, animal-free products, and to continue this push NORQAIN pairs the Freedom 60 Chronograph 40mm with a variety of unique strap options. Our sample watch arrived with the stainless steel H-link bracelet option, which provides the watch with a bold aesthetic punch due to its brightly polished surfaces interspersed with brushed center links. For those searching for a more subdued option, NORQAIN also offers the watch with a two-piece black perlon-style textured rubber strap, an Alcantara strap in deep russet brown with apple leather lining, and a bone-white fabric strap made from ocean-sourced plastic in partnership with ocean plastic upcycling company #tide. Each of these additional strap options is topped with the brand’s distinctive twin-V accent stitching in off-white.
Sporting reworked proportions, smaller case dimensions, and a host of subtle aesthetic changes, the NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chronograph 40mm delivers a more refined, period-correct evolution of its stylish vintage-inspired chronograph line. The NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chronograph 40mm is available now through authorized dealers. Starting MSRP for the NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chronograph 40mm stands at $3,920 as of press time, with pricing for bracelet-equipped models climbing to $4,190. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.