For 2023, Swiss NORQAIN is adding a skeletonized dial variant of the still-fresh Independence Wild ONE (aBlogtoWatch review) watch family. These new timepieces maintain the modular, lightweight, and durable construction of the standard Wild ONE, but with a skeletonized dial and movement produced by Swiss Made Sellita. NORQAIN echos this in the “non-Wild” Independence watch collection that also has a standard solid dial, and skeletonized dial variant options available. NORQAIN chose to go with fun, bright colors for these two debut Independence Wild ONE Skeleton 42mm models that include the Turquoise reference NNQ3000QBQ1AS/B007/3W1QBR.20BQ and the slightly more expensive limited edition of 300 pieces Burgundy reference NNQ3000QUB1LAS/B008/3W1BR.20RQ.
Even though the Wild ONE Skeleton 42mm Turquoise has the more standard black-colored NORTEQ carbon case, it is the more eye-catching of the two pieces thanks to the turquoise color of the rubber color which accents the case all over. Rubber isn’t just used as a cosmetic material on the Wild ONE watches, but is an integral part of how the case is constructed. Rubber in combination with the proprietary carbon case blend, helps provide the incredible shock and vibration resistance that the Wild ONE was developed for in the first place. Style-wise, NORQAIN is free to render the rubber in any color it wants, which leads to outcomes like this beautiful turquoise color. I was an early fan of turquoise watches, dating back to 2016, but the color was considered very risque at the time and only recently has it come full circle — this once primarily feminine color has proven it can be fun for men’s watches, too. It is my hope that NORQAIN will return to this turquoise colorway for future Wild ONE models that have more traditional solid dials.
The limited edition Wild ONE Skeleton 42mm features a burgundy-colored NORTEQ case, black rubber sections, and gold-plated hands and hour markers. This burgundy model has a retail price of $200 more than the turquoise model, which I can only explain as being related to the NORTEQ case color [according to NORQAIN the price difference is related to the NORTEQ coloring process as well as the 5N gold used to plate the hands and hour markers]. I personally disagree with this pricing practice because it puts the idea in the mind of the consumer that one case is better than the other, and this creates some strange psychology when it comes to purchasing behavior. I think NORTEQ (and other brands, for that matter) are probably wiser in creating more price parity between otherwise similar models, in order to allow consumers to more easily choose those pieces which match their taste. Brands can simply amortize any manufacturing cost differences in the overall retail prices.
The size of these Wild One cases are the same being 42mm-wide, 12.3mm-thick, and with a 49.4mm-long lug-to-lug distance. The case is water-resistant to 200 meters with a titanium inner core. Over the dial and movement are sapphire crystals. For the movement, NORQAIN opted for the attractive and well-performing Swiss Made Sellita caliber SW200-1S c (which NORQAIN refers to as their NN08S movement). This is a skeletonized version of the popular SW200 workhorse movement. The mechanical automatic movement performs at a 4Hz frequency with 42 hours of power reserve and features just the time. Overall, this is a nice combination of performance and attractive skeletonized dial aesthetics.
For the skeletonized dial, NORQAIN retained an hour marker ring around the periphery of the dial so that the time can be more easily read. I would say that legibility is decent given that this is a skeletonized watch, though these aren’t the most legible timepieces overall produced by NORQAIN. In most other respects, wearing the Skeleton models is very similar to the non-Skeleton Independence Wild ONE Skeleton 42mm timepiece creations.
With 300 pieces of the red model being produced and a festive (non-limited) color for the blue piece, it is clear that skeletonized watches are still a niche for NORQAIN and that they are still playing around with ways to best render the Wild ONE. In the past, I have mentioned that the dials and hands for the Wild ONE products are an area in which NORQAIN could experiment with over the next several years. Of course that is in addition to NORQAIN ongoingly experimenting with new and interesting color combinations for the Wild ONE watch platform. Price for the NORQAIN Wild One Skeleton 42mm Turquoise reference NNQ3000QBQ1AS/B007/3W1QBR.20BQ is $5,790 USD and the price for the Burgundy reference NNQ3000QUB1LAS/B008/3W1BR.20RQ is $5,990 USD. Learn more at the NORQAIN watches website here.