For 2024, Swiss NORQAIN has launched a “summer colors capsule collection” of three watches in the Freedom 60 Chrono 40mm product collection. The original NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chrono was one of NORQAIN’s debut products back in 2020. Some people think that, at 43mm wide, the standard Freedom 60 Chrono is too large (for their anatomy), and so, in 2022, NORQAIN also released a smaller version of more or less the same watch with the Freedom 60 Chrono 40mm.

These new summer colors for the NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chrono 40mm include a limited-edition peach-colored dial (reference N2201S22LC/F221, limited to 300 pieces), a non-limited sky-blue dial (reference N2201S22C/IAA221), as well as a non-limited green/pistachio-toned dial (reference N2201S22C/MT221). Each is paired with a 40mm-wide steel case and matching steel bracelet. Even though the colors are on the more playful side, these watches are neither juvenile in theme nor too artistic to be considered tool watches. The chronograph subdials are black and allow for easy reading of the sub-registers, and overall, these watches maintain their timeless professional sports-watch look, only with very spirited dial colors. Sadly, none of the larger 43mm-wide Freedom 60 Chrono watches appear to be getting these or other fun colors (yet).

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Bright, colorful watches are in trend right now. Brands are seeing a lot of success when taking otherwise conservative or classic watches and giving them bolder, more eye-catching dials. It can be confusing from the outside to understand why this is, as well as how to best incorporate some of these colors in your own watch collection. I will point to three main reasons such brightly-colored dials are en vogue. The first and least flattering to watch brands is because it is a very inexpensive way to create a new product. In most instances, brands need only create a new dial for an existing case and movement architecture, and voila, they have a new product. This efficient approach to novelty is very enticing for product makers who are always seeking inexpensive ways of expanding their product offerings.

The second reason colors are popular is what I call the “law of the jungle.” In places teeming with life (i.e., highly competitive zones), bright colors and bold styles get attention. The jungle (like today’s wristwatch marketplace) is full of creatures trying to get attention in a dense and crowded environment. To stand out in such a competitive environment, items must be bold and colorful. This is a commentary on today’s highly competitive wristwatch landscape where people mainly learn about new products online. As people scroll through article headlines and social media posts, only the most eye-catching visuals stop consumers long enough to pay attention. This is a major reason why in today’s extremely competitive landscape of watches, having bright colors can help ensure at least some attention from consumers and media.

The third reason why colorful watches are popular is because consumers need new reasons to buy. Most people buying a several-thousand-dollar watch already own a few other timepieces. As watch collections grow, collectors are typically not inclined to purchase too much of the same — at least when it comes to what they wear. You can only have so many black-dialed watches before you simply stop buying them. Watchmakers have found that people enjoy wristwatches that match their fashion sense and wardrobes. Today, a lot of collectors buy watches as fashion objects (nothing wrong with that) and are inspired by a colorful dial in a way that a black, white, or silver dial simply doesn’t resonate. Thus, for now, watchmakers can get consumer attention and sales by offering a dial color that the consumer doesn’t yet own but in a package that is otherwise conservative and easy to accept (i.e., not an avant-garde overall case and dial design).

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The Freedom 60 Chrono 40mm watches have a polished and brushed 40mm-wide case that is about 15mm thick and has a roughly 49mm lug-to-lug distance. The cases are water resistant to 100 meters, and over the dial is a box-style AR-coated sapphire crystal. These watches are available on a variety of straps offered by NORQAIN, but I believe they look best on the pictured matching steel bracelets. One of the best details of the dial is that NORQAIN didn’t cheap out on getting matching color date numeral discs. Each of the three dials has a matching date disc, which is a detail any enthusiast will be able to appreciate. I also like that even though bright colors are a major part of the theme, these watches are still masculine and serious in their poise. While a woman could easily wear one of these, NORQAIN maintains a masculine style for the Freedom 60 Chrono 40mm, which I think helps its overall appeal.

Inside the watches is a Swiss Made Sellita SW510a automatic chronograph movement, which NORQAIN refers to as the caliber N19. This is a great modern movement that is based on the long legacy of the Valjoux 7750 architecture. That said, there are plenty of improvements. The 4Hz automatic movement has 62 hours of power reserve and, best of all, no inset corrector for the date. Rather, the date corrector (as it should be) is adjusted via the crown. I mention this because the NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chrono 43mm that I reviewed a few years ago uses an older-generation movement that does require an inset pusher to quick-adjust the date. It does, however, appear as though NORQAIN’s current 43mm-wide Freedom 60 Chrono watches now use the updated Sellita SW510a movements. You can view the movement through the rear of the case through the sapphire crystal window on the Freedom 60 Chrono 40mm products.

Don’t forget that the “NORQAIN” plate on the left side of the case can be replaced with a custom-engraved message. That continues to be a fun little part of the watch for those who want a more personalized feel. When it comes to the three dials, of course, I have to be the most interested in the limited-edition model with the metallic peach-hued dial… probably because, to my eyes, that color is the most distinctive and the least represented in my own collection (going with the logic I espoused above). While these timepieces aren’t bargain-priced, they are value-focused and still represent a “good deal” when compared with much of the competition at this quality and refinement level. Price for the limited-edition NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chrono 40mm reference N2201S22LC/F221 is $4,650 USD. The non-limited sky-blue reference N2201S22C/IAA221 and green/pistachio-toned reference N2201S22C/MT221 are priced at $4,550 USD. Learn more at the NORQAIN website.

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