NORQAIN is a new independent Swiss watch brand that is rooted in decades of watchmaking tradition from the Bernese Jura. Founded by Ben Küffer, the brand is the new generation of a family with a tradition and well-known history in watchmaking. More on this later, but we will let the watches speak for themselves first.
The NORQAIN Freedom 60 Collection aims to merge old and new, with a 1960’s vintage-inspired design that runs through the collection. Available in four dial variations for the three-hand model (cream, silver, blue, black) and either cream or a reverse panda dial for the chronograph, the Freedom 60 watches are all about getting the details right. From the syringe shaped hands, distinct straps, unique box crystal, and date windows that match their respective dials – the collection aims to get the small things right.
It’s the decades of watchmaking know-how and expertise that the people behind NORQAIN bring to the table that makes getting this small stuff right possible.
Looking at Ben Küffer, one wouldn’t guess that he worked at Breitling for over a decade but he began his career at the young age of nineteen. Ben worked at Breitling when it was a family-owned business, which is something he’s always had an affinity for. In fact, Ted Schneider, whose family owned Breitling for over three decades, sits on the board of NORQAIN. Of course, we can’t discuss the brand’s rich roots in Swiss watchmaking without mentioning Ben’s father, Marc Küffer. An industry veteran of over 45 years, Marc served as both CEO and Chairman of Roventa-Henex SA which has produced watches for countless brands. In addition, he was also on the board of the Swiss Watch Industry Association as well as the board of Ulysse Nardin.
The Freedom 60 Chrono Auto reverse panda dial is a watch that embodies NORQAIN’s living history. With a design inspired by the 1960’s, the Freedom 60 Chrono offers some of the best case quality and dial finishing available at this price point. Measuring 43mm wide and 15mm thick, the 316L steel case is polished and satined throughout. On the left side of the case you’ll notice the trademark NORQAIN plate, which is on every NORQAIN watch. This plate allows for a customizable message that allows each watch to be personalized to the wearer. No two are the same, and each watch is connected to its owner.
Any watch that aims to be a companion in any situation needs to be resilient and legible in addition to well designed. The Freedom 60 Chrono is water resistant to 100M and has scratch-proof sapphire glass on the front and back of the case. Also, the box crystal sapphire glass on the dial is finished with a double anti-reflective coating. Past the domed crystal is the dial done in the much-loved reverse panda dial configuration, with a black dial and white counters and applied NORQAIN logo.
The circumference of the reverse panda dial is framed with hand-applied polished indices that match to the length of the syringe-shaped hour hands perfectly while the minutes hand reach the outer tachymeter. Proportions of dial aspects like hands and indices were all kept in mind when NORQAIN designs a watch. Furthermore, the date window between 4 and 5 o’clock has white digits on a black background, which matches the dial making for a cohesive look.
On the Norlando Italian leather strap, you’ll notice the “NORQAIN stitching” which is the design signature of the brand’s logo which intends to evoke the outline of a mountain.
Through the exhibition case back you can see the NORQAIN calibre NN18, which is based on the ETA 7753. This movement is characterized by the customized NORQAIN rotor and featured hacking seconds and quick date adjustment. The NN18 has a 48-hour power reserve and operates at a 28,800 vph.
NORQAIN is the rare new watch brand that knows what it’s doing. An independent, family-owned company based in Bienne, NORQAIN leverages decades of Swiss watchmaking expertise and tradition. You’re invited to handle the watches in person at the many retailers who carry the brand, including Tourneau, Govberg, and Westime (you can find a full list of global retailers here). NORQAIN proudly believes in its retail network rather than only offering online sales so as to allow customers to have the opportunity to handle the product in person and get the benefit of the retailer’s know-how.
The NORQAIN Freedom 60 Auto is priced at $1,790 and the Freedom 60 Chrono Auto is priced at $3,790. You can learn more at norqain.com.
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