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The NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chrono Auto Embodies The New Brand’s Watchmaking Roots

The NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chrono Auto Embodies The New Brand’s Watchmaking Roots Watch Releases

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 Chrono Auto Embodies The New Brand’s Watchmaking Roots Watch Releases

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 NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chrono Auto Embodies The New Brand’s Watchmaking Roots Watch Releases

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.

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The NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chrono Auto Embodies The New Brand’s Watchmaking Roots Watch Releases

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 NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chrono Auto Embodies The New Brand’s Watchmaking Roots Watch Releases

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.

The NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chrono Auto Embodies The New Brand’s Watchmaking Roots Watch Releases

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.

The NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chrono Auto Embodies The New Brand’s Watchmaking Roots Watch Releases

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.

The NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chrono Auto Embodies The New Brand’s Watchmaking Roots Watch Releases

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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Comments

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  • James

    Heuer called – it wants its Carrera back.

  • Craig A Clark

    I like the chronograph a lot, but that 3G’s in sterling for a 7753 chrono feels a bit steep. Not much to dislike in the watch itself though

  • SuperStrapper

    I really wanted to come in on this one all compliments but that pricing is wack, and just immediately brings all of the uncertainties and shaky executions into laser sharp focus.

    Start with this one:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/27b145a7b43d8a5c06ad3b6f6ea92958d2083cf872ad88d99281289b9237cd58.png

    For a $3700 watch I’d expect the subdials to have an actual shape to them. And that was noticeable without the need to zoom, it’s just poorly done. I can remember trying on the Hamilton intra-matic 68 chronograph a while back. A reverse automatic panda chronograph, with the same movement as this, only with better modifications and from a brand that people don’t have to think twice about. The watch is also proportionally better and costs less. The dial was executed nicely, and all the edges were sharp and true.

    • I agree it’s not sharply detailed but to be fair, that chapter ring looks like lume – which is a grainy substance which is harder than regular paint/laquer to apply as precisely. Did you ever find that missing (from the postal service) watch case of mine?

  • John___B

    Nice looking watch with classic styling. Just can’t get over the $3,790 price from a new micro brand.

    Good luck selling them.

    • Emmanuel, NORQAIN US Director

      I am not sure if we fit 100% in the micro brand category as we work with established retailers such Bucherer, Tourneau, Westime and Govberg and we are not fixed on online sales.

  • Very nice classic-looking watch, but overpriced.

    • Emmanuel, NORQAIN US Director

      Yes, the watch has its price for the quality. The three-hand versions for $1,790 is a well-accepted price point for a new brand. And Swiss Made is not only a sign of quality but it also comes with a cost of production.

  • Independent_George

    Really, not much to say about this. It’s another 7753 chronograph.

    Pricing aside, I think the three-handers are more interesting.

  • Carmen Brisante

    An attractive watch, but I prefer the look and price of the Freedom 60 Auto, especially in the blue.

  • Pete L

    Both the 3 hander and chronograph look like a quality product with good legibility and an interesting, albeit classic style case and I like them a lot. Price steep for a new brand but if the quality is there then I hope they succeed. Would love to see the chrono in the metal as the close up photos make it look really good. It has a well integrated date wheel too which is so often ballsed up by established major manufacturers.

  • The first thing that popped into my mind before reading the article was “Why does it look like a Breitling Aviator 8 de Havilland Mosquito?”

  • Shiv

    Honestly the logo looks pretty good in real although I do prefer the cream dial than the Panda. I disagree with you on the price, in my opinion the watch is great bang for buck! The quality definitely surpasses the price.

  • This is a really lovely watch, especially the panda chrono, but it is spoilt by poor quality control. The lume on the dial is badly applied and uneven, especially at the 7 and 10 markers, and the hand doesn’t line up properly on the hours sub dial. This in addition to the issues already identified by @SuperStrapper:disqus. At this price point that is totally unacceptable, especially when there is so much choice out there for this money.

  • Joaquin

    Great looking watch but need to hold one first to judge the price.

  • I love the look of the ladies Freedom 60 and the engraving plate sold me ?

  • Emmanuel, NORQAIN US Director

    Wow, many questions, let me try to get to them all 🙂

    Yes, NORQAIN was founded last year. But Ben Küffer’s father and our chairman has been producing watches for 45 years. That’s how we can rely on a longstanding know-how of watchmaking.

    Mark Streit is used to it that not everyone knows him, don’t worry. He’s big in Switzerland but certainly not everyone is into hockey that much. However some people like that he is part of the company (not just the brand) and as a watch enthusiast himself he helps us with his input about the products a lot.

    The name, yes, the name. I can assure you it took a lot of time to come up with a name that represents the newness and freshness of the brand…. Can we agree that it’s unique? 😉

    And thanks for the great feedback about the collection. The Adventure collection is also very popular and I hope you get a chance to try one on. NORQAIN is coming to the UK soon, too.

  • Emmanuel, NORQAIN US Director

    Looks like many others think the same as you. That is why they decide to use the engraving option and have their own personal message on the side plate rather than the NORQAIN written on the side.

  • Emmanuel, NORQAIN US Director

    ..

  • Shiv

    Thanks buddy but I registered because I own one of the watches and I love it. Not to downvote your comment… Cheers.

    • Mikita

      Ok, sorry. The common practice of people behind many of the microbrands is making fresh accounts and praising their watches in comments section, upvote each other and downvote those who disagree. Glad to hear that you are a genuine buyer.

      • egznyc

        I tend to look with a jaundiced eye at these things. He didn’t say he was a “buyer,” and an “owner” isn’t the same thing ;-).

        • Mikita

          Now I see – you must be right. Freshly made account, liking his own comments, “owner” 🙂

  • Ulysses31

    The chronograph looks really good. So does the three-hander. The pricing, however, is a problem. As a new brand, you can’t really jump straight in at the deep end and compete with far more well-established brands, that offer similar looking watches at similar prices. There has to be some hook for the customer. Why would they choose an unestablished, unknown company over the “big” names? That’s not actually a complaint, i’m just posing the question I imagine a lot of people would. Honestly, I really like the look. Little details, like the stitching in the leather strap made to echo the logo, are very nice.

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