You Say You Want A Revolution? NORQAIN’s Independence 20 Represents A New Age For Collectors
The independent Swiss watch company teams up with Tudor-founded movement manufacturer Kenissi to create a new limited-edition timepiece.
Founded just two years ago, NORQAIN has quickly made a big impression in the world of watch collecting. While the fully independent, family-owned brand (HERE) is based in Nidau, at the heart of the Swiss watchmaking industry, it operates in a very non-traditional manner.
First off, NORQAIN has been very transparent about its manufacturing practices. Enthusiasts have never been better educated about calibers and certifications, so there’s no point in obfuscating the origins of the young company’s movements.
And in the case of the new Independence 20, they are celebrating their partnership with supplier Kenissi (HERE); a movement manufacture that is the “industrial arm” of the Rolex-owned Tudor (Chanel also owns a 20 percent stake in the company). And while the brand is still very young, this watch represents an exciting new era for NORQAIN.
Turn The Beat Around
Founded in 2018, NORQAIN quickly caught the eye of collectors for its quality and finishing. The brand had a few other advantages over other crowd-sourced independents that sprung up at the end of the last decade, namely connections. CEO and Founder Ben Küffer’s father Marc was on the Board of Directors for the Swiss Watch Industry Association for 45 years. Board member Ted Schneider is a member of the family that owned Breitling for nearly 40 years. And another board member is the Swiss hockey legend and Stanley Cup winner Mark Streit.
No doubt their combined contact lists helped get NORQAIN into some top-notch boutiques around the world such as Westime, Tourneau, and Govberg in the United States, L’Oro in Canada, Bucherer in Switzerland, WEMPE in Germany, and Seddiqi in the UAE as well as 30 partners in Japan. And Streit’s connections also landed the brand a partnership with the National Hockey League Players’ Association.
But old school ties can only go so far. This is why NORQAIN is also seeking to shake things up by focusing (for the moment) on three collections – Adventure, Freedom, and Independence – all exclusively equipped with mechanical automatic movements. These watches are appealing to younger buyers because of their accessible price point and unique aesthetic but also their commitment to excellence. Enter, Kenissi.
To keep costs down, NORQAIN could simply buy movements. But starting with the Independence 20 powered by the three-handed Kenissi Manufacture Calibre NN20/1 chronometer movement, NORQAIN is celebrating the next level of its independence.
“It was important to us that the first product to feature one of NORQAIN’s Manufacture Calibres would be an Independence timepiece because our exclusive movements represent a major step toward the brand’s own independence,” said Ben Küffer in a press release. “We are excited to offer customers and fans a timepiece that captures the spirit of this major milestone.”
This robust movement includes a transversing bridge with a two-point fixation, ensuring the timekeeping performance will not be hindered by strenuous activity. And all NORQAIN watches come with a four-year international warranty – and if a buyer joins the NORQAINER Club within one month after their purchase, they’ll receive an extra year of coverage.
The Independence 20 is also COSC-certified and has a “weekend-proof” power reserve of 70 hours. All for less than $3,000!
Into The Woods
This sporty, 42mm, timepiece is further distinguished by its looks. The dial of the Independence 20 features a “scratched” forest green surface. This decoration is unique for each timepiece as no two models look exactly the same. The dial is surrounded by a black inner bezel with a 60-minute indication and hand-applied indices. The facetted hour and minute hands have Super-LumiNova coated tips while the seconds hand has a red tip that matches the red “Chronometer” indication on the dial.
Symbolism is also an important feature of the Independence 20. According to NORQAIN, the green dial represents hope. The stainless steel case, which features satined, polished, and sandblasted finishings, signifies sophistication. The polished NORQAIN plate is on the left side of the case and is ready for the wearer to personalize it with a motto, memorable date, or other important detail from the wearer’s life story.
The Independence 20 is presented either on a stainless steel bracelet with brushed and polished links or integrated black Barenia leather strap.
Limited to just 200 pieces, the Independence 20 is $2,840 for the leather strap version and $2,990 for the stainless steel bracelet. It is now available from NORQAIN.com and authorized NORQAIN retailers.
(Images provided by NORQAIN)