For this third "watchmaker’s chronicle", I’ve decided to talk to you about a brand that we love in Neuchâtel and that we have supported since its founding: Norqain. Who and what is Norqain all about? Sit back and relax, I'll tell you the whole story.
Norqain is a watch brand born in 2018 from a blank sheet of paper, driven by a determination to promote strong values of independence and freedom. This profoundly human horological adventure was embarked upon by former employees of famous watch manufacturer Breitling and is spearheaded by its youthful yet experienced founder, Ben Küffer.
Norqain is a regional brand located within 30 minutes of Neuchâtel – in Nidau – and is well worth a visit.
With three main collections named after its core values of Adventure, Freedom and Independence, the brand has received a great response from the public thanks to extremely well-finished products.
The Adventure collection offers watches with a decidedly sporty design. The Freedom collection draws inspiration from the 1960s with a retro design tinged a deliciously vintage flavour. The Independence collection is dedicated to giving free rein to creativity through limited-production models.
A Swiss brand – and proud of it!
Norqain is not just another brand bearing the precious Swiss Made label. Norqain is a Swiss brand and proud of it! Its logo (the stylised N for Norqain) is inspired by the beautiful peaks of the Swiss mountains. It is above all in Switzerland that the brand wished to start its development, because it is proud of its roots and its Swiss culture.
Also supported by Mark Streit, the international ice hockey star and multiple champion who serves on Norqain’s management team as well as its Board of Directors, the Biel-based brand has quickly made a name for itself within this sport that is extremely popular in Switzerland.
A close-up look at the new Neverest collection
Neverest stands for "Never resting" or N for Norqain plus Everest, the highest peak in the world. The Neverest collection is a variation of the Adventure collection, through which Norqain wanted to promote new solidarity-driven values by setting up humanitarian and environmental projects. In developing two models that will be integrated directly into the current collection, Neverest is asserting this strong desire through a green dial and a glacier-style version.
The Adventure Neverest picks up the aesthetic codes of the Adventure collection, namely a unidirectional bezel with a knurled finish, polished straight sides, satin-brushed lugs, as well as generous polished chamfers. The case has however been slightly redesigned with two crown guards on either side. The customisable plate found on all the collections is now more deeply recessed into the case middle, which has also been resized to an ideal 40mm diameter.
A detailed look at each dial reveals the woven pattern typical of the Adventure collection, which can also be interpreted as a fascinating tangle of peaks and mountains. On the green version, the combination of black and green lends a certain depth and additional dimension to the green hue, and this particular shade is extremely interesting!
In the other interpretation, a stunning white dial endows the Glacier version watch with its unique character and the pattern gives the impression of having a watch face literally made from a piece of glacier.
Another novelty lies in the emergence of elastic fabric straps, based on the principles of the watch straps formerly worn by French Navy divers and featuring hook-type fastening. We had a chance to preview these straps by trying them on and they offer entirely unexpected degree of comfort!
If we now examine the technical aspects of this new version of Adventure Neverest, it features optimised water-resistance thanks to its case construction (with a screw-lock crown and screw-down back) and is able to resist 20-bar pressure corresponding to that exerted underwater at a depth of 200m.
These Neverest models are driven by the new Manufacture movement resulting from the partnership with Kenissi: chronometer-certified Calibre NN20/1 with a generous 70-hour power reserve. This mechanism is entirely worthy of the ambition behind this new collection that is built for adventure in any conditions!
You will by now have realised that this new Adventure Neverest collection has won me over! The values promoted by the brand resonate with me and I am totally in tune with them.
At the end of the day, the big problem with this collection is deciding which one to choose!
Norqain Neverest in Nepal with The Butterfly Help-Project
The launch of the Neverest collection bucks the usual Swiss watch industry trends by joining forces with the humanitarian action of The Butterfly Help-Project: a Swiss association that supports the families of Sherpas who have lost their lives in the Himalayan mountains by giving their children access to education.
The funds raised by this association are used for two main purposes: to help fund the education of these orphaned children (study fees, school materials, books, ...), and to support the training of Sherpas in the exercise of their duties as mountain guides.
Norqain has already participated in the support of this association by financing the schooling of 50 children in this region of Nepal, and by deciding to accompany them for the next few years. All the actions implemented today will be beneficial for the following generations, and it is based on this determination to look ahead that Norqain has decided to allocate 10% of the profits from the Neverest collection to the humanitarian action of The Butterfly Help-Project.
Since the official launch of its collections in 2019, Norqain has accustomed us to ever more daring new introductions. The launch of bronze models, a GMT complication, new Manufacture movements equipped with the latest technical features, as well as finishing corresponding to the highest watch industry standards.
In presenting the new Neverest collection, Norqain is creating a big splash with models boasting a unique design and a strong identity, in dimensions resized meet the needs of its already substantial audience of brand enthusiasts.
Yes, I'm 200% subjective because this new collection appealed to me for all the reasons I've discussed in this review! And when I’m impressed, I say so. So well done, Norqain!