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Norqain - Norqain Freedom 60: worth a closer look

Norqain Norqain Freedom 60: worth a closer look

A casual observer will see an ersatz tricompax. A connoisseur will take the trouble to look a little more closely. The Norqain Freedom 60 holds its cards close to its chest.

Some might wonder what makes this new Norqain chronograph different from the others. Honestly? Nothing! The answer will probably surprise you. But that might be because you’re asking the wrong question. Does anyone bother to ask why Patek Philippe continues to churn out Calatravas? Or why Breguet is re-issuing the Classique? And haven’t we seen every possible variation on the Reverso, over the last 90 years? 

Clearly not. Because these watches are made by illustrious watchmakers, these are not questions anyone asks. But before they acquired their reputation, these manufactures all started out by creating simple watches that were largely inspired by what other watchmakers had done before. Norqain is doing the same thing. So let’s give this fledgling brand the same courtesy we grant its elders.

Norqain Freedom 60: worth a closer look

Freedom 60 Chrono Steel - Anthracite Dial © Norqain

Nothing to hide

Norqain is all about transparency and good workmanship. It doesn’t claim to have centuries of history – it’s a young brand. And that’s not a bad thing, since it is targeting young collectors or, in other words,  the people who will set the trends of the future, but who don’t yet have the disposable income! 

Norqain is following a two-pronged strategy. The first is to clearly identify its suppliers. That’s a good idea. Young collectors, who are far better informed (thanks to the internet) than previous generations, know what a base movement is, they are familiar with the COSC, and they can tell the difference between a generic Asian calibre and an authentic Swiss movement. 

So Norqain very clearly explains what powers the new Freedom 60: it’s an ETA 7753, derived from the illustrious Valjoux 7750 movement. It’s a movement with a stellar pedigree, and nothing at all to prove. Does anyone need reminding that it equipped Breitling’s legendary Navitimer, among many others? And it’s no coincidence that the erstwhile CEO of the brand with the (formerly) winged B, Teddy Schneider, is now a member of the board of... Norqain! 

Norqain Freedom 60: worth a closer look

Freedom 60 Chrono Steel - Anthracite Dial © Norqain

Affordable

The second prong of Norqain’s strategy is price. The idea of “timeless luxury that combines tradition and modernity”, with its CHF 10,000 price tag, is past its sell-by date. The concept no longer applies, and, incidentally, young collectors are fully aware of the cost price of a Swiss Made watch. Consequently, Norqain has chosen to take the affordable route – a Freedom 60 with leather strap starts at CHF 3720. The approach is intelligent and reasonable, and consistent with the ambitions of what is still a very young brand. 

For that price, the Freedom 60 comes with a domed sunburst dial, a decorated movement, luminescent markers, a screw-down crown and two sapphire crystals (front and back). The hands are faceted, and filled with a shade of SuperLuminova that emits a vintage green similar to that of radium back in the day. These details all add to the cost, but in return they bring genuine added value to the Freedom 60. The icing on the cake is that it will be offered in a limited edition of 200, each with a customised horizontal plaque bearing the legend “Limited Edition – ONE out of 200”. In conclusion, Norqain may not be bringing anything particularly new to the table, but to get hold of such a well-finished watch, in a limited edition, with guaranteed reliability, from a 100% independent Swiss brand, and at such a reasonable price, is an extremely tempting proposition.

 

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Unique, customisable, free-spirited and independent, Norqain watches are designed in Nidau (Biel) and celebrate life in a journey where beautiful watchmaking meets adventure.

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