Michaud Weekend Adventures in Zermatt with Norqain
Summer in the mountains around Zermatt is a hiking paradise as WorldTempus’ Sophie Furley discovers when she takes three Norqain watches on three different hikes
With its spectacular views on the Matterhorn, 38 four-thousand-metre peaks and 400 km of hiking trails, the Zermatt region is the place to be for those who like hiking and mountain trails. There are paths of varying difficulty and distance for every level of hiker/climber, ranging from family routes, lower-altitude circuits for pensioners, and technical trails for experienced climbers.
The Matterhorn Zermatt © WorldTempus/Sophie Furley
Michaud’s Mountain Hiking Recommendation
To keep track of time in this outdoor wilderness, I called upon Laurent Michaud, one of WorldTempus’ retail partners for some advice. Michaud has boutiques in both Neuchâtel and Verbier, so he is familiar with mountain sports and the type of robust timepieces needed for this kind of activity.
The first brand that came to mind for Michaud was Norqain: “Adventure is at the heart of Norqain,” he explains. “This new independent brand was founded by a young team and their watches are attracting a younger audience with a price positioning between CHF 1,800 and CHF 3,000. The timepieces are made with adventure and sporty exploits in mind. They are particularly versatile with their rubber straps, but also look great with a suit or out on the town. You can do everything with a Norqain.”
Mountain Chain Zermatt © WorldTempus/Sophie Furley
A quick call to Norqain and they didn’t only send me one watch, but three of their timepieces to test – the new Freedom 60 39mm bronze, the Adventure Sport 42mm, and the Adventure Sport 37mm – one for each hike that I had programmed over the weekend!
Day One: Schwarzsee to Zermatt Trail and the Freedom 60 39mm Bronze
The weather forecast was announcing heavy cloud coverage, so what a pleasant surprise to wake up to clear skies and the Matterhorn in full view. I decided to take the 20km Zermatt to Schwarzsee trail that offers the best views on the iconic mountain.
Norqain Freedom 60 39 mm Bronze © WorldTempus/Sophie Furley
Starting from Zermatt village, the trail climbs to the village of Zmutt at an altitude of 2,124 metres. This 500-year-old hamlet is home to traditional wooden houses on stilts that are typical of the region and were constructed in this way to keep mice away from the villagers’ food stocks.
An 500-year-old hamlet © WorldTempus/Sophie Furley
For this trail, I wore the Norqain Freedom 60 39mm Bronze with its attractive vintage look. The bronze timepiece comes with a black-coloured dial protected by a domed sapphire crystal. The hands and indexes are enhanced with “Old Radium” Super-LumiNova in the spirit of the Sixties. Note also the perlon rubber strap with its white “Norqain stitching” that resembles the peaks of mountain tops – a perfect detail for this trip.
Day Two: Riffelberg to Zermatt and Adventure Sport 37mm
On day two, I headed up to the Gornergrat on the cogwheel train to Riffelberg, which has the most spectacular scenic views. From here I had lunch and took a leisurely stroll back down to Zermatt. An easy hike, I bumped into a number of hikers who had decided to hike up before hiking down, making me feel a little guilty! But it left me more time to take pictures of the Adventure Sport 37mm with its mother-of-pearl dial reflecting all the colours of springtime in the light.
Adventure Sport 37 mm © WorldTempus/Sophie Furley
The Adventure Sport 37mm comes with an automatic movement that powers the hours, minutes, seconds, and date. Housed in a stainless-steel case with a red gold and ceramic bezel, and matching indexes and hands, and white rubber strap, the Adventure Sport 37mm is as sporty as it is elegant, corresponding to everything that Michaud had said about versatility.
Day Three: The Randa Suspension Bridge and the Adventure Sport 42mm Starting at the Randa railway station, this quite challenging hike takes walkers through Larchwood forests up to the Charles Kuonen suspension bridge that crosses the Grabengufer. It is 494 metres across and takes about 10 minutes to cross (longer if you have to carry your dog, as I did)! It isn’t for the faint-hearted as you can see through the grating and it sways in the wind (especially when your 12-year-old son decides to run across it)! But it is well worth the climb up there to experience it. The climb down the other side is also quite challenging with tired legs (I recommend good footwear with ankle support, not the running shoes that are pictured here)!
The Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge © WorldTempus/Sophie Furley
For this hike, I sported the Adventure Sport 42mm with its deep blue patterned dial and stainless-steel case with knurled blue ceramic bezel. The version I wore came on a blue Nordura fabric strap, but it also comes with a choice of a rubber strap or a stainless-steel bracelet. This robust timepiece is water-resistant to 100 metres and is powered by the brand’s Caliber NN09, which is visible through the caseback.
Adventure Sport 42 mm © WorldTempus/Sophie Furley
All the Norqain models made the ideal weekend partners. Adventure is certainly in their blood and at such affordable prices, they make the perfect all-rounder timepiece if you are looking for a watch that can do it all…and more!
Unique, customisable, free-spirited and independent, Norqain watches are designed in Nidau (Biel) and celebrate life in a journey where beautiful watchmaking meets adventure.Find out more >
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