Every few years in the watch making world, there are some brands that rise up quickly, wanting to be noticed and making all the right sort of noise so to speak. While many fade away into oblivion after trying, some brands turn the heads of watch collectors and industry players; being noticed for doing all the right things. Such brands are a diamond in the rough; far and often few between. However, when done right, it excites the community and slowly but surely becomes considered as a staple or essential in many collectors’ collection. Norqain has found the right formula and balance to be one such brand.
In 2018, the year of Norqain’s conceptualisation, it made a splash with a focus on Swiss made and with its very distinctive flair for creating pieces that did not conform. Family owned and with no bias, they set out to focus on a philosophy that embodies the feeling of going off the beaten track. Along with the Swiss philosophy of creating fine timepiece instruments made with precision, Norqain set out to produce hand-assembled mechanical watches with the highest levels of quality.
Norqain has a very distinctive style that sets it apart from a very crowded and saturated market and that in itself is no easy feat. This has been done from the nascent story to the conceptualisation of the brand entailing the design, detailing and focused marketing of the ‘Norqainer’ club. Norqain has managed to complete the finicky puzzle of penetrating an already crowded watch market from the get go, which is something not every watch company has done well or right.
If you are unfamiliar with Norqain, the team behind it is made up of group of very talented individuals who have great experience. The founders include members that have watch making background with over 40 years in very reputable companies, specifically Breitling, and includes sportsmen who have are extremely notable in their field.
Norqain has many notable athletes partnering them through the Norqainer club making it more attractive and truly embodying the names of their various collections. Looking at the personalities in the Norqainer Club, a stellar group of individuals shine and are a part of this elite group. It has definitely left me feeling that I would love to be a Norqainer too and a part of the elusive club.
The piece I have today is probably one of their most notable pieces and is very distinctively Norqain. From style to finish, it is meant to be a standout piece and definitely meant to go places and be with you on your adventures. From the aptly named adventure collection, I have the Adventure Sport in 42MM.
The Case & Bezel
The Adventure Sport is a piece that is going to be evident on your wrist with its 42MM case size. Not to shy away but to be prominent and stand out, with a lug to lug length of 50.2MM it is pushing towards the range of a relatively large piece. However, the sleek curvature of the lugs and steep angles does make it look and feel like a 48MM. From the side, the downturn style of the lugs almost looks like a pedestal on which the case rests nicely atop like a fine looking trophy. Overall, this style of lugs softens the very tough and rugged style of the dial, which makes it more androgynous and ideal for any genders.
Another unique aspect of this piece is that on the left side of the case, there is a polished plate screwed on the side. This plate would have the ‘Norqain’ name engraved into it by default, however at a reasonable price it can be customised to make it more personal with your name, initials or anything to your liking. On the other side sits the crown with the Norqain logo, the double N that creates a mountain peak.
The case is topped with a double anti reflective; scratch proof sapphire glass to ensure it can withstand the challenges and adventure it sets out to do. The caseback as well is made of scratch proof sapphire glass and is screw down.
Built to be a tool watch, to be an essential for any adventure, the Adventure Sport looks like a well-made and robust dive styled looking watch. Though it may not specifically be a dive watch, it is watch resistant to 100M and it gives many other dive watches some added competition.
The bezel on the Adventure Sport is a polished ceramic insert, predominantly in grey that contrasts and blends very nicely with the dial and works very well in unison. It is a unidirectional rotating bezel; the sides have been knurled for ease of grip and use. The knurling is not only practical but visually adds some very nice added dimension to an otherwise very smooth and polished piece. Forged with quality, it shows when rotated, it feels secure and moves with a little force and has very crisp clicks without any resistance.
The most characteristic and distinctive feature of this piece has to be the design of the dial.
It is meant to be unique, to stand out and to set it apart from its peers. The eye catching, weave-like pattern on the dial is an individual trait to Norqain and is something not seen on almost any other watch. This helps you immediate differentiate and make this piece stand out from the crowd and as recognisable as a Norqain. For me this is a stroke of genius from the team in Norqain, as with the throngs of many similar styled sports watches it is rare to distinguish a particular brand so easily from the crowd. This contrasting feature has given Norqain an advantage in standing out for all the right reasons.
The weave like texture or even to an extend that looks like a guilloche of braided patterns on the dial that is called the Norqain pattern, is not only unique but done in a manner that reflects the light and casts different shades on the dial. It what seems like a predominantly black dial, at certain angles showcases alternating shades across the weaved style design. Whilst it looks as a row is recognisably black, but, the alternate row looking almost bluish. Thus, imbuing it with an almost cloth like texture whilst viewing it from vantage points.
From a design point of view, it bears resemblance to a herringbone pattern. As well upon closer peering into the dial, the design seems to be three-dimension adding a level of depth instead of being dull and flat. For me this level of depth and detailing of shades on the dial with a similar pattern throughout is commendable and makes this piece all the more alluring and sophisticated.
Moving of the mesmerising design of the dial, it has a generous amount of bluish lume on the hands and in the form of baton indexes at every hour and a double baton at the twelve o’clock position. With the three o’clock position being the only exception with a compressed lume marker to make way for a square date window in monochromic colours to blend with the dial. The only splash of colour comes on the triangular tip of the second hand which is in red and is as well coated in lume.
In keeping the dial nice and neat so that the distinctive Norqain pattern stands out there are only few other details on the dial. At the twelve o’clock position below the lume markers bears the logo and name of Norqain. On the opposite end at the six o’clock position is stated ‘Automatic’ in red to match the hands of the piece and creating some contrast and below that ‘100M/330FT’ and further below the words Swiss made are separated on either side of the six o’clock lume marker.
Movement & Bracelet
What powers this magnificently made machine is an in house Norqain calibre NN08 based of the Sellita SW200-1 and is self-winding. In terms of the grade used, it is the chronometer version of the movement. This movement comes with 26 jewels, has a power reserve of 38 hours and beats at 28,800 BPH. It comes with the very much sought after hacking movement and Norqain has added their brand name and logo on the rotor.
As for the bracelet on this piece, it further adds to the tool watch dynamics. It is fitted with a 316L stainless steel four link bracelet. Presented in contrasting styles of brushed on the outer two links and polished on the middle two links, this creates a very refined finished feel and adds to the overall sportsy desired feel. The style of the bracelet looks great and complements the timepiece perfectly. As seen on other Norqain pieces and this alike, it would definitely look good even on a strap or NATO band and has that level of veristically to allow its wearer to explore different styles.
Some may say that Norqain has a very one faceted design philosophy throughout many of time pieces, in the similar styles of the dial, a one trick pony of sorts. However, I beg to differ and find it as an individualistic mark of identity and staying true to ambition of building an image that will soon become synonymous and recognisable within the watch making community. It feels like a very well made tool and utilitarian watch that has a very dive styled built but ensures to be a fit for the toughest of actions and an ideal partner for your every adventure. It has the right focus on style while being very legible and still retains a very good level of comfort.
In the same sense that you know a Panerai from a mile away, this distinctive style that Norqain has will grow to become a differentiating factor that will indeed make it comprehensibly conspicuous from the rest. I feel for such a young brand to have such a strong distinction and resolute to stick to their ideologies is commendable and I am certain many more distinctively Norqain pieces embody its distinctive style and heritage. I am sure Norqain will definitely get noticed and grow in the years to come.
I feel that Norqain is that one brand in recent times that is meant to be taken seriously and will forge a distinctive path into becoming a well-known name in the industry; on its way to watch making greatness; leaving many others with mouth-gaping in wide eyed wonder only to watch (pun intended).
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