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Norqain has announced their latest release, a limited edition, green dialed watch in their Independence collection. Norqain is a relatively new brand, releasing their first watches in 2018, but have quickly gained a reputation for producing premium products at a competitive price point, in a design language that mixes the classical and modern. The Independence 20, as the new watch is known, also features a very interesting movement that many readers might already be familiar with, and points to a new road ahead for the brand.
Norqain Independence 20
- Case Material: Stainless steel
- Dial: Green
- Dimensions: 42 x 11.8 x 48.75
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Water Resistance: 100 meters
- Crown: Screw down
- Movement: Caliber NN20/1
- Strap/bracelet: Leather strap, stainless steel bracelet
- Price: $2,840 – $2,990
- Reference Number: NN3000S03A/E301/102SI
- Expected Release: Available now
The big news with the Independence 20 is the movement, dubbed Caliber NN20/1. This movement in collaboration with Kenissi, the firm founded by Tudor to produce their own in-house movements. The NN20/1 has many of the same attributes as Tudor’s movements, including the free sprung balance, a full balance bridge, a 70 hour power reserve, and COSC certification. (An important difference, and one that might account for the lower cost of the Independence 20 when compared to Kenissi powered Tudors, is the lack of a silicon hairspring in the NN20/1.) It’s no secret that at Worn & Wound we’re big fans of Tudor’s in-house movements (we just discussed this very topic in a recent podcast), so a caliber that is nearly identical, made by the same people, in a package that’s considerably less expensive than an already value oriented product naturally has our interest piqued.
We should perhaps take a moment here to define our terms when it comes to “in-house” movements and so forth, and also lay out exactly what Kenissi is, and is not. Kenissi, based in Geneva, is purely a movement manufacturer (not a watch brand), and shares production space with Tudor. Kenissi has been around since 2016, and is managed by Tudor directly, and has been a semi-exclusive partner of theirs since 2018. Kenissi has also produced movements for Chanel (who, as of 2018, owns a 20% stake in the movement maker), and now Norqain, but otherwise could be thought of as “the industrial arm of Tudor,” as they’ve been referred to in the press. Since they have a controlling interest in Kenissi, it seems fair to label Tudor’s movements “in-house.” This is obviously a nuanced topic, and reasonable people will have differing views on when and how the in-house moniker should be applied, but this kind of tight relationship between a big brand and specialty supplier is not unheard of in the watch world.
In any case, based on pedigree, we can assume the movement is a well made, high quality mechanism. But that doesn’t mean much if the watch isn’t appealing. You have to like what you see when you check the time, after all. The dial, surrounded by a black outer ring with a minutes track, uses what Norqain refers to as a “scratched forest green” effect, which appears to have an interesting crosshatch texture. Norqain says that each dial is technically unique, with no two having the exact same pattern.
The case of the Independence 20 seems to me to be something of a pure, modern, Swiss sports watch. It’s substantial at 42mm, but comes in at less than 12mm thick, which should give it a familiar wrist presence for anyone who is used to wearing contemporary sports watches. The Independence 20 has prominent “wings” flanking the sides of the case, giving it a burly appearance that underscores the watch’s overall sporty nature. But that’s complemented by faceted hour markers, polished center links on the bracelet, and skeletonized hands that help to refine and balance the design of the Independence 20.
The Independence 20 is available now from Norqain, with a retail price of $2,840 on a leather strap, or $2,990 on a bracelet, and is a limited edition of 200. Norqain