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Since beginning, indie brand Norqain unveiled the Freedom 60 collection - a true heritage design that harks back to the sixties where wristwatches are becoming in vogue. It is especially so with rugged watches that allows one to wear it for adventures and exploration. Think iconic timepieces like the Seiko Alpinists and the Rolex explorer (the 30s-40s Oyster Everests). Once you get the picture we know their “free” spirit echoes within what the Freedom 60 timepieces are about. Developed as an 60s all-rounder throwback watch, the Norqain Freedom 60 GMT 40mm Opaline delivers some exciting elements in its vintage design and overall character, echoing a powerful yet incredibly refined visuals, ready for a lifetime of adventures the watch is intended for. At its modern core, the Freedom 60 40mm GMT presents an understated three-hander design, executed to a high level of detail in every aspect.
|Norqain Freedom 60 GMT 40mm Opaline - Perlon Rubber Strap Ref. NN2100SG/O211|
Founded by CEO Ben Küffer in 2018, family-owned and fully-independent Luxury watch manufacturer Norqain is based in Nidau (Bienne) at the heart of the Swiss watch industry. Built on the abundance of experience and deep ties in the Swiss watchmaking industry of founder Ben Küffer and the Küffer family, Norqain explores the brand’s passion for Swiss mechanical watches with a bold sense of authenticity, uniqueness and rebellious character trait for those who are not afraid to carve their own path in life. Despite being on the market for a relatively short span of time, Norqain has brought a huge shake up in the luxury Swiss watch manufacturing industry, rapidly growing with an impressive range of creative dial designs and performance-driven Swiss mechanics.
Crafted out of 316L stainless-steel, the case of the Norqain Freedom 60 GMT 40mm Opaline feels just like what you’d expect to get from an all-dial sports watch, from its excellent finishes to the gentle curves and pleasing proportions. Coming in with a diameter of 40mm, a lug to lug distance of 49.2mm and a case thickness of 14.5mm, these dimensions welcome a whole range of wrist sizes with a comfortable and versatile fit while at the same time, showing off a fair dose of wrist presence indicating that the watch means business.
|Fine vertical brushing finishing case|
For the most part, the case is meticulously finished with high mirror polishing across the top of the lugs and the side of the case. However, a closer look reveals a highly-polished chamfer along the elegant lugs, reflecting on the brand’s close attention to detail to ensure no expenses were spared despite being a rather young brand. Keeping in line with the rest of Norqain’s timepieces, Norqain’s distinctive screw-on polished plate rests at the left side of the case. The watch is presented on a black perlon-textured rubber strap with the characteristic “NORQAIN stitches”, resembling mountain tops, also for a sportier look.
As an all-dial watch, the Norqain Freedom 60 GMT 40mm Opaline unveils a bold stark white dial, with an inner “Pepsi” bi-tone colorways for the 24-hour scale. This colour combination not only brings a great deal of character and depth to the dial, and also gives the watch superb legibility. The finer details just gets more impressive with a set of hand applied and finished faceted indices syringe handsets, reflecting on the brand’s incredible mastery in watchmaking. Same goes for the applied hour markers, both are done in Old Radium Superluminova luminous tone. For the GMT hand, the arrow tip is done in matching red, setting out distinctively for its wearer to grasp two time-zones simultaneously with ease. For additional functionality, the presence of a date window here brings forth a sporty compelling look. To top it all off, the dial is protected by a scratch resistant retro box-shaped sapphire crystal, treated with double anti-reflective coating for an ultra-clear view of this magnificent dial.
|Old-Radium Super-Luminova treated bronze syringe-style handsets|
Under the hood, the Norqain Freedom 60 GMT 40mm Opaline belies the chronometer certified Norqain manufacture Caliber NN20/2 automatic GMT movement, a powerhouse of a Swiss-made movement delivering superior mechanical performance with 28 rubies and a hefty 70 hours of power reserve. Running at a rate of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz), the movement features Norqain’s custom rotor alongside a personalized bridge engraved with the core values of the brand. As a “True” GMT, the movement allows for a quick-set feature to advance the hour hand forward or backward independently, a convenient feature for frequent travellers. At the back of the watch, a sapphire exhibition caseback reveals this magnificent movement in all its glory.
The Norqain Freedom 60 GMT 40mm Opaline will always have a spot in the hearts of watch enthusiasts who are into vintage attributes. Sure, it takes inspirations and design cues from the past, but the modern take by Norqain is so different that I think it has real merit and deserves consideration. It managed to deliver greatness in just about all aspects of a perfect every-occasion timepiece, especially so for seasoned travellers. With the brand continuously bringing modern interpretations of these classic models, the Freedom 60 GMT carries on the proud legacy of an golden era with welcoming modern upgrades achieved with watchmaking excellence.