New Release: Norqain’s Independence 22 Skeleton In A Non-Limited Edition
Norqain has billed the Independence as a collection of COSC-certified timepieces. The brand has made these models in limited-edition runs once every year since the 2019 debut model. But that is about to change. The Swiss independent brand has just introduced the Independence 22 that will be here to stay. The novelty is a skeletonized mechanical timepiece in stainless steel with an initial run of 300 pieces. The brand, however, will produce more based on demand.
Norqain CEO Ben Küffer explains, “…it’s important to our team that our fans can purchase and wear the watches that we launch…[We] will continue to produce more of this timepiece to ensure that watch lovers who want to add it to their collection will have the possibility to do so.”
The one with staying power
What a refreshing message at a time when making watches inaccessible is all the rage. Norqain created its first-ever open-worked timepiece in 2021, exemplifying the brand’s edgy-luxury expression in the Batman-esque Independence 21 DLC Skeleton that Lex wrote about. To follow up on the sell-out success, Norqain brings out a stainless steel special edition that will remain in its core line-up per demand. The Independence 22 Skeleton features a 42mm case with a lot of personality and a now-proprietary skeletonized automatic movement.
Obsessing over detail
As my memory is still fresh from covering Norqain’s Freedom 60 Unisex model in April, it quickly hits home how much the Independence appeals to me on an entirely different level. For me, the Independence 22 in particular is all about the case design. The 42mm case is special in the way it incorporates the crown with elongated protectors in such an alluring form.
The screw-down crown has thick grooves which offer a better sense of space next to an intricate dial, and chamfers exactly where the boxy protectors end help to smooth the line. The case shape is somewhat elegantly balanced by the left flank with the contour of the nameplate, capitalizing on a signature feature in Norqain watches. These are not your typical lines in watches with crown guards. And while they may be the “detail” in this “case”, they leave me obsessed.
The skeletonized movement
On top of its distinctive form, the case features a satin finish, sandblasting on the lug flanks, and a high polish on the chamfers. It stands 11.8mm in height and measures 48.75mm lug-to-lug. Norqain has equipped it with a double anti-reflective (yet scratch-proof) box sapphire glass to protect the revealing engine underneath. It may look fairly industrial in a metallic ruthenium color, but the focus of the aesthetics is, of course, on the skeleton structure itself. The Sellita SW200-1 base movement has received a cut-away treatment to reveal the mechanical wonder within. Norqain calls this caliber the NN08S and has had it chronometer-certified, as stated at the beginning.
As with all skeletons, it’s always a delicate balancing act between displaying the wonderful inner workings and showing the time. The Independence 22 shows five-minute markings on the rehaut in white. Applied indexes sit atop a circular frame that forms the chapter ring. The hour and minute hands are mostly skeletonized, while the seconds hand has a red tip for enhanced legibility. The handset and indexes all contain Super-LumiNova C1 X1, which emits a white glow. Though there’s no space on the dial for the Norqain logo, you won’t miss it; the brand has printed it right onto the sapphire glass.
The whole package
Not only can you admire the mechanism from the front, but you are also privy to a rear view through the scratch-proof sapphire glass. The custom Norqain rotor with stylish cut-outs is a nice touch. It oscillates to generate a power reserve of 38 hours and keeps the Norqain caliber NN08S ticking at a balance frequency of 28,800vph (4Hz). The watch comes on on a three-link stainless steel bracelet with brushed outer links, polished center links, and a milled folding clasp. Norqain will offer the Independence 22 Skeleton in the inaugural run of 300 pieces at €3,650 including VAT. It comes with a two-year warranty as standard, which owners can extend to three years by joining the NORQAINER club.
Norqain is a family-run independent business that has already made serious inroads in a few short years. But it is not just another independent brand in the watch industry that is fueled by pure passion. The company clearly came with an ambitious and comprehensive business plan to carve out a space for the long haul. Imagine any startup striving to execute its five-year or ten-year plan, and Norqain must be on a roll with hitting the critical milestones, starting with a board of directors with first-rate credentials, signing a strategic partnership with Kenissi (a prominent Swiss movement manufacturer), securing an expansive worldwide retail network right from the get-go, opening its Swiss flagship store in Zermatt, and announcing Jean-Claude Biver as an advisor to the board just this month. Not to mention already building up a respectable catalog of watch references.
All of this is only important to end customers as it translates to quality standards and control while giving an early indicator for longevity. And for those who buy not only with the heart but also with their head, especially from a newish name in this price bracket, this may offer some level of assurance to pull the trigger.
To learn more about the Independence 22 Skeleton and the Norqain world, visit the brand’s official website.