Well, things just got interesting. Just two years after being founded, independent brand Norqain is buddying-up with Kenissi to create two proprietary movements, the NN20/1, and the NN20/2. If you’re thinking you might have heard of Kenissi before, you’re probably right…

In an age of desperate flame-fanning and molehills regularly becoming mountains, real, actual, intriguing news should come with a health warning. As someone who is effectively allergic to hyperbole in real life (although not averse to a little bit of literary overstatement) this press release had me bouncing around the room, two bacon sandwiches shy of a heart attack. And I’ll happily tell you why…


Kenissi is the movement factory founded by Tudor to make — you guessed it — Tudor movements. Chanel also owns a 20% stake in the company. If the quality of caliber turned out of this facility is clearly good enough for a high-end Maison of Chanel’s esteem, and, more pertinently still, for Tudor, then a contract of this nature for a brand of Norqain’s size and standing is, quite simply, gob-smacking.

The fact that Tudor is willing to open its doors to a brand of such youth is remarkable. Okay, Norqain is not just any brand. Its foundation was overseen by men with years of experience in the industry. It is the brainchild of CEO Ben Küffer. Küffer brings 12 years of personal experience to the brand, along with the know-how of his father Mark and Ted Schneider (born into the family that, at one time, owned Breitling).


Very exciting news

This is not just an overnight agreement. This is a long-term arrangement. Whether Tudor intends on allowing Kenissi to become a movement supplier on the (former) scale of ETA remains to be seen. This could, however, be taken as an opening salvo to that eventuality. If so, it would be very exciting news for microbrands and start-ups the world over. Perhaps it would be even more important to established brands now struggling to separate themselves from price-point competitors or even obtain the necessary supplies.


The NN20 calibers

So what about the movements themselves? The first two calibers on for Norqain will be the NN20/1 (three-hander, time only), and the NN20/2 (GMT/date). Both movements, which appear structurally similar to Tudor’s own MT5601 and MT5652 engines. Both have a 70-hour power reserve and a chronometer rating. The NN20 calibers will debut in a series of novelties due to be launched this summer.

Some of the key features of the MT56## series prevail. Notably, the industrial finishing and the robust balance bridge. The cutout on the rotor weight is also similar in profile to those found on Tudor’s movements. You could be forgiven for not knowing that, though, as almost all Tudor watches have closed case backs. That’s where Norqain will differ. These handsome, no-frills movements will be visible through display case backs on every model they power. And I for one can’t wait to see how this bears out. Learn more about Norqain and the brand’s ambitions here.