Introducing the NORQAIN Adventure Neverest Night SightBy Suan Futt Yeo
We are spelling NORQAIN in capital letters because it is not a word (otherwise, ‘u’ would follow ‘q’, as TV comedy Mind Your Language, much-beloved in its time, tells us) but an acronym: New Open-minded Rebellious Quality time Adventure Independent Niche; a cluster of words that aptly describe the company and its aspirations. NORQAIN is an independent, family-owned Swiss watch company founded in 2018 and right off the bat, it aimed to offer customers something distinct to stand from the crowd. This begins with designing its watches in-house, and soon after its founding, the company announced in 2020 its long-term partnership with movement maker Kenissi, which is jointly owned by Tudor/Rolex, Breitling and Chanel.
A result of this partnership with Kenissi is the manufacture Calibre NN20/1 movement that drives the Night Sight. A mechanical watch with a delicately poised balance wheel beating inside needs all the help it can get to weather the jolts and shocks that are part and parcel of outdoor adventuring, for which Night Sight was intended. It was a good thing then, that instead of relying on more mainstream movements from the likes of ETA, Sellita, etc., NORQAIN was able to specify something more suited for Night Sight: a more rugged movement featuring a balance bridge that anchors the balance wheel on two points compared to a balance cock, with a beefy running time of 70 hours. Calibre NN20/1 is moreover a COSC-certified chronometer. As far as the insides are concerned, NORQAIN has the crucial fundamentals covered.
A first glance of the watch is positive: the Night Sight is an attractive watch, its sand-toned khaki dial is gentle on the eyes and clearly marked for easy reading, courtesy of black hand-applied numbers in satin finish. We also like the stencil font. In the dark is where everything lights up: the entire dial is coated with X1 Super-LumiNova and glows green.
Framing the dial is a bi-directional rotating bezel marked with the points of the compass, except for North, which bears NORQAIN’s double peak logo instead. Bezel, case and screw-down crown which is nestled between crown guards have black DLC coating to protect the watch from scratches. While not a dive watch, the Night Sight is nevertheless water resistant to 200 meters. As for all NORQAIN watches, the Night Sight has a display back, for viewing the manufacture movement. The Night Sight comes in three strap variants: a fabric strap, rubber strap or DLC treated steel bracelet.
The watch is not all that one buys into, though. There’s good to be done, as 10 percent of earnings from all watches in NORQAIN’s Neverest range are directly donated to the Butterfly Help Project which helps families of sherpas who have lost their lives in the Himalayan mountains and give their children access to education. For 2021, NORQAIN has committed to sending 50 children to school and supporting them in the coming years, paying for school fees, learning materials, books, uniforms, and athletic equipment.
There is great appetite for tool watches, not least because at the very basic level of need, the mechanical tool watch, despite is anachronistic innards, is able to justify its relevance to our lives. Be it mountaineering, spelunking, biking cross country, or weathering the challenges of daily life, a watch that is readily read, and can soak up shocks (within sane limits) without breaking, will easily find a place in our hearts. On this count, NORQAIN has delivered a lot of watch for the price when compared to many; the competition does get somewhat stiffer when comparing the Night Sight against other value champions. Yet improving local communities with one’s purchase is a good little thing that adds up.
We like the simple, clear layout of the dial; supplementing the toughness and precision of the watch, the whole package becomes fundamentally very sound. If having a solid caseback would shave off a bit of thickness, then that would be a nice option. Not all movements are meant to be admired visually.
Movement: Self-winding manufacture Calibre NN20/1, COSC-certified chronometer, 70 hours power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Case: 40mm (diameter) by 13.25mm (thickness), satin-finish stainless steel with DLC coating, bi-directional rotating bezel, domed sapphire crystal and display caseback, water resistant to 200 meters
Strap: Fabric, rubber or DLC bracelet
Price: SGD 5,180 (rubber/fabric strap), SGD 5,680 (DLC bracelet)