The Wild ONE — Norqain’s innovative new sports watch

The Wild ONE — Norqain’s innovative new sports watch

Norqain isn’t messing around. Not only has the upstart brand — founded in 2018 — rapidly released a strong range of releases and taken a strong stance on sustainability, but they’ve also managed to attract some serious talent, announcing industry legend Jean-Claude Biver as an advisor to the board earlier this year.

The industry legend Jean-Claude Biver
The industry legend Jean-Claude Biver

Today we see just what Mr Biver has been working on — a new sports watch concept called the Wild ONE, made from a proprietary material called NORTEQ. Speaking on his role, Jean-Claude Biver says: “When I began working with Norqain, my first step was to challenge the team to innovate; to create a lightweight and shock-resistant timepiece that reflects the brand’s active DNA. This watch concept is exactly the kind of revolutionary development I was hoping for.”

NORTEQ is six times lighter than steel, and available in a range of colors. The material is a carbon-fiber composite, with a polymer matrix consisting of 60% bio-sourced castor oil. In addition to being lightweight and stylistically versatile, NORTEQ is well-balanced when it comes to density, elasticity and shock absorption. While I’m sure we’re going to see a veritable rainbow of NORTEQ colors from the brand in the coming months and years, right out of the gate, we are treated to it in black and burgundy.

Wild ONE Burgundy & Gray
Wild ONE Burgundy & Gray
The three-level laser-cut dial features an intricate mandala-like pattern of Norqian's mountain-inspired double-N logo
The three-level laser-cut dial features an intricate mandala-like pattern of Norqian's mountain-inspired double-N logo

The Wild ONE is more than just the material; it’s a unique design backed by a brand-new concept. Intended as the ultimate sports watch, the Wild ONE’s case construction is quite novel — the NORTEQ case top and bottom serve as a protective cage for the rest of the components, which are sandwiched between and secured with custom screws. The middle section of the case is actually a rubber shock absorber that holds a titanium core in place. This core houses the manufacture caliber NN20/1, which, thanks to that rubber bumper, is well protected against even the roughest of treatment — and going a long way toward backing up Norqain’s claims about the Wild ONE’s sport credentials. Of course, there’s also 200 meters of water resistance. In total, the case consists of 25 parts and weighs just 84 grams, or about half as much as an equivalent steel-cased watch.

The case is made of 25 parts, including four screws which are engraved with a mountain-peak design
The case is made of 25 parts, including four screws which are engraved with a mountain-peak design

The first pack of Wild ONE’s comes in four distinct flavors. The most classic option is a black case with khaki rubber shock absorber and strap (all the straps are integrated and vegan). There’s a black and blue option, and a striking limited edition with burgundy NORTEQ case elements contrasting with gray case-middle and strap, and gold-toned dial hardware. It’s worth paying attention to the dials, because the laser-cut patterns add a real richness and complexity to this already innovative design. The fourth and final model has been made with brand ambassador Dean Schneider — a 500-piece edition in black and sand. The dial is decorated with a lion fur pattern and the shock absorber has been mixed with sand from Schneider’s Hakuna Mipaka Oasis in South Africa, resulting in an intriguing speckled pattern. The sanctuary’s logo is on the caseback. About this special collaboration, Schneider says, “Creating this timepiece alongside Norqain showed me how much passion and effort goes into the development of their watches. It’s not only the wild, robust and modern style of the Wild ONE Hakuna Mipaka Limited Edition that makes it unique, but also the Hakuna Mipaka lion energy that flows through it.”

Wild ONE Hakuna Mipaka Limited Edition
Wild ONE Hakuna Mipaka Limited Edition
Wild ONE Black & Khaki
Wild ONE Black & Khaki
Wild ONE Black & Blue
Wild ONE Black & Blue

It’s also good to see that Norqain is upfront about the fact that it takes a village to make a watch. The brand has partnered with BIWI SA for the design, concept and material; MRP SA for case assembly and movement container construction; Montremo SA for the laser-cut dial; and Waeber HMS SA for the hands. That Norqain is being upfront about its suppliers and collaborators is a testament to the brand’s integrity. With the Wild ONE, it looks like Norqain’s winning streak will continue.

Tech Specs

Wild ONE Black & Blue/ Wild ONE Black & Khaki

Wild ONE Black & Blue
Wild ONE Black & Khaki

Movement: Self-winding caliber NN20/1; 70 hours of power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Case: 42mm by 12.3mm, NORTEQ cage, rubber shock absorber, sandblasted titanium container and case back in various colors; water-resistant to 200m
Dial: Three-level laser-cut dial with mandala-like pattern in various colors
Strap: Integrated mesh rubber strap in various colors
Price: USD 5,290


Wild ONE Burgundy & Gray

Wild ONE Burgundy & Gray

Movement: Self-winding caliber NN20/1; 70 hours of power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Case: 42mm; NORTEQ cage, rubber shock absorber, sandblasted titanium container and case back in various colors; water-resistant to 200m
Dial: Three-level laser-cut dial with mandala-like pattern in various colors
Strap: Integrated mesh rubber strap in various colors
Price: USD 5,690
Availability: Limited to 200 pieces


Wild ONE Hakuna Mipaka

Wild ONE Hakuna Mipaka Limited Edition

Movement: Self-winding caliber NN20/1; 70 hours of power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Case: 42mm; NORTEQ; sand-infused sand color rubber shock absorber, sandblasted titanium container and case back; water-resistant to 200m
Dial: Three-level laser-cut dial with lion fur pattern in black
Strap: Integrated mesh rubber strap in black
Price: USD 5,590
Availability: Limited to 500 pieces

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Felix Scholz

Felix Scholz has spent the last decade covering watches from his home in Australia. Given this, it's surprising that he still struggles with time zones. Over the years he's become a firm believer that less is more when it comes to watch design – except when a rainbow bezel is involved. He's written for numerous titles including Hodinkee, GQ, A Collected Man and more. These days he looks after the Australian edition of Revolution and takes a break from writing about watches to talk about them, as the co-host of OT: The Podcast.

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