INTRODUCING: The trimmed down Norqain Freedom 60 Chrono 40mmRicardo Sime
For the last two weeks, the watch world has been transfixed by the “new”. New watches. New collections. Even new movements. And in such times, it’s easy for a brand to fall into this desire for novelty. But that isn’t the case for the young brand Norqain. For them, doing something new for the sake of it isn’t always the best idea. Sometimes it’s better to build off your previous successes and simply refine your vision. Such is the case with their newest release, the Norqain Freedom 60 Chrono in 40mm sizing.
The larger Freedom 60 Chrono came in at 43mm and had a very classic case design. It featured topside polishing on its lugs and bezel which gave way to brushed flanks. The sapphire sandwich construction came in at 15mm thick and still managed to provide the wearer with a comforting 100 metres of water resistance, aided by a screw-down crown.
As part of the downsizing, the case width has come down to a more wearable 40mm. Thickness sees a slight decrease to 14.9mm. That all important lug-to-lug also comes down from 51mm to 49.2mm. Everything else remains the same. Including the 20mm lug width, which creates better symmetry to the naked eye with a 40mm case.
Somehow, which is truly a testament to the skills of their designers, Norqain has managed to keep the overall case aesthetic that was appealing with the larger predecessor.
Although maybe I spoke too soon. Because as you make your way in from the dial, you start to see certain sacrifices that had to be made to achieve these cuts. It’s seen in the tachymetre scale that surrounds the dial. As it’s in a contrasting white colour, it’s new thinner thickness is quite apparent. This is where the smaller version of the Freedom 60 Chrono noticeably differentiates itself from its predecessor.
Yet, this differentiation is a welcome sight. Where the older Freedom 60 Chronos lacked that bit of contrast on the dial that many of us like, this new version has it in spades. To me, that makes the dial more interesting. Furthermore, these new Royal Blue and Anthracite colours add a nice pop of colour.
I’ll gladly take both of these additions over a thicker, rarely used, tachymetre scale.
Powering this new slender version of the Freedom 60 Chrono is the Norqain Calibre NN18. It is based on the venerable ETA 7753 movement that beats at 28,800 bph and provides 48 hours of power reserve on a full wind. Pictured above is the same movement on the 43mm version so expect it to take more real estate on this newer svelte version.
For the straps, Norqain gives you a choice of four. You can complete the stainless-steel look with the bracelet that features satin-brushed centre links and polished surrounding links. You can also pick the black vegan-certified Perlon rubber strap the brand has had in their catalogue for while.
Yet, with this release, Norqain is also introducing two new straps. The brand partnered with Tide Ocean SA to create an ivory-coloured linen fabric strap, called “Nortide”, made from upcycled ocean plastics. They also created a brown Alcantara strap, which has a suede appearance and is a material used in sports car interiors. Both straps have an AppleSkin underside, which is composed of a material made from apple peels and cores.These straps are part of Norqain’s continued pursuit of providing more vegan options for their clientele.
Overall, this latest release from Norqain shows maturity for a brand only four years old. When other brands seem to be grasping at straws to find something new to turn heads, Norqain is not playing the game. With the Freedom 60 Chrono being one of their most popular models, they’ve chosen instead to make these refinements and open up the brand to a larger group of buyers. Without watering down their overall offerings.
It’s a move I’d expect from a much older brand and shows that Norqain isn’t simply a flash in the pan. For new collectors of Norqain, such a move provides a sense of security into what it is they’re buying into. Which is something collectors will always appreciate.
Norqain Freedom 60 Chrono 40mm Collection – Price and Availability:
The Norqain Freedom 60 Chrono 40mm is available in four versions. Each dial variant can be purchased with the stainless-steel bracelet $4,190.00 USD, Perlon rubber strap $4,090.00 USD, a tide ocean SA “Nortide” strap 3,920.00 USD and an Alcantara strap $3,920.00 USD. These can be purchased on the Norqain website.
Freedom 60 Chrono
Anthracite or Royal Blue
Steel Bracelet, Perlon Rubber, Tide Ocean SA "Nortide", Alcantara
Norqain Calibre NN18 (ETA 7753 based)
AR Coated Sapphire Crystal, Sapphire Crystal Display Caseback
30 minute and 12 hour chronograph