Norqain’s Independence collection is their home for limited edition releases with an artisanal flair. Last year saw the release of the Independence 20, a limited edition with a green dial (with “scratching” applied by hand, for texture) and a movement made in collaboration with Kenissi, the Tudor owned movement manufacturer. This year’s Independence 21 releases cover some of the same ground, and also offer a few firsts for Norqain.
First up is the aptly named Independence 21. This watch can very much be thought of as a sibling to the green dialed watch released last year. This year the dial has been rendered in a deep blue, but has given the same brushing treatment to create a unique texture that resembles crinkled paper, or perhaps a spiderweb. Norqain tells us that because of the way this texture is applied by hand, no two dials are exactly alike. The 42mm case can best be described as muscular, with prominent crown guards on the 3:00 side, finishing that alternates between brushed and polished surfaces, and thick, wide-set lugs. This is very much a traditional sports watch – there’s nothing revolutionary here in terms of design, but that’s part of the charm, and lets the dial take center stage. As with the Independence 20, the Independence 21 is powered by the Calibre NN20/1, still made by Kenissi.
If the Independence 21 is a somewhat safe and predictable iteration on the classically styled sports watch, the Independence 21 DLC Skeleton Limited Edition exists on the other side of whatever spectrum these watches find themselves on. This is Norqain’s first watch with a skeletonized dial design, and also their first with a DLC coated bracelet. The black case and bracelet combined with the open dial presents as sleek and modern, but Norqain insists that this version of the Independence 21 remains every bit as resistant to shock as a watch with a traditional dial design, thanks to the structure of the Sellita SW200-1 movement that’s running inside. According to Norgain, each support point of the movement is held in place by at least two arms, which is rare in skeletonized movement design, which often incorporates support arms which are solitary, and not straight. Chalk up another win for the humble Sellita workhorse – it can even be skeletonized effectively.
Both of these new Norqains are limited editions, with the midnight blue Independence 21 being made in a run of 200, while the DLC coated version is limited to 100 examples. On bracelets, these watches are priced at $3,290 (Independence 21) and $4,360 (Independence 21 DLC Skeleton). These watches aren’t cheap, but considering the quality of the movement you’re getting in the standard Independence 21 and the unique nature of the DLC Skeleton version, there’s some value here for watch collectors who are already fans of the brand and want something from Norqain that feels a little more special than what’s already available as part of the permanent collection. For more information, check out Norqain right here.