We’re a little more than a year into the life of the Wild ONE, Norqain’s ambitious sports watch featuring their proprietary Norteq material. In a catalog of watches that are mostly inspired by classic, vintage watch design cues, the Wild ONE stands out as being unapologetically modern, both in terms of its aesthetics and the raw materials. This watch is part of an ongoing turn within the industry to alternative materials based in carbon fibers, plastics, and uncommon metals and alloys. According to Norqain, the combination of Norteq and rubber used in the case allows for a watch that can be rated to an unreal 5,000g shock test, which would likely create an impact that the wearer would have a hard time walking away from. Norqain has been framing the Wild ONE all along as a pure sports watch, but with these latest variants, I continue to wonder if it’s really more of an incredibly impact resistant design object.
To be clear, I like this watch as a design object. I’m not taking it mountain biking, rock climbing, skiing, or anything else that the Norqain team thinks I might want to do with it. But I do like the way it looks and the way it’s made, and I think the latest releases seen here expand on the design language in a fun way. First up is the first Wild ONE to make use of solid gold, the aptly named Wild ONE Gold. The top section of the case is crafted from polished 18-carat red gold, with the base section made of black Norteq. The middle features the Wild ONE’s now familiar rubber shock absorber, and the dial is laced with gold accents to match the case. This is the most luxe version of the Wild ONE yet, and is part of a genre of sports watches I have a strange affinity for: the precious metal variety that is clearly meant more for leisure than anything else. As the kids say, it’s a vibe (not a tool).
The other new release sits on the other end of the spectrum but is still, perhaps, something of a pure aesthetic creation. The Wild ONE All Black is, you guessed it, all black. This is the type of murdered out, all black sports watch that was all the rage a decade ago, and is truly blacked out to the point that legibility is a secondary concern. It’s a watch you wear if All Black Everything is a lifestyle choice. According to the brand, the inspiration here is a moonless night in the desert (the gold version is meant to evoke light coming up over dunes during a desert sunrise) and I’d say that this checks out.
The specs for these Wild ONEs follow the other watches in the collection. They’re 200 meters water resistant, ship with integrated rubber straps, and measure 42mm in diameter. They run on the Kenissi made NN20/1 caliber, which has a full 70 hours of power reserve and is chronometer certified.
The Wild ONE Gold is a limited edition of 99 (a 100th piece will be auctioned off next year for charity) and has a retail price of $12,990 ($14,690 if you upgrade from the Norteq buckle to solid gold). The Wild ONE All Black carries a retail price of $5,290. Norqain