Bienne-based Norqain, founded in 2018, has swiftly become an independent watch brand to be reckoned with in its relatively short tenure, notably producing two proprietary Swiss-made calibers in collaboration with Kenissi, a movement manufacturer founded by Rolex-owned Tudor. One of those calibers, the self-winding, three-hand NN20/1 that debuted in last year’s Independence 20 model, now finds itself installed in three timepieces from the new Neverest collection, Norqain’s most ruggedly sporty series, taking inspiration from Mount Everest.
The Neverest collection, a sub-series of Norqain’s Adventure collection, includes one “Glacier” model, with a stainless-steel case, silvery white textured dial and gray ceramic bezel; one limited-edition “bicolor” model, whose 5N rose-gold bezel is fitted with a black ceramic ring and surrounds a gray dial; and an all-steel version, which combines a black ceramic bezel ring with the hallmark forest-green dial that Norqain introduced on the Independence 20. All the watches have 40-mm steel cases with polished and satin finishing, screw-down crowns flanked by crown protectors, graduated-scale bezels with markings at the 15-, 30-, and 45-minute points, and box-type, antireflective sapphire crystals.
The Neverest 40-mm Glacier derives its name from its eye-catching dial, with a cracked texture on its icy white surface that call to mind, Norqain says, “the jagged crevasses of Khumbu Icefall, the most dangerous stage of the climb to Everest’s summit.” Other notable details include the red accents on the bezel scale’s zero marker, the central seconds hand, and the “chronometer” inscription above 6 o’clock, as well as the use of X1 Super-Luminova — 60 percent brighter than standard Super-LumiNova — on the hands and applied markers. A knurled pattern on the bezel allows for easy operation via its unidirectional-rotating click system. Norqain offers the Glacier on a stainless steel bracelet ($3,250), a textured rubber strap ($3,050), or a flexible fabric strap ($3,050).
The Neverest 40mm Limited Edition in steel and gold is distinguished not only by its relative rarity — only 100 pieces will be made — but by its use of rose gold for the rotating bezel and by the gray dial with its own subtle black-lined pattern. Like the Glacier model, its dial is also accented with red on the seconds hand and “chronometer” inscription and features X1 Super-LumiNova on its hand-applied, gold-toned, faceted indices and hands. Its bracelet options include a textured black rubber strap in the same knurled style as the bezel ($4,380), a steel bracelet with added security clasp ($4,580), and a flexible fabric strap ($4,380).
Differentiating the third Neverest 40mm timepiece from its siblings are its use of a steel bezel with a black ceramic ring for its graduated scale, and, more spectacularly, its vibrant green dial with the telltale Norqain black-line motif and red accents. Like the other two models in the series, its case is water-resistant to 200 meters, the highest such level yet achieved for a Norqain watch. The non-limited, green-dialed watch is mounted on a stainless steel bracelet ($3,190), a black rubber strap ($2,990) or a flexible fabric strap ($2,990).
All Neverest cases are fitted with sapphire exhibition casebacks that allow a view of Norqain’s Caliber NN20/1, whose attributes include a “weekend-proof” 70-hour power reserve, a “double-N” Norqain logo symbolizing the Swiss Alps on the rotor, and the words “Adventure – Freedom – Independence” engraved on a bridge, representing the names of the Norqain product families as well as the “core values” claimed by the young company.
Finally, the Himalayan theme of the Neverest sub-collection is not only an aesthetic one. Norqain has partnered with the Butterfly Help Project, a Sherpa-founded organization that provides aid to families of sherpas who have lost their lives in the Himalayan mountains and gives their children access to education. Norqain has pledged to donate 10 percent of the sales of Neverest watches to the project and has committed to send 50 children to school in 2021.
It’s nice to see that a portion of sales will go to education instead of the usual hammerhead shark ocean conservation routine.