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At NORQAIN, the Freedom 60 Chrono is the flagship of the eponymous series. The chronograph promises a new dimension of freedom, packaged in a 60s look. Why NORQAINS vintage automatic watch does everything right, I tell you in this review
A word about NORQAIN
I have to mention NORQAIN at the beginning. After all, there are still some that have not heard about it. No wonder, because the brand was founded in 2018 by Swiss watch lovers. Since then, the manufacturer with the unusual name has stirred up the Swiss watch industry properly. The focus of NORQAIN is on sporty automatic watches in the premium segment with a certain proximity to adventure, the unknown and the new. If you pack these characteristics into a functional and high-quality design with a lot of attention into detail, then you should have a rough idea of what the NORQAIN brand is all about.
To the founders themselves, this manifestation of values seemed immensely important. It is not for nothing that the brand bears the following characteristics in its name: NEW, OPEN MINDED, REBELLIOUS, QUALITY TIME, ADVENTURE, INDEPENDENT, PART OF A NICHE. Or abbreviated: NORQAIN!
With a 60s look and NORQAIN genes
If the new NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chrono is a real NORQAIN watch, then these characteristics should also be found in the name, right? At first glance, I can definitely tell that this is a chronograph that differs in design from competing models. The cream colored dial emphasizes that this automatic watch seems to come from a bygone decade. It looks playful and exudes a certain charm. The stainless steel case makes a valuable impression. It is much more calm and minimalistic compared to the dial. Then there’s the rustic brown leather strap…
You cannot deny a certain value to the NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chrono. The many details on the components of the chronograph contribute to its distinctiveness. At the end of 2019, I was already allowed to test the NORQAIN Adventure Sport Auto DLC. Now the Freedom 60 Chrono is my second model from the fledgling Swiss brand. And while the focus of these two models is very different (the Adventure Sport Auto DLC was much more functional, technical and less focused on ‘lifestyle’), there are unmistakable similarities. Both bear the unmistakable NORQAIN signature: stand-out design, lots of details, colors from nature, the distinctive silhouette of ‘mountain peaks’ and much more. To develop an own, successful design language within a few years, that’s what I call strong!
Hands on! On my wrist, I also like the NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chrono. The combination of the cream and brown colors is refreshingly different than much of what I usually test. Nevertheless, the automatic watch is a very stylish timepiece. In fact, the combination with different outfits always fits, whether it’s sporty casual everyday wear, a business outfit or a suit.
The outdoor qualities of the NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chrono
43 millimeters in diameter and a stately 15 millimeters in height make the NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chrono a real presence. Nevertheless, elegance is not neglected. The 316L stainless steel that NORQAIN uses here is satin-finished and polished. Unlike the more functional Adventure Sport Auto, the Freedom 60 Chrono does not have a special DLC coating. This is where the orientation becomes apparent. The Freedom 60 Chrono is a chronograph for everyday wear.
However, this does not mean that the automatic watch with 60s charm would be completely lacking outdoor qualities, quite the opposite! NORQAIN uses special Boxtype sapphire crystal to protect the dial of its Freedom 60 Chrono. This watch glass guarantees special protection against sharp edges, stones and other objects that could leave unsightly scratches on the wristwatch. In addition, according to the Swiss manufacturer, the sapphire crystal is even mirrored on both sides. This benefits the readability of the time in nature. Strong sunlight can not harm this in any case.
But that’s not all. The NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chrono even has the qualities of a diver’s watch! The Swiss newcomers specify a water resistance of 10 bar for the case! This means that a diving depth of 100 meters is theoretically possible. This does not make the Freedom 60 Chrono immediately THE diver’s watch, but expands the possibilities of usability immensely.
The case alone literally embodies the characteristics ADVENTURE and INDEPENDENT! The good functionality guarantees independence, with which it can be started excellently into the next adventure. With this freedom, it becomes clear why NORQAIN chose the name…
Individuality – what makes NORQAIN so special
Lastly, there are small but fine details that give the NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chrono its own signature. The screw-down onion crown made of stainless steel has an engraved NORQAIN logo. The mirrored letters ‘N’ form the characteristic mountain silhouette, which reveals the Swiss origin of the manufacturer. My real favorite, however, is the other side of the case. Here, as on all of its models, NORQAIN has applied a so-called plate. It is polished, double-screwed and offers enough space for a personal engraving in two possible fonts. As of January 2021, NORQAIN offers engraving free of charge. I can recommend the online store, which I link to you at the below this review. The store offers simple and good configuration options, with which you can make the Freedom 60 Chrono your personal automatic watch.
The movement of the NORQAIN Freedom 60 – perfect for a Chrono
If you do take the watch off in between, there is some time to admire the back of the Freedom 60 Chrono. Here, NORQAIN has installed a generous viewing window, which is also made of sapphire crystal. This is a dream coming true for any watch lover, because it allows you to admire the automatic caliber that works inside the Freedom 60 Chrono.
This is basically an ETA 7753 from Swiss manufacture. It is often used in automatic watches of this class and has earned the reputation of the chronograph movement par excellence over the years. The reason for its frequent use is the longevity, accuracy and reliability of the caliber.
NORQAIN has further perfected the ETA 7753 for use in its Freedom 60 Chrono and now uses it under the name NN18, which consists of 120 individual parts. At a frequency of 28800 vibrations per hour, NORQAIN specifies a power reserve of an absolutely sufficient 48 hours. The NN18 stands out due to a date correction with a separate pusher. I could confirm the good accuracy of only a quarter of a second delay per day during my test days.
Even with the movement, NORQAIN continues to push the individuality of its Freedom 60 Chrono. Its rotor, which is easily visible through the viewing window, can be refined with a personalized engraving if necessary.
The dial – a journey back in time to the 60s
NORQAIN’s dial of the Freedom 60 Chrono is all about the 1960s. A cream color is unusual in the sense that, unlike many other vintage models, it has a slight tendency towards green and thus goes well with the leather strap. At second glance, the curvature of the dial stands out – a typical contemporary feature of watches that came on the market from 1960 onwards. I really like the indices in a striped design as well as the hands with white inlay, which give the chronograph the necessary vintage feel. The indices are polished and hand applied. Their finish? At the highest level.
For good readability in the dark or at night, the indices and hands are coated with special Old Radium SuperLuminova luminous material. During this test, it impressed with its particularly strong and even glow.
At 3, 6 and 9 o’clock, three totalizers support the dial. A 30 minute dial, a 12 hour dial and a small second. Thus, everything is on board that characterizes a solid chronograph. Noticeable: the rectangular date window is not located at 3, but between 4 and 5 o’clock. It is set via the pusher next to it.
Overall, also because of the smooth bezel, the dial is not exactly minimalistic, but pleasantly playful.
A special bracelet
Only a good and fitting bracelet completes a successful wristwatch. The one of the NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chrono is made of Italian leather and is called “Norlando” to match the company name. If the brown color doesn’t appeal to you, you can choose between five other straps, including a steel one. However, I really like the truffle look.
What makes NORQAIN’s leather straps so special are the characteristic stitches, which are also reminiscent of mountain peaks and are located just before the strap lugs. With a pleasantly simple stainless steel pin buckle, you adjust it to the right size. Once adjusted, the leather strap impresses with its good wearing comfort. You don’t have to worry about durability. The leather strap is quite robust against salt water, wind and weather and therefore ages well.
My conclusion about the NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chrono
After an extensive test, it quickly becomes clear why the NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chrono deserves its name. The watch manages the balancing act between a stylish timepiece for everyday business and the perfect companion for any trip. This freedom is true luxury for the wearer of this watch, which is why the NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chrono rightly bears its name. NORQAIN has also put this attractive package into a vintage 60s look that impresses with a lot of charm and attention to detail.
In addition, there are the typical NORQAIN details that everyone who gets to know the watches quickly appreciates: a unique design with a clear signature, the sporty-robust orientation and the individual design options that the NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chrono has all. This makes the model interesting for those who are looking for a robust, uncomplicated companion that nevertheless combines a lot of style in its design. Within just over two years, NORQAIN has become a real alternative to the established brands with its very own philosophy. Especially for the younger readers among you who are looking for freedom, adventure and sportiness without sacrificing elegance, I can highly recommend this chronograph.
In this version, the NORQAIN Freedom 60 Chrono costs 3450 euros without obligation. If you buy a steel bracelet, you pay 200 euros extra. The chronograph with the reference number N2200 is available in different dial and bracelet variants. If the chronograph is too expensive for you, you should take a look at the normal Freedom 60, which is easier on the wallet, but retains the attractive 60s design.