Skip to main content

Norqain is the independent Swiss watch brand you need to know about

One watch can propel Norqain to the top of the list of Swiss watch brands

Norqain Independent Wild One
Mark D. McKee/The Manual

The Swiss watch industry is a burgeoning overfill of dozens of brands that have been around for nearly two centuries. It includes brands like Rolex and Omega, which are household names, as well as the watchmaking world’s Holy Trinity in Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, and Vacheron Constantin, who have been at the forefront of innovation since day one. This all makes this industry incredibly difficult to break into. But a challenge isn’t something that Ben Kuffer, CEO of Norqain, shies away from. Born in the Swiss Alps with a passion for adventure and the toughest challenges the world has to offer, Norqain aims to take over the luxury watch industry.

As the company celebrates its fifth anniversary in 2023, they do so with the Independence collection. These watches are meant to travel with you as you face challenges at home, in the office, and in the world. As a third-generation watchmaker, Kuffer took the technical experiences of his father and grandfather, along with the brand knowledge he gained from ten years working for Breitling, to strike out on his own to create a watch brand completely independent from the rest of the industry, allowing him to focus on exploration, innovation, and quality. We sat down with Kuffer to talk about the Independence collection and Norqain’s goals.

Norqain Independent Wild One
Mark D. McKee/The Manual

The Independence is the flagship collection

Norqain has three collections for men: the Independence, the Adventure, and the Freedom. While all of them have top-notch qualities and the ability to travel to the ends of the earth on an adventure with their wearer, Norqain decided to celebrate with the Independence.

“I think the Independence, from the beginning, was the flagship collection that stood for what we need to stand for at Norqain,” Kuffer said. “My personal mission was to bring a new independent watch brand to the market. It always reminds me to ask in meetings: Is it my life, my way? Are we different? Are we doing things our way?”

The Independence sports a robust case comprised of two separate Norteq parts connected by custom-made screws and housing a rubber shock absorber. This makes it able to withstand extreme shock from cross-country off-road mountain biking, the steepest and fastest downhill skiing, or the toughest parts of the most extreme trails. With all of that robustness, it is still extremely light, ensuring its flexibility in the outdoors.

Norqain Independent Wild One
K.C. Stone / The Manual

Why Norqain chose to forge their own path

A recent trend in the Swiss watch market is conglomerates. Many of the bigger brands have begun buying up the smaller brands — and the result is less innovation. One of the aspects Kuffer and his team wanted to focus on was writing their own history instead of buying another’s.

“Very early on, we realized we were going to do our own story. But we also knew that was going to make the story harder,” he said, adding that if they bought an already successful but sleeping brand, the story would already be there, and it would be easier, but it also means you don’t have the creativity behind it.

“If we’re taking that difficult path of creating a new brand,” he continued, “at least I wanted it to be genuine and authentic. Let’s just do it around things that we like. That is why sports is a big part of it, and adventure is a big part of it. We saw this brand develop quickly as a cool outdoor, adventure, sports watch you could wear for any situation that has to be tough enough to hold up for any challenges.”

Even the company’s logo harkens back to their spirit of adventure; two Ns are situated back to back to create a mountain top. Kuffer and his team built the brand with the Swiss Alps in their backyard.

Norqain Independent Wild One
Mark D. McKee/The Manual / Norqain

My life, my way

The slogan of Norqain, “My life, My way,” was one of the first things that the team came up with. Kuffer said he was told from the beginning that the world didn’t need another Swiss watch brand. While it may be true that there are already dozens of these brands in existence, he continued on with the idea that there weren’t enough independent Swiss watch brands.

“My Life, My Way was always a big part of it,” he said. “And, of course, it pushed us to innovation because if you want to do something new, it has to be different; it has to be fun. And so it has been a big part of Norqain since the beginning.”

As Norqain celebrates its five-year anniversary, they are committed to sticking with upscale mechanical watches (navigating the trend of smartwatches) at a price point many other brands left behind. At a much more accessible price point of $2000-$6000, Kuffer and his team are looking to overtake the inflated Swiss market with their focus on going their own way.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark McKee
Contributor
Mark is a full-time freelance writer and men's coach. He spent time as a style consultant and bespoke suit salesman before…
What is old money style? (Plus, how you can achieve the look)
Adopt Grandpa Core with Old Money Style
Man in newsboy cap and pleated trousers

There is a new trend hitting the style industry that a surprising amount of young people are driving. While the war between Gen Z and Baby Boomers rages on in social issue and economic discussions, a bridge is being built with their clothing. Grandpa core is beginning to land with the youngest group entering the work world as they adopt pleated pants, suspenders, double-breasted jackets, and loafers. While they may rage against the elites online, Gen Z is adopting the old money aesthetic in an attempt to take it for themselves and change the narrative.

Old money style screams class, sophistication, and luxury. While trends may be full of pieces that adhere to the newest looks that go in and out of style, the old-money look sticks to classic pieces that never age out. It invests in basic pieces that may seem boring and plain but combine together to elevate every ensemble to the likes of JFK, Jay Gatsby, and countless others who defined our style in the 20th Century.
What to get for your own old money aesthetic

Read more
The new Citizen Promaster Geo Trekker watch is an absolute beast
Citizen adds Geo Trekker to Promaster series
Citizen Promaster Geo Trekker

Some men prefer a super formal watch to pair with their work suits, like a Rolex or Patek Philippe; some prefer ostentatious, showy pieces like a Richard Mille or Audemars Piguet; and there are those who love a rugged feel to their timepieces. That's exactly what the newest Citizen Promaster Geo Trekker is all about: a heavy-duty beast that still has a formal touch if you ever need to go from hiking during the day to an event at night like you're Elon Musk.
Citizen watches Promaster anniversary: Citizen Promaster Geo Trekker

This year, Citizen Watches is celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Citizen Promaster series, and the Promaster Geo Trekker is the latest addition to the year-long celebration. To say it's full of some majorly advanced features would be an understatement, and it's as functional as it looks. With the state-of-the-art Eco-Drive Caliber H864 movement and a radio-controlled world timer, it's bold, to say the least, and will suit you just fine if you ever find yourself in a tent in the Carpathian mountains. This innovative movement uses the power of light, whether it be sun or artificial light, to power the watch in a sustainable way and eliminate the need for a battery replacement.
Technical specifications
So, what about these technical features? It's encased in a silver-tone stainless steel case, which you don't often see with such a heavy-duty watch, and is why we said you can go from day to night in it. It measures a truly massive 46mm in width and 11.5mm in thickness, and if you've ever worn a watch with this measurement, you'll understand how big that feels. The watch dial is protected by sapphire crystals, which are resistant to reflections and keep it safe from impact. The bracelet is stainless steel and comes with a fold-over clasp and hidden push buttons. Additionally, it has world-time capabilities using a Northern Hemisphere disc and date and power reserve indicators.
The Citizen Promaster Geo Trekker comes in two color variants
The Citizen Promaster Geo Trekker actually comes in two color variants: ref. BY3006-53H features standard brushed surfaces, while the ref. BY3005-56G features a sleek dark gray finish. The BY3006-53H has a dark gray dial, which maintains the monochromatic aesthetic, while the BY3005-56G has a black dial with subtle red accents, giving it a slight tactical look.

Read more
This is how much Gen Z spends on a new watch (spoiler: it’s a lot)
Watchfinder report reveals surprising Gen Z spending habits
Person picking out a watch

While Millennials are still smearing avocado on toast, tearing up at grocery prices, and moving back in with their parents, Gen Z has quietly been purchasing luxury watches, and their purchasing power will have you absolutely fainting. As if they don't make Millennials feel old enough already, this younger generation doesn't just go out and buy a new watch; they check out TikTok for inspiration and wear their timepieces as a total status symbol.
Generation Z has major economic potential

Generation Z encompasses people born between 1997 and 2012, and they represent one-fifth of the total U.S. population. As they enter adulthood, this group has some incredible economic potential, and on top of that, they've got a penchant for luxury, especially when it comes to high-end watches.

Read more