Norqain is not your usual crowdfunded start-up watch brand.
It was founded in 2018 in the Swiss watchmaking heartland of Biel, and its current collections are already on sale at Westime, Tourneau and Govberg in the United States as well as Bucherer in Switzerland, Wempe in Germany, Seddiqi in the UAE and 30 partners in Japan.
The company is run by CEO Ben Küffer. His father, Marc Küffer, is chairman and brings over 45 years experience heading Swiss luxury watchmaking ventures. For quarter of a century he was on the Board of Directors for the Swiss Watch Industry Association. Bringing additional financial muscle, watchmaking expertise and enviable contact books to the management team and board are Ted Schneider, a member of the family that owned Breitling for nearly 40 years, and Mark Streit, the Swiss ice hockey legend and Stanley Cup winner.
With an origin story like this behind it, Norqain is expecting to take business to a new level in 2020 thanks to a deal with Swiss movement maker Kenissi that will see it produce two new calibres exclusively for the company.
You may not have heard of Norqain or Kenissi until now, but the companies coming together is a significant development.
Kenissi and Tudor are reportedly joint venture partners in a movement manufacture in Le Locle. Chanel bought a 20% stake in Kenissi last year, giving it greater control over the manufacture and supply of high quality workhorse movements in an era when the supply of ETA product is in doubt.
So Norqain is in good company the launch today of watches using two chronometer-certified Kenissi manufacture calibres: NN20/1 is a three hander and NN20/2 has a GMT hand. Both have 70 hour power reserves.
“This is a major step for Norqain, and we are thrilled to announce the news of our partnership with Kenissi. Founded on mutual trust, a spirit of innovation and long-term vision, this partnership allows our independent brand to offer our customers stylish, high-performance watches with movements that exceed industry standards and feature market-proven robustness. Investing in our independence in this way is an important milestone for Norqain,” says the company’s chief executive Ben Küffer.
Details of watches that will use the new movements are still under wraps. They will be unveiled at an event in Zermatt in June.