Slated for June release with delivery in September (Please add any known model info in the comments below…)
The Norqain caliber NN20/2 is an automatic GMT movement officially announced on February 5, 2020 (as well as a three-handed version caliber NN20/1). This caliber is produced in partnership with movement manufacturer Kenissi. It has 28 jewels and is a COSC certified chronometer.
The rotor on the NN20/2 features the Norqain logo – a double N in gold which is meant to represent the Swiss Alps. “Adventure – Freedom – Independence” are engraved into the bridge.
“We are proud to announce a new partnership with mechanical movement manufacturer, Kenissi. The announcement of the long-term collaboration between NORQAIN and Kenissi, founded by watch brand Tudor, underscores our commitment to offering quality timepieces that feature robust, high-performance movements ready for a lifetime of adventure. ” -Norqain
Some of the topics covered in this caliber listing:
Jumping Hour Hand:
Similar to the legendary Rolex GMT-Master II, the Norqain NN20/2 has a jumping hour hand that is adjusted forward or backward to set the local time and date. The date can also be set forward or backward, so there is no need to advance the calendar an entire month forward just to get it right.
In Norqain’s Own Words:
“The GMT movement in particular boasts a jumping hour feature to easily set the local time and change the date forward or backward at any time of the day – perfect for explorers whose sense of adventure knows no borders, or time zones.” -Norqain
Norqain NN20/2 VS Tudor MT5652:
On paper, the new Norqain NN20/2 sounds a lot like the Tudor caliber MT5652 found in the Black Bay GMT (Ref: 79830RB). It also looks a lot like the MT5652, and is even made in the same factory as the MT5652. They appear to be quite similar from the outside, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t small differences under the hood.
“How are these different to the tudor movements… Look identical”
To which Norqain answered:
“@joshhedge1 hi Josh! Thanks for reaching out. Our partner is Kenissi, founded by Tudor. We are very happy to offer our customers movements that exceed industry standards with 70 hour power reserve, 2 point bridge fixation and a jumping hour setting for the NN20/2 GMT.👍🏻”
It doesn’t answer the question.
The Norqain caliber NN20/2 is being produced by Kenissi, a movement house founded by Tudor. The NN20/2 is a manufacture caliber that will be produced exclusively for Norqain (and possibly other brands in the future).
“…you are correct. It is not an in-house movement. Today Norqain announced a strategic partnership with Kenissi for the production of two manufacture calibers (three-hand and GMT with jumping hour setting). The definition of a manufacture caliber is that it is not accessible for everybody and only limited to few selected brands. The Kenissi manufacture calibers exceed industry standards and we are proud that we can offer our customers a fantastic movement with 70 hour power reserve, two point bridge fixation, our own decorations and oscillating weight. Hope that this explanation helps. Always at disposal for further information.”
Norqain mentions Manufacture Calibres on their site and in their press materials, but we have not found them using the term in-house. That’s because it is not an “in-house” movement as some large watch publications assert.
The title of Watch Time’s article about the new calibers:
“Norqain Announces New In-House Calibers in Partnership with Tudor-Founded Kenissi”
This is a point of confusion in the industry. The term “in-house” once implied that the brand had a vertically integrated system to design and produce movements on their own, for their own watches. Now, having an outside movement house produce a caliber for your watch company seems to grant it “in-house” status.
Is Manufacture the new Ébauche?
It’s likely that the movement that Norqain calls caliber NN20/2 was already being developed by Kenissi (or was already developed and used in the Black Bay GMT), waiting for the right brand to team up with and make it their own.
The term Manufacture Calibre is starting to feel like a marketing trend used by some watch brands to separate themselves from the standard off-the-shelf ETA, and working with factories like Kenissi also helps to get around having to source movements from SWATCH – convenient, given the constant threat of limiting supply of ETA movements. There’s nothing wrong with that (right?). This is the watch industry, and the watch industry is smoke and mirrors after all.
If Norqain launched their company in less than two years, while also juggling sales and marketing of a new brand in a stagnant market, and fully developed two new movements in-house at the same time, that would be impressive. Was the NN20/2 conceived, developed and tested entirely by Norqain’s own team of watchmakers? Most folks won’t care after being bombarded with press-releases and magazine articles touting how amazing it is. We will have to wait and see what the watch community’s experience will be – manufacture or in-house is cooler than off-the-shelf, but doesn’t always mean better.