This one seems like it was bound to happen. When Norqain unveiled the Wild ONE last year and hailed it as a next-gen, materials focused sports watch, it seemed clear that we’d get some ultra modern dial executions down the line to match the tech in the case. I was a pretty big fan of the first batch of Wild ONEs, but if there was an element that seemed a little “off” to me it was the dial. The repeating Norqain logo motif just didn’t seem to match the visual tone and vibe of the rest of the watch. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what would make it better, but with the new skeletonized version that was recently unveiled, I think they have the Wild ONE heading in the right direction.
Right off the bat, I realize this might be a somewhat controversial take. When Blake went hands-on with the Wild ONE earlier this year, one of his chief gripes was legibility. That concern is not likely to be abated with a dial that’s perhaps even more of an eye-chart, but in my opinion it “fits” the spirit of the watch a little better. While Norqain is ostensibly selling these as adventure watches for all manner of outdoor activities, to me they feel more in line with stylish, contemporary headturners like the Zenith Defy, or even watches in the Royal Oak Offshore line. Capable, yes, but designed to be gawked at more than anything.
The new Wild ONE Skeleton comes in two variants. One with a burgundy NORTEQ case with gold dial accents, and the other with a black NORTEQ case and brightly colored turquoise rubber shock absorber built into the case walls. We saw a burgundy variant among the initial watches launched last year, so this one feels somewhat familiar, but the black/turquoise combination is new, and feels particularly seasonal. Both watches feature an open dial with the movement completely exposed, with hour markers cantilevered from a minute track running along the perimeter.
Cases are still 42mm in diameter for both variants, with a case height of 12.3mm and a lug width of 22mm. The carbon fiber derived NORTEQ material that makes up a large portion of the case body is proprietary to Norqain and designed to be both ultra lightweight and strong and rigid enough to stand up to shocks faced during nearly any imaginable physical activity (Norqain claims shock resistance to 5,000g). Maybe more importantly, though: it looks cool. The surface has a slightly marbled effect that is a result of the NORTEQ production process, and, as we can see with the burgundy version, it’s possible to create this material in a variety of colors, and Norqain claims that the process of adding color to the material in no way compromises its structural integrity.
The retail price for the Wild ONE Skeleton in turquoise is $5,790, and it’s part of the permanent collection. The burgundy variant is a limited edition of 300, and priced at $5,990. Norqain