While plenty of luxury watches nowadays are released with sporting connotations or partnerships, most of these are limited to sports like golf, tennis, yachting, and motor racing. Very few timepieces are designed around the great sport of hockey, but as part of its 2020 novelties NORQAIN aims to change this. NORQAIN board member Mark Streit, who in his career as a professional hockey player won the Stanley Cup for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2017, has formed a partnership between the brand and the NHL Players’ Association (NHLPA). As part of this ongoing partnership, NORQAIN has reimagined its athletic Adventure Sport Chrono with a wintry ice rink theme. The NORQAIN Adventure Sport Chrono NHLPA Limited Edition is a stylish tribute to the fast paced sport of hockey, with a subtle clean colorway that should appeal to fans and non-followers of the sport alike.
While the 316L stainless steel case of the NORQAIN Adventure Sport Chrono NHLPA Limited Edition is nearly identical to the standard production Adventure Sport Chrono in shape, the NHLPA Limited Edition downsizes this classic athletic form from 44mm down to a more compact 41mm diameter. This smaller size looks in initial images to emphasize the more timeless sports watch elements of the design such as the screwdown chronograph pushers and the flow of the wide, tapering lugs directly into the case sides, helping the design to look and feel more vintage overall. A major part of this more vintage expression is the blue anodized aluminum bezel insert, sitting atop a unidirectional dive style rotating bezel. In an age where many new sports watch designs are scrambling to include ceramic bezels, the warmth and sheen of aluminum is somewhat charming. The signature NORQAIN case plaque is present on the 9 o’clock side of the case, and will likely continue to be a point of division among enthusiasts for either boldly differentiating the watch from the pack or disrupting the flow of the case geometry. The sapphire display caseback features a prominent overlaid NHLPA logo, along with a limited edition serial number. Despite the sapphire back and chronograph layout, the case still manages a sporty 100 meters of water resistance.
Outside of the substantial downsizing, the dial design of the NORQAIN Adventure Sport Chrono NHLPA Limited Edition is its greatest departure from regular production models. The base dial surface draws in attention right away, with a “scratched ice” texture in off white meant to evoke the look of a hockey rink after a game that takes over 30 production steps to achieve. Another nod to the rink shines through in the 9 o’clock small seconds subdial, with a face off circle design in vibrant red. While this is a directly lifted visual element from the sport of hockey, the design is simple and graphic enough to be a pleasing addition without this context. The two chronograph subdials at 3 o’clock and 6 o’clock pick up the jewel tone blue of the bezel, contrasted with bright red hands. The 6 o’clock subdial also adds a small NHLPA logo. This three color layout, combined with the clean and sporty basic design of the Adventure Sport Chrono, works well as a balanced and dynamic option, but the overall symmetry of the look is still disrupted slightly by the 4:30 date window. A no-date variant could potentially be a cleaner option.
NORQAIN powers the Adventure Sport Chrono NHLPA Limited Edition with the ETA 7753 based NN18 automatic chronograph movement. Essentially a variant of the revered ETA/Valjoux 7750 movement adapted to a 3/6/9 o’clock chronograph subdial layout, the NN18 offers a solid 48 hours of pwer reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. On top of this tried and true design, NORQAIN adds a handful of decorative touches including perlage across the plates and a unique signed rotor finished with Côtes de Genève.
NORQAIN completes the Adventure Sport Chrono NHLPA Limited Edition with a matching blue rubber strap, featuring a textured pattern inspired by the edge of a regulation hockey puck. Beyond being a tough and functional addition that pairs with the overall colorway, it’s a playful touch that helps to further solidify this watch’s connection to the sport of hockey.
While designed with the players of the NHL in mind, the clean design and manageable size of the NORQAIN Adventure Sport Chrono NHLPA Limited Edition might give this great appeal well outside of the world of hockey. Only 500 examples of the NORQAIN Adventure Sport Chrono NHLPA Limited Edition will be made, and are available now through authorized dealers at an MSRP of $3,290. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.