Watch Blog Series – Part 2

Oct 13, 2021
NORQAIN Watches

In the first installment of the King Jewelers watch overview, I took you from Tudor to Breguet with stops at IWC, Zenith, Chopard, Girard-Perregaux, JLC and several other Swiss giants. There is a huge selection of pre-owned watches with more than 100 Rolexes along with a rotating cast that often includes Cartier, Corum, Roger Dubuis, Omega and Patek Philippe. All of these watches are displayed around the outside perimeter of the store. There are also interior display cases and that’s what I’m here to discuss today.

So far, the journey has been entirely through Switzerland but the interior case starts in Japan.

If you’re a Seiko fan, you will not be disappointed and since it’s a long way to Japan, I’ll spend some time on this case.

The first watch you’ll notice is the 44mm black PVD special edition Smashville watch. When Fang Fingers aren’t enough, this King Jewelers exclusive is the ultimate in Predators gear. The selection at King covers all the mechanical, spring drive, quartz, GPS, solar and kinetic bases. There are Prospex Sumos, Tunas, Monsters,a Captain Willard or two, Astrons, several Alpinists and a bunch of Presage dress watches in both round and tonneau styles. You’ll also find a couple of King Seikos 1965 KSK re-editions that perfectly capture the minimalist Japanese design aesthetic.

While King Seiko is not a private label for King Jewelers, it is the only store in the area where you can find the brand. King Seiko has an interesting history that dates back to the early 1960s when Seiko was focused on competing directly with the dominant Swiss brands of the era. There were two factories that competed to produce a new flagship brand — Suwa Seikosha which was primarily responsible for creating Grand Seiko watches and Daini Seikosha where King Seiko originated. Both evolved in parallel until the mid-1970s when the Seiko declared Grand Seiko the winner and shuttered the King Seiko brand. To celebrate its 140th anniversary in 2021, Seiko introduced a limited re-edition of the 1965 King Seiko KSK; two of the 3,000 in existence are in the case at King Jewelers and they are beautiful.

You’ll also want to see the 300 meter Prospex 1965 Diver with a blue/grey dial on a matching rubber strap. With a hi-beat movement ticking at 36,000 vph, this is no ordinary Seiko. If you’re a Tuna fan, there are two real standouts – a black on black and a blue dial with black bezel and black reinforcing ring. These are solid tool watches capable of withstanding pressures at up to 1,000 meters. Serious engineering based on Seiko’s legacy of deep divers goes into these workhorses.

Nashville Predators Watch
Seiko
Nashville Predators Smashville Watch

Back to Switzerland we go with Oris, one the finest entry-level Swiss mechanical brands.

The Aquis collection of divers is available in a range of colors including a green dial/bezel combo that is very current. There are blues, reds, blacks and two dials with very cool gradients that radiate from center. One is a muted green and the other a vibrant blue. You’ll also find several Big Crowns, which unsurprisingly, have rather large crowns. Despite the size, they are all very balanced with a fantastic wrist feel. The Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 titanium skeleton is a 44mm standout that feels a little smaller than it actually is. Don’t miss the variety of vibrant Diver Sixty-Five models or the Oris X Momotaro, which is a collaboration the Japanese denim maker.

Oris 01 115 7759 7153-07 7 22 01TLC_1
Oris
Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115

Next to Oris are Mido and Hamilton, two affordable Swiss brands owned by the Swatch Group.

Mido offers a wide range of sports and dress watches with classic styles available with nicely made bracelets or leather straps. Mido has been in business since 1918 and its Multifort, Ocean Star and Commander watches are among the company’s most popular collections. Hamilton watches were manufactured in the US from 1892 until 1969 when it moved to Buren Switzerland. While Swatch acquired the legendary brand in 1974, Hamilton retains its American spirit and style. The Khaki Field Mechanical is one of the most recognizable models with its 24-hour dial, rugged stainless steel case and NATO strap. You’ll find a variety of dial and strap options on the Khaki along with several chronographs, dress watches and for a completely unique look, the Art Deco Ventura in two sizes.

Hamilton H69439411_1
Hamilton
Khaki Field Mechanical White Dial Watch

The final stop on the tour is NORQAIN.

It’s only fitting that the bookends on the interior case are a Predators Smashville Seiko and NORQAIN, a Swiss brand specializing in sporty automatics that is partially owned by Predators star Roman Josi. NORQAIN is an independent watchmaker that was founded in 2018. Unique to the brand are customizable plates affixed to the case that can be inscribed with a name, an important date or anything else you would like to make the watch truly personal. King has a great selection of watches from each of NORQAIN’s three collections – Freedom, Adventure and Independence – and for true explorers, the Adventure Sport Chrono with a RECCO strap is one of the most unique watches in the store. It’s a rugged 44mm beast equipped with life-saving technology in the strap that allows the watch – which hopefully is still strapped to its owner – to be precisely located anywhere in the world.

NORQAIN Adventure Sport Chrono RECCO Strap
NORQAIN
Adventure Sport Chrono RECCO Strap

I hope you’ve enjoyed this overview of the King Jewelers watch department. Come visit the store and make the rounds yourself. There is a lot to see so plan on taking some time to really interact with the watches that grab your eye. It is also worth noting that the store was recently remodeled. Even if you’ve visited in the past, it’s a whole new experience that also includes a bar stocked with world-class spirits to match the watches. I’ll admit that sipping a 17-year-old Hibiki while admiring the King Seiko KSK was the perfect whisky/watch pairing. It begs the question of which Swiss gin goes best with a Zenith Chronomaster?

Watch Blog Series – Part 2

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