With so many brands entering the lucrative world of horology the pressure is really on watchmakers to distinguish themselves from the crowd. One label that has achieved this with relative ease is N.O.A. Although the company has roots dating back to the 1920’s; the modern day business was only established 11 years ago. With headquarters in the picturesque location of Balerna, Switzerland they have gained a solid reputation in the industry for manufacturing high quality contemporary timepieces.
Over the last few weeks I have had several conversations with dynamic and enthusiastic owner Daniele Andreatta. His primarily objective is to produce an innovative range of timepieces at affordable prices. N.O.A also is a company that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Their initials stand for ‘None Of The Above’ (meaning different to other luxury timepieces on the market) and this is translated in the way they design their watches. Recently I have showcased many different timepieces from independent watchmakers including Frank Heydrich, RPiage, Montres Millitaire and The Chinese Timekeeper. All these brands (like N.O.A) produce exciting watches under the $5,000 threshold.
N.O.A have many different models with a choice of Swiss Quartz or mechanical movements. One of my favourites is the bold and distinctive Skell collection. With a diameter measuring 44mm the timepiece should appeal to a large cross section of buyers including the unisex market. I also feel the watch would sit comfortably on the wrist, without any protrusion from the lugs or crown. Ultimately this is down to the ergonomic case design and choice of stainless steel/titanium in production. Realistically this timepiece could be worn for any occasion and definitely for daily usage.
What originally impressed me about N.O.A’s watches was their attention to detail and three-dimensional appearance. This has definitely been intentional and differentiates the brand from a lot of their competitors. On this model the façade is multi-layered giving the timepiece real depth. I love the open worked skeleton dial, which perfectly showcases the mechanical movement. Other sophisticated features include the raised markers, bespoke titanium bezel and elegant sculpted lugs. Overall the composition is cohesive and the finishing first rate. It is also pertinent to mention there are seven other eye-catching models in the Skell collection.
N.O.A have equipped this watch with a highly proficient Swiss made self-winding movement. The caliber comprises 21-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz). This mechanism is also visible through the sapphire crystal exhibition case back. Functionally the Skell features hours minutes and seconds. The watch also has a power reserve of 40-hours and is water resistant to a depth of 100 metres.
The Skell has a Caoutchouc white strap with matching sandblasted stainless steel buckle displaying the N.O.A logo. Priced competitively at: CHF 1,820 (approximately $2,050).