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Norqain partners with Dean Schneider to raise funds and awareness for the Hakuna Mipaka Wildlife Oasis

Audrey Simon
Audrey Simon • 4 min read
Norqain partners with Dean Schneider to raise funds and awareness for the Hakuna Mipaka Wildlife Oasis
Norqain partners with Dean Schneider to raise funds and awareness for the Hakuna Mipaka Wildlife Oasis
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The Wild One Hakuna Mipaka Limited Edition watch is a collaborative creation by Norqain and Dean Schneider. Limited to just 300 pieces, this timepiece boasts several bespoke features that highlight Schneider's dedication to wildlife conservation. Its colour palette, inspired by the lion King Dexter of the Hakuna Mipaka pride, combines brown and sand tones, and even integrates sand from the Hakuna Mipaka Oasis into the rubber shock absorber. Ten percent of the proceeds from each watch sale will support Schneider's conservation mission.

Schneider, 30, is a Swiss native who transitioned from a career in finance to relocate to South Africa, where he established Hakuna Mipaka Oasis, a sanctuary and rehabilitation center for wildlife. The Swahili phrase "Hakuna Mipaka" translates to "no limits," which embodies Schneider’s life philosophy. Hakuna Mipaka Oasis sits on 400 acres of land in South Africa and is home to a diverse array of species, including zebras, giraffes, leopards, and a lion pride. Operations encompass various essential aspects, such as providing food for the animals, covering veterinary expenses, supporting the costs of guards and animal keepers, maintaining the electricity supply, and conducting essential maintenance work on the camps. Schneider’s decision to keep the area closed to tourists means that his conservation efforts rely entirely on donations.

Schneider’s vision aligns with Norqain's commitment to the environment and cruelty-free watchmaking. Norqain's collection contains no animal-derived materials, and the family-owned company holds CO2 neutral certification from Swiss Climate.

Norqain, a recently established player in the watch industry, stands as a fully independent, family-owned Swiss watch company headquartered in Nidau (Bienne). Embracing the mentorship of Swiss watch industry legend Jean-Claude Biver, the company is poised to take Swiss-made watches to greater heights, adorning the wrists of the young and young-at-heart with their remarkable and exceptional timepieces. Norqain has a meaningful acronym: New, Open-Minded, Rebellious, Quality Time, Adventure, Independent, Niche. The logo, thoughtfully designed, resembles the majestic peak of a mountain, symbolizing their pursuit of greatness and exploration.

The pride of Norqain

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The Wild One Hakuna Mipaka Limited Edition watch stands out with its distinctive colour, a golden-brown hue that pays homage to the majestic King Dexter of the Hakuna Mipaka Oasis. Dean Schneider, who shares a special connection with King Dexter since the lion was a cub at the oasis, inspired this unique palette.

The watch boasts an innovative 25-part case, featuring a dark brown, ultra-robust, and incredibly lightweight Norteq cage enveloping a sand-coloured rubber shock absorber infused with sand sourced directly from the oasis. Norteq material is renowned for its exceptional strength and feather-light composition. It also balances density, elasticity, and resistance, ensuring superior shock absorption for an optimized time-keeping experience.

Norqain paves the way as the first watch brand to offer a mass-dyed carbon fibre composite case, allowing for a wide array of colours beyond the conventional black carbon appearance. Complementing this design is the titanium container housing an automatic mechanical movement, resulting in a lightweight 42mm watch, weighing just 84 grams. Its versatility is further underscored by its impressive 200-meter water resistance rating.

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The watch features a dark brown dial and a sand-coloured rubber strap, both adorned with a lion's fur pattern and embellished with the Hakuna Mipaka shield-and-spear logo. To add a touch of elegance, the diamond-cut skeleton hands and indices are finished with red-gold plating, creating a look that beautifully evokes the serene, dusky evening ambiance of the Hakuna Mipaka Oasis.

Powering this timepiece is the ultra-reliable Manufacture Calibre NN20/1 by Kenissi, a Swiss Made automatic mechanical movement that proudly carries a chronometer certification and boasts a substantial 70-hour power reserve. These are viewed through the transparent sapphire crystal case back, which is adorned with the "Hakuna Mipaka" logo and the indication "One of 300." The surrounding case back features an engraved statement from Schneider: "We need to learn to love them exactly the way they are and not the way we wish them to be!"

To make it personal, the watch features a customizable plate located on the left flank of the timepiece, where owners can have engravings tailored to their preferences. Each Wild One Hakuna Mipaka Limited Edition is priced at SGD $8,700 and comes elegantly presented with a special sand-colored Hakuna Mipaka cap and unique Hakuna Mipaka packaging.

The launch of this watch marks Norqain’s third collaboration with Dean, following the highly sought-after and sold-out Wild One Hakuna Mipaka limited edition in 2022 and the introduction of the women's Independence 40mm Hakuna Mipaka earlier this year.

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