Norqain’s Wild Side: Wildlife Ambassador Dean Schneider Partners with the Family-owned Swiss Watch Brand
Dean Schneider and NORQAIN are in the process of designing a limited edition timepiece that will integrate a piece of the African wilderness. The partnership between Dean and NORQAIN starts with the brand’s announcement that all future product launches will be fitted exclusively with animal-friendly straps.
Independent Swiss watch brand NORQAIN and animal behaviorist, entrepreneur and social media personality Dean Schneider have come together to strengthen their shared values. This is the first partnership of its kind for Dean Schneider, who has nearly 10 million followers on Instagram which he uses to inspire and educate people worldwide about the beauty and importance of our planet’s wildlife.
NORQAIN was always committed to using alternatives to crocodile leather, such as vegan rubber with a crocodile leather pattern. With the announcement of this new partnership between Dean Schneider and NORQAIN, the brand is also thrilled to share that all future products will feature only 100% animal cruelty free straps and bracelets.
“We are so excited to have Dean Schneider on board as our newest international NORQAIN ambassador. His values of freedom and adventure are reflected in our brand, and he has already made a positive impact on our long-term vision”, NORQAIN CEO Ben Küffer says. “As someone who has taken the road less travelled and invested his time, money and energy into a cause he is passionate about, Dean lives NORQAIN’s ‘my life, my way’ ethos. The work he does for the animals of our planet is truly praiseworthy and we are proud to support him.”
Dean Schneider always had an entrepreneurial spirit and had begun a career in finance in Switzerland. In 2017, he gave it all up and moved to South Africa where he established a wildlife sanctuary and animal rehabilitation centre called Hakuna Mipaka. His journey has been the embodiment of NORQAIN’s motto: your life, your way. The partnership between Dean Schneider and the Swiss family-owned brand is a natural fit.
A commitment to cruelty free
NORQAIN has never used crocodile leather straps, instead opting for certified vegan rubber straps with a crocodile leather texture. Now the brand has decided to go one step further. NORQAIN has committed to no longer introducing watches with leather straps. All future NORQAIN watches will feature a metallic bracelet, fabric strap or vegan option – such as certified vegan leather or certified rubber. Currently, the brand’s selection of straps includes perlon rubber and croco-style rubber straps that are manufactured by BIWI SA, a Swiss industry leader that has established an international reputation for its innovative, vegan-certified products.
Watches that have already been launched will continue to be sold with the option of a calfskin leather strap. This option, however, will be phased out in the next two years as new watches are launched with 100% animal cruelty free straps.
“As our brand becomes more well-known, we understand that we have the opportunity to make unconventional changes that allow us to lead by example”, explains NORQAIN CEO Ben Küffer. “NORQAIN used calfskin leather in the past because of its durability and high-quality appearance. We were always selective in our choice of supplier. There are many vegan alternatives available, and we are prepared to take a different approach to offer customers equally durable and stylish options that do not harm animals”.
The sands of South Africa
Dean Schneider is already in the process of designing a new NORQAIN timepiece that will be presented in the near future. The animal sanctuary founder is working closely with NORQAIN and chemists at NORQAIN’s partner BIWI SA to integrate a piece of South Africa – and a piece of Dean’s life – into the design of the watch. Ten percent of the earnings from sales of this watch will be donated to the Hakuna Mipaka Oasis.
About Hakuna Mipaka
Hakuna Mipaka is Swahili and means ‘’No Limits’’. The Hakuna Mipaka Oasis is located on around 400 hectares (four million square meters) in the wilderness of South Africa. It is home to thousands of different wild animal species. The oasis also serves as a life-long home to a few rescued wild animals, which were born in captivity. Additionally, some animals are rehabilitated at Hakuna Mipaka before being released back into the wild. Hakuna Mipaka is not open to the public or tourists and does not organise any animal activities. No animals are bred or traded. In additional to the lions and hyenas that are featured on Dean Schneider’s social media channels, the oasis is also home to giraffes, zebras, leopards, reptiles, and birds, all of which are part of the property’s diverse ecosystem.
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Founded in 2018, NORQAIN is a fully independent, family-owned Swiss watch company located in Nidau (Bienne) in the heart of the Swiss watch industry. Driven by the excitement that comes with exploring the road less travelled, NORQAIN has three collections – Adventure, Freedom and Independence – that are exclusively equipped with mechanical automatic movements. In 2020, it introduced two Manufacture Calibres produced in collaboration with movement manufacturer, Kenissi. NORQAIN is a proud partner of the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) and the Official Timekeeper of the Spengler Cup Davos. In July 2020, the brand organised its second NORQAINER Challenge together with On. Available throughout Europe, Japan and the US, NORQAIN has an expansive network of retail partners that includes Bucherer and Kirchhofer in Switzerland; Wempe in Germany; Watches of Switzerland in the UK; Tourneau, Westime and Govberg in the US; L’Oro in Canada; Seddiqi in Dubai; and over 30 points of sale in Japan.