Founded as recently as 2016, CODE41 is a young and ambitious horological project. In its short history, the Swiss brand has already garnered significant critical acclaim and a cult following by marrying the traditional watchmaking craft with futuristic designs at an attractive price point.
Most recently, the Spring of 2022 saw the brand launch the 6th edition of its skeletonized big date watch, the X41. Available only during a limited pre-order period, the innovative X41 now includes a sapphire case option that is an absolute stunner.
In this guide, we first cover CODE41’s most recent launches, including the X41 6th Edition and the NB24 Chrono. Afterward, we delve deeper into CODE41 watches via the following sections:
On April 12th, 2022, CODE41 introduced the latest version of their best-selling X41 watch. With more than 1850 units sold and nearly 10 million CHF in revenue generated, the X41 in any of its iterations continues to sell through its limited allocation each time it comes to market.
Most notably, CODE41 surprised their fan base and the watch industry as a whole by offering the X41 in an all-sapphire conformation in addition to their traditional grade 5 titanium and AeroCarbon versions. The sapphire case version is offered at a retail price that is absolutely unmatched by any other watch possessing a full-sapphire case, whether new or pre-owned.
The brand’s transparent pricing model, which completely reveals the production costs of all of its watches, has proven quite successful and helped to build a loyal following. Markedly, it’s led to the growth of a community whose input has a direct impact on the future models released by the brand, yet another innovative proposition from CODE41.
To learn more about the latest X41, visit our article covering all of the new X41 models here. To head directly to the product listing for the new X41 on CODE41’s site, click here.
CODE41 DAY41 Edition 3
The past two releases of the CODE41 DAY41 model, the Creator’s Edition and Edition 2, were wildly successful, selling more than $4 million between just these two iterations.
Yet, there was an aspect in which they were not prosperous and that was in satiating the demand for this alluring skeletonized model. At a glance, it’s not difficult to see why.
The DAY41 possesses a very solid design foundation. The case profile is decisively modern and intriguing with contrasting brushed and polished surfaces. The skeletonized dial is skillfully executed and not merely a gimmicky way of exposing the balance wheel – indeed, the entire dial has been vacated to exhibit the heart beating within.
The steel case also boasts a sapphire caseback that likewise offers access to the Swiss STP6-15 movement from below. Note that the see-through case back does not come at a detriment to waterproofness – the DAY41 retains a 10ATM or 100m water resistance rating.
We describe the DAY41 as having a solid design foundation because it’s available in a number of different versions, each providing a subtly unique style though all are assuredly enticing. Notable among the variations are the two sizes (37mm and 40mm), a wide range of case finishes (brushed, PVD, rose gold & more), and a variety of straps or even a full metal bracelet.
They’re too many to detail here, so we highly recommend visiting their site and browsing all the possible options for the DAY41! Most importantly, the limited pre-sale period is only open until November 4th, 2021, so make sure to take a look before the order window closes.
Next, we cover the origins of this sprouting Swiss watch brand and take a deep dive into the principles, namely community-oriented design and total cost transparency, that certify CODE41 as a watch brand that you should keep on your radar in the months and years to
After graduating from the University of Art & Design (ECAL) in 2000, Swiss-born Italian Claudio D’Amore, traveled to London to work under the prestigious Welsh designer, Ross Lovegrove.
A master of contemporary industrial design whose work has been featured in Centre Georges Pompidou of Paris, Lovegrove’s innovative approach undoubtedly influenced Claudio’s own style.
Four years later, Claudio returned to Switzerland and launched a design studio, specializing in luxury timepieces.
After over a decade of experience in designing watches for celebrated high-end Swiss watchmaking brands like Van Cleef & Arpels, Tag Heuer, and Montblanc, Claudio sought to create something altogether different.
A Democratic Community Creating Watches
Rather than establish his own watch brand, Claudio envisioned something that would be better defined as a community brand or project. To achieve this, he assembled passionate enthusiasts around a single venture who would actively contribute to its conception and production.
However, this wasn’t limited to an in-house team but also included the public who could register to participate in CODE41’s ongoing projects. After their first crowdfunding campaign, which successfully raised nearly $350,000, the community consisted of 57,000 members.
Since then, the watch brand has exponentially grown to include members from all over the world. Today, CODE41 enjoys developing new projects with a community of over 300,000 members.
As you can see by the prices above, CODE41’s prices are extraordinarily modest for mechanical timepieces. Furthermore, the prices listed above are their typical full retail prices. In this manner, backers and members are rewarded with reduced launch prices.
CODE41 X41 Titanium Case
You may also have noticed that the X41 is the only model to exceed $2,000. This higher price point is primarily due to its high-end custom movement as well as the specifically machined components and exclusive peripheral rotor.
Furthermore, additional features are available for specific models. For example, the Anomaly-01’s case is crafted from steel by default. However, it can also be acquired with a PVD coating for $763.18 or with a forged carbon case for $1,525.40.
Although CODE41 endeavors to offer fairly-priced timepieces, their real objective is transparency. In other words, CODE41 goes to great lengths to quantify the prices of their wares by explaining the costs in detail.
Swiss Watchmaking Origin And Cost Transparency
As mentioned above, CODE41 is founded upon an unwavering philosophy of full transparency. CODE41 and its founders were jaded by certain watch brands that would append their timepieces with the “Swiss Made” label while using parts from abroad.
For this reason, the watch brand created TTO (Total Transparency On Origin), a label that defines its vision. Rather than claim that their mechanical watches are something that they are not, CODE41 proudly details the costs of every one of their models in line-item fashion.
It’s important to clarify that for a timepiece to legally brandish a Swiss Made label, it doesn’t have to be crafted or assembled entirely in Switzerland. In fact, CODE41 establishes this directly on their website. And while CODE41 watches meet the less-than-stringent criteria that would allow them to label their watches as Swiss Made, they’ve simply chosen not to.
Certainly, the brand’s honesty and candor in publicizing the origin of all their components are deserving of praise; collectors can only hope that other Swiss brands will follow suit.
2021 CODE41 Day41 Public Cost Sheet
Surprisingly, CODE41 doesn’t just detail the internal prices for each component but also includes the labor costs as well as the final mark-up.
Although at first glance it may seem that that CODE41 makes a hefty profit on their sales, there are credible rumors in the industry of other, more widely recognized brands making returns of 5X, 10X, and more on the production of their watches. Considering this, CODE41’s per-unit profit is quite modest and, given the quality of the finished product, it’s also perfectly reasonable.
Depending on the model, components used in CODE41 watches will have different regions of origin.
For instance, a specialist Chinese atelier assembles CODE41’s Anomaly line of watches. Consequently, CODE41 reduces its labor costs which then permits an affordable price for the benefit of the end customer.
However, while these Anomaly mechanical watches are assembled in China, they will use curated components from all over the world, depending on the watch’s specific requirements.
Consider the Anomaly 01, which was made using the Japanese Miyota 82S7. Meanwhile, particularly ardent enthusiasts were welcome to spend a little more for the Anomaly 02, which was powered by a Swiss ETA 2824-2 movement.
In both scenarios, the models feature the same watch case with a high-precision automatic movement. Nevertheless, the wearer is given a choice between both the aesthetics as well as the movement’s origins. Otherwise, the power reserve and variation rates are effectively identical.
On the other hand, all releases of the DAY41 sports watch are true Swiss Made label models as they were (and will be in future iterations) assembled in Switzerland. While its casing and machined dial will be manufactured in China, it will feature a Swiss movement as standard.
This follows the X41, which was also assembled in Switzerland as it was crafted with an Haute Horlogerie movement reserved for only selected brands as mentioned above.
How Are CODE41 Watches Made?
CODE41 works with its community to develop its timepieces; the members aren’t there just to simply offer words of encouragement but play an active role in the project.
Once the project is launched, CODE41 frequently consults its members in the decision-making process for both the watch’s design and function. Every design is prepared in Switzerland by Claudio and his team before being submitted to CODE41’s members.
The community then votes on the direction that they would like CODE41 to take.
Throughout every phase of the development, CODE41 communicates its progress. These updates include their internal choices as well as the reasons behind them. Furthermore, CODE41’s staff is surprisingly candid and will truthfully share both the good and the bad news with their community.
Production of prototypes will follow, which are then evaluated by the community. Everything from the colors of the dial to the lugs in the case design is determined by voting.
CODE41 X41 Development Cost Sheet
However, certain decisions will have financial implications that will affect the watch’s final product and retail cost. CODE41 ensures that this is clear throughout the process and continuously informs its members on both their ongoing investment costs as well as the projected price.
After every aspect of the watch has been approved, CODE41 will begin the strategic process of preparing the logistics and the production. Although the community will play less of an active role in this stage, CODE41 remains communicative and informs members of every development.
Once the components have been sourced and produced by their partners, they are then sent to the predetermined ateliers for assembly. CODE41 will then begin the exciting final delivery phase for its first backers.
CODE41 is clearly an ambitious brand that breaks new ground with its radical designs and a democratic production process. Although some watch purists may be shocked by their daringly contemporary designs, CODE41 will likely seduce most for their democratic and involving development process.
Few Swiss brands offer such sheer transparency, nor are they able to cater to a more price-conscious market. CODE41 has a bright future ahead, and we’re looking forward to seeing how they thrive in the modern market with future projects.
For instance, the brand has just announced the launch of a new chronograph project! In just the first video, Claudio D’Amore asks viewers whether they would prefer a mass-produced Swiss movement or an in-house movement that CODE41 would develop themselves:
Until then, you can head to the official CODE41 website to browse their current collections. Alternatively, learn more about other brands, watchmaking as well as how to properly use them with our own resources: