Founded as recently as 2016, CODE41 is a young and ambitious horological project. In its short history, it has already garnered significant critical acclaim and a cult following by marrying the traditional watchmaking craft with futuristic designs at an attractive price point.
In this guide, we will review CODE41 watches in detail as we cover the following topics:
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CODE41 Watch Review
Browse CODE41’s Watch Collections
What Is CODE41?
After graduating from the University of Art & Design (ECAL) in 2000, Swiss-born Italian Claudio D’Amore, travelled 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, specialising in luxury timepieces.
A Democratic Community Project
Rather than establish his own watch brand, Claudio envisioned something that would be better defined as a community project. To achieve this, he assembled passionate enthusiasts around a single venture who would actively contribute 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.
CODE41 Watches Pricing
At the time of writing this review, CODE41 actively retails two models with others either under development or archived limited editions:
- Anomaly-01: From $734.48 [Buy Now]
- Anomaly-02: From $858.81 [Buy Now]
- Day41: From $1,190 [Projected]
- X41: From $5,390 [Limited Edition]
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. Indeed, backers and members are rewarded with reduced launch prices.
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 movement as well as the specifically-machined components and exclusive peripheral oscillating weight.
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 endeavours to offer fairly-priced timepieces, their real objective is transparency. In other words, CODE41 goes great lengths to quantify the prices of their wares by explaining the costs in detail.
Total Transparency On Origin
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 refer to their timepieces as “Swiss made” while using parts from abroad.
For this reason, the watch brand created TTO (Total Transparency On Origin), a label that defines their vision. Rather than claim that their mechanical watches are something that they are not, CODE41 proudly details every component’s origin. Nevertheless, you could argue that CODE41 is indeed a Swiss made label.
Surprisingly, CODE41 doesn’t just detail the internal prices for each component but also includes the labour costs as well as final mark-up. Although it appears that CODE41 makes a significant profit on their sales, it’s important to remember that most other brands will make at least twice more.
Where Are CODE41 Watches Made?
A specialist Chinese atelier assembles CODE41’s Anomaly watches. Consequently, CODE41 reduces its labour costs, which then positively affects the resulting retail price for the benefit of the end customer.
However, while these mechanical watches are assembled in China, they will use curated components from all over the world, depending on the watch’s specific requirements.
For instance, the Anamoly 01 was made using the Japanese Miyota 82S7. Meanwhile, particularly ardent enthusiasts were welcome to spend a little more for the Anomaly 02, which was made with a Swiss ETA 2824-2.
In both scenarios, the watches feature the same 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.
Otherwise, the upcoming Day41 model is a true Swiss made label as it will be assembled in Switzerland. While its casing and 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 a haute horlogerie movement reserved for only selected brands as mentioned above.
How Are CODE41 Watches Made?
As mentioned above, CODE41 works with its community to develop its timepieces. Indeed, 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 on 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 colours of the dial to the lugs in the case design is determined by voting.
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 indeed 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 brands offer such sheer transparency, nor are they able to cater to a more price-conscious market. Indeed, 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 custom 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:
- All Watch Brand Guides
- Guide To Watch Movements
- YouTube Watch Videos & Reviews
- Bespoke Unit Watch Homepage
"Futuristic designs and quality timekeeping at an unbelievably transparent and attractive price point, CODE41 is an exciting new brand for both novice and veteran watch collectors."