Peripheral rotor? Check.
100% Swiss Made automatic caliber? Check.
Distinct, well thought-out design? Check.
Skeletonized movement? Check.
Complete price transparency? Check.
The bare facts could quickly evoke the impression that we speak about a watch of a prestigious Swiss watchmaker with prices off the charts. The peripheral rotor in particular is a winding mechanism that is rarely seen nowadays. Although the patent, which goes back to Paul Gosteli, was already applied for in 1955, it is only used by a handful of watch brands these days. Carl F. Bucherer is certainly particularly noteworthy in this context, but heavyweights such as Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin and Piaget also make use of it occasionally.
In contrast to today’s standard central rotor, the peripheral rotor glides on a ball-bearing rail on the outside of the movement. What looks very nice, is technically even more difficult to realize, so that the peripheral rotor is mostly used in watches well above the 10.000€ mark only. With CODE41, this is about to change.
By the way, if you wonder where the name stems from: 41 is the country code for Switzerland.
It all began in 2016 with Claudio D’Amore, who ended his 10-year career at renowned watch brands such as Montblanc and TAG Heuer. His passion, however, remained the designing of luxury watches and with a simple vision: Making the art of Swiss watchmaking accessible to the masses, because it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. It goes without saying that by doing so, he holds up a mirror to an entire industry and not everyone is equally happy about that.
The idea was well received within the watch community: CODE41 promptly raised 500,000€ in the first crowdfunding round. This money was mainly used to launch the models Anomaly 01 and Anomaly 02, which at that time still relied on automatic movements by Miyota or ETA. So far, so good, but that sounds like most crowdfunding watch brands.
Only soon after, a whole range of smaller sized watched were launched as part of the DAY41 collection. Especially women, who might find the Anomaly pieces too present on their wrist, have now been given a great alternative.
The models Anomaly 01 and 02 were only the beginning. In March 2019, the X41 followed, the current flagship watch of the brand, stepping it up a notch or two. (If you would like to refresh your memory beforehand about what exactly Haute Horlogerie is, we recommend this article).
The X41 watches take up the same futuristic design language of the Anomaly and Day41 watches, but are in a different league in terms of technology, sophistication and refinement. In particular the calibre by Timeless Manufacture with its almost 300 components is designed, manufactured and assembled entirely in Switzerland, which is certainly not a given at the price called. Even the final finissage of the skeletonized movement is entirely done by hand.
Remarkable about CODE41 are two approaches, which are still very rare in the watch industry and send a strong signal. Firstly, there is the community aspect: The watches are to be understood as a community project that has been created through the input of many thousands of watch enthusiasts and not through the idea of one individual. Meanwhile, the community counts more than 300,000 fans, and counting. They vividly assist in the conception of new watches and actively shape the company.
Then there is the transparency requirement. With a specially created label called Total Transparency on Origin (TTO) it is unrestrainedly demonstrated how costs add up and what the final price of the watch ultimately consists of. Direct sales without an intermediary does the rest.
By the way, according to the new Swiss Made ordinance from the first of January 2017, 60% of a watch’s manufacturing costs must now be generated in Switzerland for it to carry the “Swiss Made” label. Even though CODE41 easily achieves that score, they deliberately decided to ignore it on their dial for a very specific reason. You can find out why in the following YouTube video.
To learn more about the enfants terrible of the Swiss watch industry and to purchase their watches, we recommend visiting the CODE41 website.