The brand that wanted to revolutionise watchmaking: CODE41 phenomenon
Ryan Prior14 February 2022 | 4 min read
Since 2016, a new player has joined the very closed ranks of Fine Watchmaking, standing out distinctly from the rest of the scene. Their name? CODE41, a young Swiss brand boldly endeavouring to question and break with the established norms of an industry that’s still deeply (excessively?) rooted in its traditions.
Between transparency, affordability and the emphasis on Swiss expertise, this participatory project isn’t done making noise, and so much the better!
CODE41, the digital, community-based Fine Watchmaking
After several years gestating in the mind of watch designer Claudio D’Amore, it was in March 2016 that CODE41 officially saw the light of day. With this project, Claudio’s desire was to offer an alternative that was more accessible to mechanical watch enthusiasts without the means to treat themselves to traditional Fine Watchmaking timepieces.
How? On the one hand, by selling their products entirely online, with neither intermediaries nor physical stores, thanks to a pre-order system that ensures total control over stocks and distribution. And on the other, by surrounding themselves with exceptional partners and by applying a minimal mark-up to make the projects viable.
But that’s not the only thing that makes CODE41 a real anomaly on the current market. The brand also differentiates itself through its participatory aspect, by allowing its community to follow the development of the watches and directly vote for their preferred technical and aesthetic elements.
Another key ingredient in CODE41’s success: total transparency on production costs and on the origin of the watches’ components, embodied by its own TTO label, created in response to the (in)famous Swiss Made label. For each piece, therefore, future buyers can find a sort of identity card for the product, indicating where each component comes from, its production cost, and the mark-up applied by the brand.
A still-unprecedented approach in Fine Watchmaking, which leaves the door open for creativity, discussion and innovation. Incidentally, the wonderful evolution of the brand during those 5 years of existence solidly demonstrates that the concept is meeting genuine demand.
The numbers speak for themselves: today, the CODE41 community has grown to 500,000 members, and the company boasts 24 employees, an annual turnover of 8 million CHF, and over 25,000 pieces sold across all collections!
Behind the watches, a real declaration of intent
Since 2016, CODE41 has not stopped reinventing itself and challenging the established facts of the watchmaking industry. In all, the brand has launched 6 watch collections with multiple editions, as well as a high-end rubber strap.
The X41 model in particular is a good example of the brand’s chosen approach. This manufacture watch, equipped with an incredible peripheral oscillating weight and produced in limited series, is already onto its fifth edition since its launch in March 2019.
Its standout feature? Its astonishingly low price in comparison with the market average. A way for CODE41 to defy the luxury sector by showing that it is possible to offer affordable watches without sacrificing either quality or performance.
That’s also exactly what we find behind the NB24 model. This very technical chronograph, with the entirety of its 326 components coming from Switzerland, is also equipped with a spectacular peripheral oscillating weight, here visible on the dial side. It has, incidentally, received a particularly enthusiastic reception during its first two editions, with 1,601 pieces sold for a total of 6,382,803 CHF.
Finally, how can we not mention the DAY41, another of CODE41’s flagship models. Its development, borne by the brand’s female community, resulted in the creation of an astonishing unisex watch, going completely against the flow of conventional practices.
The common features shared by all of these projects? Limitless imagination, high-quality materials like AeroCarbon and grade 5 titanium, and truly exceptional value for money. A cocktail that has proven its worth, and which promise big things for the future of the brand!
Join the great CODE41 adventure
For those who are wondering how to get on board the CODE41 train, the answer is simple: all you need to do is register on their website to become a privileged member. Completely free of charge, this process grants access to a large number of benefits, like the ability to follow, vote and comment on the projects.
But that’s not all: members are also the first to be informed about the latest news from the company and the opening of pre-orders for each new launch. And if they decide to purchase a watch, the journey continues, but this time behind the scenes!
Throughout the production phase, which can last several months, CODE41 regularly provides members with news on their future watch. From assembly to quality control, they can follow each stage of production with plenty of pictures and videos, as if they were actually there!
If you want to discover CODE41’s next project and join the 500,000 members of their digital community, it couldn’t be easier. Simply visit code41watches.com and register; it’s quick and free for life!