When I first came across CODE41, the X41 AeroCarbon had my immediate attention. Here was a watch that – on paper – offered considerably more technical watchmaking and engineering prowess than its price point competitors. CODE41 coupled this value proposition with a promise of increased transparency, lifting the veil on costs to give potential buyers more insight on how much manufacturing watches actually costs.
The X41 Edition 5 is the latest and so far greatest model for CODE41, maintaining the same sci-fi appearance that befits its futuristic watchmaking whilst incorporating some improvements from the older generations. The most obvious of these are the new colour options for the AeroCarbon model, with either a sleek grey giving a tad more contrast to the overall stealthy look of the watch, or a steely blue that transports the look of the “dial” into even more of a spaceship vibe. Although the AeroCarbon is twice as light as the titanium models, the new Grade 5 titanium cases are themselves 43% lighter than steel, as well as being more scratch-resistant and generally tougher than the previous Grade 2 iterations.
All of this weight saving lends itself to a more wearable watch than previously, with a 42mm diameter and 11.7mm thickness assisted by a short lug-length to fit nicely on the average wrist, with ample room to spare for those with smaller or larger tastes. The titanium version weighs just 85g on a leather strap, with the AeroCarbon coming in at 75g. Better still, the watch now offers 100 metres of water resistance – not bad going considering that many pieces of this complexity tend to only carry 30-50 metres.
While the sharply modern look of the watch will appeal to many without further explanation, it would be remiss to not first discuss the skeletonised movement that forms the entirety of the dial. As with the previous generations, the movement is produced by Timeless Manufacture, based out of the Jura Mountains in Switzerland. There’s not a whole lot of information out there about who they supply, although as we can see from their Instagram full of delectable macro photography, the level of engineering and finishing in these movements is impressive. Personnel of the company includes Dominique Renaud, co-founder of the legendary Renaud & Papi who worked alongside brands the likes of Richard Mille, IWC, and Audemars Piguet, as well as Pierre Favre, whose experience encompasses over 20 years with Patek Philippe, plus various projects for Jacob & Co. and Girard-Perregaux. Clearly, this is a company with high-horology associations where it counts.
The movement itself carries some impressive specifications, as you’d expect from the expertise involved, with 297 components and 33 jewels working in harmony at 28,800 vibrations per hour to provide an accuracy within -2/+10 seconds per day, and a power reserve of 45 hours. From a shot of the sapphire caseback, you may assume that the watch is manually-wound, however it actually uses a peripheral winding rotor that keeps the movement thin and attractive, as well as showing off more of the technical prowess within the walls of Timeless Manufacture.
As far as the looks go, the X41 is quite versatile for such an extreme design. The Titanium Grey version, for example, is clean and neutral, and it’s easy to imagine wearing it in an everyday context without strange clashes or trouble reading the time. The AeroCarbon Grey on the other hand is a pinnacle of sportiness, with red accents on the tips of the hands and rally-strap stitching making the charcoal case look even darker. The criss-crossing bridges of the movement are all angled away from each other, playing with the light in different ways and scattering it across all of the visible moving components in a diverting way. The barriers between case, dial, and movement have been removed, giving the whole watch a nicely integrated appearance.
Prices for the X41 begin at $5443 USD for the Titanium model and $5948 USD for the AeroCarbon and, as to be expected from CODE41, we can see the entire cost breakdown of each of the watch’s components. The movement alone directly from Timeless Manufacture is $1705USD, and the cases are manufactured in China.
Even though the watch outstrips the 60% Swiss requirement for the “Swiss Made” label to be printed – it actually has 90% Swiss origins – CODE41 choose to ignore the prestigious tag as a statement against its misleading nature that promotes an environment of secrecy within watch brands. If you want to secure an X41 Edition 5, visit the CODE41 site and project page here.
Made in partnership with CODE41. However, the opinions expressed in this article are our own in accordance with our Editorial Policy.