Since pre-orders for the third edition closed in November 2019, CODE41’s X41 project has already accumulated more than 4,000 new registered members on the waiting list for their next edition. With more than 1,150 pieces already sold, for a total of 5,447,531 CHF, pre-orders for Edition 4 will be launched on July 15, 2020 at 3 pm (Zurich time), and will last for only two weeks. The star of Edition 4, which pushes the exploration of fine watchmaking even further, is the new X41 AeroCarbon, notable for its use of high-tech carbon fiber material, used extensively in the aeronautics and aerospace industry.
Project X41: quintessential watchmaking
Launched in March 2018 in collaboration with the CODE41 community, the aim of the X41 project is to create a spectacular manufacture movement, dripping in mechanical magic, at an affordable price. The launch of the first pre-orders, in March 2019, is a first in fine watchmaking, raising more than €2,000,000 through crowdfunding in less than 72 hours.
What makes the X41 project so exceptional? The opportunity to wear a piece of fine watchmaking at a price that the competition just can’t match; a limited-edition movement designed, made and assembled entirely in Switzerland; community-sourced, exclusive architecture and design; an exclusive peripheral rotor mastered by only a handful of brands; a price of less than €5,500, compared to similar pieces costing €20,000 or more; finishing and assembly all done by hand in Switzerland. (Check out all of the stages and details of this project at https://code41watches.com/fr/projects/x41/)
Is the X41 watch Swiss Made?
For a watch to be Swiss Made, at least 60 percent of its value must come from Switzerland. The X41 project has managed 90 percent, easily exceeding the requirements, which is very rare indeed. However, the X41 watches will bear no mention of the Swiss Made label, as CODE41 has opted for total transparency since the very beginning of what it calls its “crazy adventure,” as opposed to a label that only gives rise to confusion.
With its TTO label (Total Transparency on Origin), CODE41 has placed transparency at the heart of its approach. Below are the production cost and origin of each component and each process involved in the creation of an X41 Titanium:
|Titanium case, transparent back||145 CHF||China|
|Leather strap with deployant clasp||30 CHF||Italy/China|
|Total pre-tax||1,850 CHF|
According to CODE41, the production of Edition 3 continues to proceed, with watchmakers currently assembling the 297 components that make up its exceptional movement. The 700 watches from the previous editions have been delivered to very satisfied customers despite a slight delay due in part to COVID-19. Some of these customers were even able to visit the workshops and follow the machining of their X41 movement in person.
What’s new about Edition 4: X41 AeroCarbon
High-Density Aeronautic Carbon Fiber
Extremely resistant and two times lighter than titanium, carbon fiber is one of those technical materials that matches up ideally with the mechanical magic of watchmaking. However, for the new X41 model, CODE41 didn’t want to settle for simple carbon fiber, but instead opted for the best of the best.
The X41 AeroCarbon’s case is made from high-tech carbon fiber usually used exclusively in the aeronautics and aerospace industry. This material is made on demand in a specialist factory in France. It’s made up of 300 extremely fine layers, each positioned at 90° to the previous, and compacted under 10 bars of pressure in an autoclave oven. This process guarantees an exceptional composite that’s four times lighter and 2.5 times more resistant to bending than steel. In addition, due to its high density, AeroCarbon is water-resistant to 50 meters without the need to add a titanium chamber, as is the case with the carbon fiber typically used in watchmaking, which is less denser and more porous.
Exclusive peripheral oscillating weight
The peripheral weight integrated into the X41 movement is a technical feat accomplished by only a handful of brands. It’s already been attempted by a number of large manufacturers, only to often be abandoned after the ball bearings proved too loud, ineffective, and expensive to make. In the case of the X41 movement, following several years of development, these problems have been resolved by our partner, who machined the bearings’ components in-house in order to guarantee a perfect size and finish.
Numbered edition with delivery in 2021
The complexity of the X41 movement — and the fact that a great deal of the processes are done by hand — equals a relatively long production time. For that reason, X41 watches are produced exclusively in small, numbered series. Here’s what you need to know about the release of Edition 4 and the new X41 Aerocarbon model:
- Opening of pre-orders: July 15 2020, 3:00 pm (Zurich time)
- Duration of pre-orders: 15 days
- Number of pieces available: 450
- For delivery in March/April 2021: 150 pieces
- For delivery in April/May 2021: 150 pieces
- For delivery in May/June 2021: 150 pieces
- This will be the last edition with delivery in 2021. Delivery of a potential future Edition 5 would not be until 2022 at the earliest.
A cutting-edge partner
The development of a Fine Watchmaking manufacture movement can’t just be improvised. That’s why CODE41 called upon one of the best Swiss designers to help out. The Timeless factory, established in 2008, is different in that it produces all of the components of its movements in-house, except for the balance wheel. It’s high-precision machining department is based in Geneva and staffed by 40 people, while its watchmaking workshop, employing 10 expert watchmakers, is located in the Swiss Jura. This is a defining feature that deserves to be mentioned, as it’s not uncommon to find so-called manufacture movements fitted with components coming from mass-produced movements.