In today’s article, I’m stoked to introduce the new NB24 Edition 2 Chronograph from Swiss watch microbrand, CODE41.
For those unfamiliar with the brand, CODE41 was founded in 2016, with the Anomaly-01 being its debut model. Since then, the brand has gone from strength to strength by introducing impressive models, including the intricate X41 that first featured a movement exclusive to the brand, as well as its first chronograph model – the NB24 – earlier this year. 1380 pieces of the NB24 were sold, a clear testament to the strength of its eminently striking design.
Make no mistake – the NB24 is an impressive watch. For one, the skeletonised dial has depth and complexity reminiscent of watches triple, if not quadruple its price point (notably the Hublot Aerofusion Black Magic). The watch is also available in either Grade 5 titanium or AeroCarbon (high-density aerospace carbon fiber), exotic materials that the brand states reflects the robust nature of the watch.
The NB24 is powered by a variant of Concepto’s cal.2000 (which is based on the tried-and-true Valjoux 7750 movement) that is exclusive to the brand. While not the biggest manufacturer around, Concepto chronograph movements can be found all across the Swiss watchmaking industry in watches such as the recently released Breitling Datora. Here, CODE41 heavily reworks the Concepto movement by shifting the totalisers, redesigning the bridges, and most impressively includes a peripheral rotor that is visible on the dial – a feature mostly seen only in watches at a much higher price point. Interestingly, CODE41 states that integrating a peripheral rotor alone accounts for 1/3 of the watch’s cost. The brand also claims that “all of the components, except for the mainspring and the jewels, are produced in-house”, though I assume by that CODE41 means produced in-house by Concepto since the brand doesn’t have any manufacturing capabilities, at least to my knowledge.
The movement itself comprises a staggering 326 components, 35 jewels, and is cam-powered. CODE41 states that all movements are tested in 5 positions to ensure a timekeeping of +/- 5 seconds per day. Like the standard Valjoux 7750, the movement in the NB24 has a power reserve of 48 hours and beats at 28,800 bph (4 Hz).
Furthermore, CODE41 drops the Swiss-made label, which the brand says is often misleading and a mere marketing gimmick. For a watch to be deemed Swiss-made, at least 60% of its components must be from Switzerland, including its movement. However, most Swiss-made watches feature main components (case, hands, dial, etc) from China as costs as simply lower. In contrast, CODE41 claims that almost 85% of the components of the NB24 are Swiss in origin, and even provides a full breakdown of the provenance of the major components and their respective costs on its website – something the brand calls a TTO (total transparency origin) label.
I think the NB24 is a winner – it’s undoubtedly one of the best chronographs at the US$5,000 price point, especially if you’re looking for one with a skeletonised dial. The multi-layered dial looks stunning, and exudes a refined sense of sportiness. Being available in either titanium or AeroCarbon, the NB24 will wear light on the wrist, further reinforcing its rugged nature. And at 42mm wide and 13.7mm thick, it will fit most wrists, and should be slim enough to slide under a shirt cuff. Nevertheless, the most outstanding aspect of the watch has to be its modified Concepto movement, with the peripheral rotor in particular being the ace up its sleeve.
Its value proposition is also bolstered by the lack of direct competition. The closest alternative I can think of is the Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Chronograph, but that’s twice the price despite using a regular stainless case. It’s also rather large at 45mm, and lacks the peripheral rotor of the NB24.
In other words, the CODE41 NB24 is a stellar openworked chronograph that is great bang-for-buck – I can’t wait to see one in person when production models ships.
The titanium variant of the NB24 starts at US$4,688, while the AeroCarbon model starts at US$5,088. Pre-order the NB24 here.
Case: Grade 5 Titanium (43% lighter than steel), or AeroCarbon (2x lighter than titanium)
Glass: Sapphire on front and back. Anti-reflective treatment
Display: Hours, minutes, second-chronograph in center
30-minute chronograph disk at 3 o’clock / Second disk at 9 o’clock / Date at 6 o’clock
Nighttime display: High-performance Luminova
Watertightness: Watertight to 100m – 10 ATM
Weight: NB24 Titanium : 78 grams / 108 grams with leather strap
NB24 AeroCarbon : 68 grams / 98 grams with leather strap
Dimensions: Diameter: 42mm / Thickness: 13.7mm
Strap: Interchangeable strap: 24mm lug width / Simple tool-free assembly system
Movement: NB24 cam-driven manufacture chronograph
Number of jewels: 35
Number of components: 326
Frequency: 28,800 turns per hour / 4[Hz]
Precision: -5/+5 seconds per day
Power reserve: 48H
Stop seconds function: Yes
Shock absorber: Incabloc
Rewinding: Automatic rewinding via peripheral weight on the front of the case
Pivots: Tempered rolled steel. High-quality treatment to prevent premature wearing of the pivots
Fine-tuned in 5 positions: Each movement is tested for precision in 5 different positions.
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P.S.S.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.