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INTRODUCING: CODE41 T360 Tourbillon

The CODE41 T360 Tourbillon in grade 5 titanium case and anthracite movement.

The microbrand is crowd-funding a tourbillon timepiece for under US$10,000. 

Microbrands are the IT trend of watchmaking right now. Thanks to increasing transparency across the industry, individuals and groups are now able to really develop watches of their own that are produced in small batches and offered to customers directly online. 

At the same time, I’ve personally been very cautious around microbrands, primarily because I’ve been burnt too many times on Kickstarter (the most disappointing was a six-year wait for Bluetooth earbuds that pale in comparison to AirPods) and because my concerns with mechanical watches are less about their popularity and more about after-sales service. When it’s a standard movement like a Seiko NH34 or Sellita SW500 calibre that reduces maintenance problems – plenty of watchmakers in the world can work on these reliable movements. But when it comes to exclusive movements, that’s trickier.

A new timepiece by CODE41 delivers a high watchmaking device for a fraction of the price.
A new timepiece by CODE41 delivers a high watchmaking device for a fraction of the price.

That’s why CODE41’s Total Transparency on Origin (TTO) label comes as a relief to me and strengthens my trust in the company’s proprietary movements. In the worst-case scenario, their suppliers should be able to help me fix any potential issues with their watches.

What’s CODE41, you ask? 

It’s possible that, like me, you were inundated last year with social media ads promoting a fully skeletonised table clock/pocket clock design called the Mecascape. That product was developed by CODE41 and its partners, with various customisable options available.

Claudio D'Amore, founder of CODE41.
Claudio D'Amore, founder of CODE41.

CODE41 was founded in 2016 by watch designer Claudio D’Amore and called itself a community project. Like some new watch startups, it has relied on crowd-funded campaigns to roll out prototype designs and today has fundraised over CHF 1.2 million from its following via tokenised participation certificates. Projects like the X41 and Mecascape raised eyebrows for their pricing strategy, which would probably cause Thierry Stern to flip out. 

Today, the brand has announced its latest model, the T360 Tourbillon, which it emphasises is the most affordable Swiss-made tourbillon watch. Given that the T360 Tourbillon starts from CHF 10,655 onwards, we think that’s a strong possibility

The CODE41 T360 Tourbillon in a grade 5 titanium Stratom case with grey treatment and orange accents.
The CODE41 T360 Tourbillon in a grade 5 titanium Stratom case with grey treatment and orange accents.

The watch definitely looks good. Housed in a 42mm grade 5 titanium case, there are two case designs you can choose from – the modern classic-looking cushion-shaped NativeDNA case with a slim polished bezel or the sporty and wide tonneau-ish Stratom with screws over each lug. 

The skeletonised watch has six modern, architecturally-inspired and sharply angled 3D bridges on the front of the movement, through which the tourbillon at 6 o’clock, open barrel at 1 o’clock, and crown stem at 3 o’clock can be seen. The rest of the gear train is hidden under a large bridge that stretches across the middle of the watch. Two skeletonised hands indicate the time.

A closer look at the CODE41 T360 Tourbillon in grade 5 titanium NativeDNA case, with blue treated movement and red accents.
A closer look at the CODE41 T360 Tourbillon in grade 5 titanium NativeDNA case, with blue treated movement and red accents.

The movement is designed by BCP Tourbillon, presumably based on an existing design they own. CODE41 works with other partners such as Orimpex for the assembly, Atokalpa for the escapement components, and many others. These are known suppliers in the industry. The pricing for the watch is also fully broken down on CODE41’s website, and the details identified, including the movement precision to +/-5 seconds a day, which is pretty impressive for a sub-US$10,000 tourbillon.   

The customisation of the watch comes in the form of movement treatments – blue, black, and rainbow are just a few options – as well as hands and straps. Only 150 pieces are available for pre-order, and as of writing, less than 40 are left.

The rainbow edition of the CODE41 T360 Tourbillon timepiece.
The rainbow edition of the CODE41 T360 Tourbillon timepiece.

It’s important to note the delivery date of the T360 Tourbillon as estimated by CODE41 themselves: March to April 2024. That’s a year from now. That means you’re making a full payment on a watch that you won’t see till next year, and some people may be uncomfortable with that. And plenty can happen between now and then. But CODE41 has delivered on its products in the past, so you can have some assurance that they will be able to complete the orders for the T360 Tourbillon within the next 12 months based on past experience.

A closer look at the tourbillon device in the CODE41 T360 Tourbillon.
A closer look at the tourbillon device in the CODE41 T360 Tourbillon.

Either way, this is an incredible offer for anyone who’s ever coveted a high watchmaking complication but baulked at the cost of a tourbillon in the past. Would you consider putting your order in?  

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Editor

Darren has been writing about, and admiring the craft of watchmaking for over a dozen years. He considers himself lucky to live in a golden age of horology, and firmly believes that the most difficult watches to design are the simplest and the most intriguing to discover.


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