Yes, CODE41 is back and I am more than honoured to review their latest release, the DAY41! This watch was originally meant for women, and they were largely included in the design process and choices that made this watch what it is today.
The “boyfriend watch” trend is clearly reflected in how they choose to design this watch. The larger 40mm size and less feminine traits clearly shows that women, especially watch lovers, might not be into the classic “girly” look.
The result is a watch that clearly also appeals to men, so CODE41 decided to brand it unisexe. I therefore want to personally thank all the women who helped make this one of a kind watch!
A fair warning is in order though: I will compare this watch to their previous models, that i also reviewed on this blog. I think it”s important to note the improvements and downgrades, and why they were made.
I present to you, the CODE41 DAY41.
CODE41 has really gone all the way with the packaging. It matches the soul of the watch and makes you want to keep the box.
The box is made of hard black plastic with a soft, textured feel to it. The lid opens thanks to spring loaded hinges that keep it open, as well as closed without being too hard to operate.
Inside the box, you have a lovely futuristic design and a custom hard foam structure to keep the watch in place. Overall a very cool box that keeps the watch safe during transport.
The CODE41 “soul” is fortunately still present in this watch, and I am happy that they have kept a continuous design through all of their watches. That’s good branding!
The case has the same lovely angled cushion shape with the slightly angled lugs, the cool polished side engravings and the lovely polished spacer rings that hold the strap to the case. The crown remains the same as well, but the entire case is thinner and of course, smaller.
They did change the bezel, making it flatter, removing the top flat polished ring and making the slope less angled. It’s a less “aggressive” look and makes the watch look slimmer while accommodating for a smaller dial/case ratio.
The hours track is the same one as on the high-end X41 model, with lumed hour markers wherever the rest of the dial let’s them be visible. I would probably have made it a little bigger to cover up more just a bit more of the movement.
The bridges that cross the dial in a X fashion are sharp and are truly eye-catching. These bridges are the main design element that makes this watch stand out, apart from the classic CODE41 case. They are largely covered by a rough côtes de genève finish, but it isn’t poorly made, just with very deep lines that are further apart than the classic one (check the rotor on the back, it features the classic côtes de genève in the middle).
Overall, CODE41 has made a watch that somehow feels dressier, yet sporter. The smaller and thinner case is definitely better suited for your shirt cuffs, but the dial is sharper and rougher, with more of the mechanical wonder being displayed.
The DAY41 feels more luxurious than their previous models due to one factor, the size. It’s slightly slimmer and that always helps make a watch feel like it’s pricier.
The case and bezel
The case, like on the previous models, has that same lovely brushed finishing and soft angels that feels great to the touch. The satin finish is very fine, so you can barely see the perfectly parallel lines that create this understated effect.
The sides feature a really cool engraved “track” with a high polish finish inside, made with sharp angles that plays with the light. This detail is not necessary and increases the time spent on making the case, but it gives the watch that cool cyber-punk charm.
The bezel has a circular satin finish on the top that matches the quality and fitness of the case. The vertical side is highly polished and the line between the two finishes is crisp. There is a small gap between the bezel and the case, which is a shame but also harder to achieve.
The crown is a smaller version of the classic CODE41 crown, with a polished triangular grip pattern on the top, and polished beveled edge and a small disc with a circular satin finish, housing the deeply engraved CODE41 logo. Visually, this is a lovely crown with attention to the details that sits perfectly aligned with the case.
The engraved triangular pattern looks great, but doesn’t really grip well, making the manual winding a little hard. This is a big problem since you just need to manually turn the crown a few times and let the rotor weight do its job.
Everything on the dial is perfectly aligned and well executed, with sharp angles and very little machining evidence on the edges, when looking through a loupe.
I do feel like they have paid less attention to the details of the dial here than on the Anomaly series, specifically the 01. The Anomaly had polished beveled edges around the holes drilled into the dial and the satin finish was a bit finer. But the movement on this watch is much better, so that’s probably where the money went.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s an incredible dial with great attention to detail, and most unintentional flaws are only revealed under a loupe. The big “côtes de genève” like finishing features very crisp lines and is well executed for the money. The movement features great satin finish, high polish elements and even some polished beveled edges and track cut into the bridges!
The hours track features some lovely debossed (engraved) shapes and the applied lume sits flat with the track and doesn’t overflow.
The hands also have a satin finish and a nice thickness to them. There are very little evidence of machining under the loupe and the lume is well applied, so as to avoid that cheap giant texture.
One thing that I mentioned as a big flaw in my review of the Anomaly 01 and 02 is the lume. But CODE41 heard my cries of despair and updated this watch with what I believe is BGW9 lume, which shines a lovely blue light, even in lower light conditions.
The strap and clasp
One flattering complaint I always like to give to all CODE41 watches is that they deserve a better strap. The clasp is good, but i will immediately go buy a high-end real crocodile leather strap for this watch, to match the quality.
The leather strap that came with the watch is still ok though. It’s well upholstered, supple and soft on the inside. The sides are waxed, which is a tell tale sign of lower quality straps, but I wouldn’t expect CODE41 th throw on a 150 USD strap on this watch. The money has to go into the watch itself and the clasp.
The butterfly clasp is surprisingly well made and solid. Full satin finish to match the case and sharp angles defines the elements of this butterfly clasp. The buttons respond well to pressure, the clasp doesn’t open when you “squeeze” your wrist and the logo is deeply engraved. It will be perfect for the new crocodile strap I will buy for this watch!
The STP6-15 is a special skeleton movement by STP (Swiss Technology Production), owned by the Fossil group. It features seconds hacking and beats away at 28800 beats per hour (4hz or 8 ticks per second). It boasts a 0/15 seconds a day loss and mine seem to keep that although it is hard to tell since there are no minute track.
This movement has a decent finish on the front with circular satin finishes, polished and beat blasted elements.The back is the same, but the rotor seems to have a better finish, with a sunburst effect on the edge and a beautiful côtes de genève stripes.
Many people on forums, who know more than me, seem to argue that it’s quite a good choice of movement. It seems to be much better than most Miyotas and entry level Seiko movements, and can even spar with the entry level ETA’s. This very detailed thread shows the difference between some well known mass produced movements and the STP1-11.
On the wrist
The DAY41 has that good all-around 40 mm size (43.5 with the crown) that will suit most people. If your wrist is bigger than 18 cm in circumference, and you don’t like too small watches, this watch is not for you and you should check out their Anomaly models.
The watch hugs the wrist perfectly thanks to the angled lugs, but they won’t help you if you have excessively small wrists. It’s light, comfortable and can slide under any dress cuff, should you wish to wear it with a suit.
What could be better
I will try to lay out the things I think could be better, but wouldn’t increase the price dramatically should CODE41 decide to correct them. They might also be personal things I don’t like, but i can’t help injecting some of those in my reviews.
- The basic steel version lacks some contrast on the dial, making it a little harder to read the time at a glance. I think blue hands on this model would have made it pop, and i’m considering getting it done by my watchmaker. Painted blue hands would be enough, since heat treated ones are more expensive. The other models seem to have the contrast in order.
- Some more polished elements on the dial. But that’s just a personal opinion, and you can always get the zirconium (diamond like crystals) encrusted version for that extra bling effect.
I think the price is fair
The movement in this watch cost around 145 EUR (175 USD) if you buy 100. This, plus considering the level of finish and details, custom elements and the quality of the clasp, the 1000 EUR (1190 USD) price tag seems fair.
I have reviewed the Bolido Core who used the same movement and it was in the same price range. You can also get a Echo/Neutra with a STp movement or a Magrette for a little less than the price of the CODE41, but with printed dials and less details.
CODE41 has once again created a watch that is truly unique from their other watches, yet still has the soul and design continuity of the brand. In today’s world, Instagram is dictating the hottest watches and other brands heavily influence their designs to capture the unsuspecting buyer’s attention. In that world, it’s nice to see a brand taking risks and coming out with watches that look like no other watch. And they do this with the help of a community invested in the process and willing to buy and wear these timepieces proudly.
The DAY41 is a fun unisex watch that neither a dress watch, nor a sports watch, but lies in it’s own self created realm. It’s a design statement in itself, but also a well built watch with a movement that will stand the tests of time, if taken care of.