Say the word “chronograph” and the image that comes to mind is probably something with a retro flavour; maybe inspired by the instruments on the cockpit of a plane or the dash of a vintage sports car. You’re probably thinking of panda dials. What you’re not expecting is angular skeletons with bridges that look like steel girders in Gotham City. But then CODE41 has never done anything by the book.
This brand was set up in 2016, Claudio D’Amore, with the idea of creating an affordable mechanical watch, one whose design was informed by a community of enthusiasts and with complete transparency on where the money was going.
New Colour, New Case
Now it’s following this year’s incredibly successful T360 Tourbillon with a new addition to its NB24 collection, named after race driver and CODE41 ambassador Nigel Bailly who, in 2021, participated in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race.
The NB24 Stratom, as the name suggests, takes the NB24’s recognisable futuristic chronograph and places it in the Stratom case, which was last seen housing the aforementioned tourbillon. By popular demand – literally, the CODE41 community voted for it – the NB24 is now available with orange accents for the first time.
This watch has been a phenomenal success. When the Creator Edition launched back in 2021, the 1,380 pieces were all sold in a few weeks astounding CODE41’s team and disappointing more than a few members of the community who hadn’t been quick enough on the “Pre-order now” button.
In hindsight, that wasn’t surprising. Aside from the gorgeously Geiger-esque dial construction, it was powered by a modified Valjoux 7750. This integrated chronograph movement is legendary.
First launched in 1974, it was, in a watch-world first, partly designed by computer, and was an affordable integrated chronograph. This means the chronograph components are part of the designed movement not added on, as a module, to an existing base calibre; something very hard to do and keep the price down.
Valjoux 7750s have cropped up in watches from the likes of Breitling, TAG Heuer and IWC.
Unique Watch Movement Design
This being CODE41, a standard 7750 wasn’t going to cut it, so it drafted in Concepto, a watch movement design and manufacturing company based in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Concepto moved the counters, redesigned the bridges and added a dial-side peripheral rotor; a way of displaying the oscillating weight that only a very few high-end brands do. It delivers the reliability of a tried-and-tested base calibre with the technical pyrotechnics with which CODE41 are synonymous.
A second edition quickly followed to satisfy those who missed out on the first round and now we have the third edition in the Stratom case. The NativeDNA case is still an option – in either grade 5 titanium or the resistant, high-density, aeronautic carbon fibre, Aerocarbon – and if you’re impatient, you don’t have to wait as this version can be with you in just seven days.
Worth The Wait And Availability
However, if you’re willing to play the waiting game, the Stratom is well worth it. Its muscular form, with its squared-off bezel and black corner screws, complements the stripped-back architecture of the dial. The orange accents bring depth allowing you to appreciate the multi-layered construction, and on the complementary orange rubber strap it’s just perfect.
Of course, you don’t have to opt for orange. This being CODE41 there are choices to be made. Red, blue or all-black dials, an embarrassment of straps from bracelet to perforated and all yours for £6,900. That’s the good news. The bad is that there are only 200 pieces available.
Pre-orders are open now, so you better be quick. You don’t want to be like one of those frustrated members who didn’t get a Creator Edition, now do you?
A paid partnership with CODE41 – words and opinion are Ape’s own.