When you observe the collective offerings across conglomerate brands, many of the watches you find are familiar takes on the same old formats and profiles. This has opened some room for micro-brands to rise and introduce watches with more striking aesthetics – bringing refreshing and distinct timepieces to market that often deliver incredible value for the consumer. One such up-and-coming brand, Code41 NB24 Titanium, are quickly making a name for themselves by making complex case designs with heavily re-worked and regulated movements at highly accessible price points. Now they’ve released a new chronograph in two head-turning variations: the CODE41 NB24 Chronograph Creator Edition.
According to CODE41: “The NB24 encapsulates the story of our ambassador Nigel Bailly and his dream of taking part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. When this young paraplegic driver shared with us his passion and determination in 2017, we were immediately drawn in and decided to accompany him in his adventure. After three years of relentless work, Nigel will take part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June 2021, thus proving that nothing is impossible.”
The CODE41 NB24 Chronograph Creator Edition is available in two case materials: grade 5 titanium and a high density aeronautical carbon fibre called AeroCarbon. Excluding the strap/bracelet, the grade 5 titanium version has a case that weighs 78g while the AeroCarbon case is even lighter weighing 64g. These notably lightweight builds belie the watches’ robust nature. Both are shockproof and also water-resistant up to 100 metres – more than ready for daily wear. They are each the same size, with a case diameter of 42mm and case thickness of 13.7mm.
The majority of the watch is satin-brushed on the grade 5 titanium models, but the AeroCarbon models have a carbon-fibre texture on the front of the case that breaks as you reach the sloped lugs and caseband – taking on a a more matte blasted finish. You will find the start/stop chronograph pusher at the 2 o’clock position, reset pusher at the 4′ position with the crown placed at the standard 3′ position in between two pushers. Both cases have a hairline polish that surrounds the bezel and sloped scalloped lugs that pair well with the futuristic aesthetic of the dial.
Underneath the sapphire crystal, the dial is open-worked and really gives off a technical aesthetic that gearheads and watch enthusiasts will love. In terms of complications, the date can be found above the the sixth hour index and the chronograph is comprised of an elapsed minutes disc at 3 o’clock and the central seconds hand. At 9′ is a running seconds disk that indicates the running seconds.
The discs rotate, with the adjacent triangles placed to signal the number to read from the disc. When the chronograph is in use, the elapsed minutes disc will rotate one increment every 60 seconds to indicate the passage of a minute. The running seconds disc will continually rotate, making one full rotation every 60 seconds. In terms of colour configurations, there are four to choose from in each case metal – resulting in eight configurations (excluding the various straps available).
The discs and hands are not the only thing that rotate on the dial. Around the outer edge, behind the stepped outer minute ring, is the peripheral rotor which means you can see the mass self-winding the watch from the dial side of the watch.
There is a wide selection of straps (or even a titanium bracelet) to pair your selected watch with to match your taste. The leather straps come in three different styles, and in multiple colours – calf leather, perforated calf leather, and calf leather with alligator pattern (each fastened to the wrist with a case tone matching deployant clasp).
The good news, if you can’t narrow it down to only one, you can actually purchase extra straps as add-ons so that you have multiple looks to play with upon receiving the watch. As always, I would suggest buying the watch on a bracelet if you think you might want it because it is a little bit more expensive to purchase as an add-on versus selecting it as your main strap option with the watch. Fortunately the tool-free quick assembly strap system makes swapping looks hassle-free. The bracelet is available in both satin-brushed titanium for the Grade 5 Titanium cases and matte-black PVD treated titanium to match the AeroCarbon versions of the watch. Both have links secured by a pin and collar system, and can be sized by any watchmaker (or even yourself if you have the right tools).
The automatic chronograph movement is on full display thanks to the sapphire-crystal exhibition caseback and peripheral rotor that results in an unobstructed view. It is based on the renowned Valjoux 7750, but is highly customised by CODE41 movement partner Concepto who specialises in working with this chronograph caliber. The cam-driven chronograph movement has a total of 326 components, 35 jewels, and is regulated to a highly accurate +/- five seconds per day. Some of the bridges have satin-brushed edges that frame a really cool scalloped portion with a frosted texture, somewhat reminiscent of what you would find on a Grönefeld watch. They also feature nicely executed machined chamfers for added elegance. A nice touch, in terms of the movement decoration and aesthetic, is the peripheral rotor and bridges are treated to take on the same colour as the dial configuration. Most brands would have left it finished in a neutral color to match all configurations, but CODE41 really works to ensure it is a personalised offer.