Formex is, no doubt, a brand you’ve been seeing a lot on blogs and social media accounts. I can’t account for the upsurge in interest (good marketing team, is my guess) but we get to ride that wave of goodwill. We’ve had a few different Formex model on our pages before, and we’ve got some hands-on reviews we’re working on as well. The first of those is around one of their newest watches, the Formex Essence.
The Formex Essence is the brand’s take on a dress watch, while still keeping some of their design DNA in play. This takes the form of the hex head details. This shows up around the bezel, and on the crown. For the bezel hexes, those most commonly are what house the spring-loaded mechanism that protects the case (more on that in a future review). This is still the case here as well, just in a much stealthier manner than we’re used to. Visually, however, the case shape and details do keep with what the brand has done before. They’ve also put some alternating surfaces finishes in place (the bevel are polished, and the rest is brushed) which is a treatment I like, given that it keeps fingerprints and smudges down.
On the dial of the Formex Essence, it takes things in it’s own direction somewhat with the deeply textured surface (yes, I’m a fan). After that departure, it sort of hews back to what you’d see on their Element line with the handset and the indices, albeit slimmed down to fit the proportions of this watch. It’s a clean and interesting visual on the wrist, and the brown hue is very well-executed. Also done very well? The date window. It’s just large enough to easily show the date – without being ginormous – and the bevels on the edges help relieve the sight lines in to the date disc. In my book, this is one of the better date windows I’ve seen as of late. I know it’s a small detail, and you may not care about it, but when you see the volume of watches we do, these details grab our attention. Usually it’s when something is done poorly, but sometimes something is done so right, it merits mention on its own.
Flipping the watch over gives you a view of the movement through the sapphire window (it’s sapphire up front as well), as well as an unusual line circumscribing the edge of the case. This is actually showing you where the inner portion of the case is, and that’s the portion that moves up and down inside the outer portion of the case. I was not about to put the watch through shock testing, so we’ll have to take the brands word on it’s benefits. I suppose, in theory, by allowing the case to move around some would reduce the impacts of any shocks or sudden movements. It’s a cool feature, and fun to play with, but I’m unsure how practical it is. Still, quite the engineering feat, for sure.
On the wrist, the Former Essence wears like a dress watch that has been hitting the weight bench. By that, I mean it’s a bit bulked up. While it’s only 10mm thick (a good spec for any watch) it is a 43mm diameter and comes in at 49mm lug-to-lug. It’s not so giant that it overwhelms the wrist, but it is certainly is not something that hides away under a cuff. In it’s brown hue, as our loaner was, I thought it fit across a variety of situations. Mostly at the office, but it would work with a sport coat or jacket just fine as well. If you’re thinking something for more dressier options, you probably would want to opt for a bracelet, and pick up a backup strap.
I’ll also call out the strap has an interesting carbon composite deployment clasp, which is, well, just different. If you want to pick up your own Formex Essence, it will run you either $1,265 for a COSC SW-200 movement, or $785 for an ETA 2824 (not COSC-certified). I think it’s great that the brand offers that flexibility in the price point for the design, and overall, the Formex Essence is an interesting take on a dress watch. If those aren’t your thing, stay tunes, as we’ve got a few other models from the brand on the review desk, and those will show up here soon. formexwatch.com
- Brand & Model: Formex Essence
- Price: $1,265 (COSC) / $785 (non-COSC)
- Who’s it for? You’ve been intrigued by the case suspension offered on Formex watches, but wanted something in a more subtle design
- Would I wear it? Yes, I certainly would
- What I’d change: I’d experiment with the hands, see if the proportions still work to make them a touch wider
- The best thing about it: Aside from the well-sorted use of brown, I zoom in to the date window – so well-done.
Tech Specs from Formex
- Automatic Sellita SW200-1 (COSC) or ETA 2824 (non-COSC)
- Diameter: 43mm
- Lug width: 22mm
- Lug-to-lug: 49mm
- Weight: 95g
- Material: stainless steel
- Height: 10mm
- Specials: Patented case suspension
- Waterproofness: 10ATM (100 m)
- Dial/Glass: Top and bottom sapphire crystal anti-reflective and hard-coated
- Bracelet: Stainless Steel or leather with deployment clasp
- If ordering the bracelet, can get in 0.5cm increments
- Dial colors: brown, blue, black, silver