You might not be very familiar with the brand Formex, but it’s been around for two decades now. Most of its creations are big, bold and sturdy, and some of its recent watches, with updated designs and more understated choices, turned out to be quite good-looking. Like this Formex Essence Leggera, which offers a very complete package for a decent price. Let’s have a closer look.
Formex was founded in the late 1990s, and its name is a combination of the words ‘Forme Extrême’ (“extreme shape” in French). That already gives away the goal: to manufacture rugged action watches. But Formex has shifted its business in recent years. In 2017, the company moved from the traditional business model to direct-to-consumer distribution. And about a year ago, it appeared again on our radar with its Kickstarter campaign for the Essence Automatic Chronometer, a truly interesting watch that showed that Formex was moving into a more modern, but also more restrained, design direction. The Essence is still big and sturdy but has a more understated, cooler design.
Carbon case, COSC movement, multiple patented systems (buckle and suspension device)… For less than EUR 2K.
The new Formex Essence Leggera is an updated version of that relatively successful piece. And this new name already shows what to expect: a lightweight version. Its main addition is the usage of carbon composite for the case, which was produced in-house. Thanks to this material, this new version wears very comfortably on the wrist. The use of carbon sheds about 40% of the weight of the watch while improving its scratch resistance. The case weighs only 50 grams. The bezel also got a similar upgrade and is now made of Zirconium oxide ceramic, which is five times harder than steel. The case is water-resistant to 100 metres.
Like all watches from Formex, this watch is also equipped with the patented Case Suspension system, which was inspired by the shock-absorbing systems of high-performance cars and bikes, and was designed to provide protection and better comfort. This system basically provides the case with a suspension on the four edges of the case so it adapts to the wearer and can absorb big shocks. The glass is made from anti-reflective sapphire crystal.
Formex made an interesting choice of movement: instead of the better-known Sellita SW 200-1 found in previous watches, or even an ETA-2824, the choice was for the STP 1-11. This movement is also a 2824-clone but made by a relatively new company in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland. To prove its accuracy, the movement was sent to COSC for chronometer certification. It has a Glucydur balance wheel and 44 hours of power reserve. It also has a date window at six o’clock. The movement can be seen through the caseback, which is always a nice touch.
The Formex Essence Leggera comes in three different versions: black, blue and grey. The black version has a black carbon forged dial. The electric blue one has a sunburst gradient dial. All three versions offer three different straps. The standard choice is made of nylon, which gives a NATO-strap-like appearance. The other choices are Italian calf leather and rubber. All straps come with curved spring bars, a carbon fibre composite folding clasp with a patented micro-adjustment system. All watches come with a quick-release system, which means that straps can be changed without the use of tools.
All in all, this is a very complete and robust watch that wears surprisingly well. Formex once again shows that a reliable, accurate, comfortable and sturdy watch doesn’t have to break the bank. Obviously, the COSC certification does imply a small markup in the price, but it also guarantees the accuracy of the watch. If you are looking for a masculine watch that will survive your active lifestyle, especially at this price point, then the Formex Essence Leggera is definitely a watch worth considering. The price for the model with the carbon dial is EUR 1,880 and the other two are EUR 1,680. The watch is available for pre-order now and delivery will start in 2020.
More details on the brand’s website, formexwatch.com.