Formex has been making some pretty substantial moves in the latter half of 2020. A few months ago we brought you a hands on look at their new Reef diver, which is the first watch from the brand following an overhaul of their operation, logo included. Last week saw the unveiling of a new version of what is perhaps their signature watch, the Essence, in an easy to wear 39mm case size. This is certainly part of a trend in the watch community – smaller cases are coming back into vogue after a prolonged period of big cases taking center stage – but it seems like a pretty major shift for Formex, which is so closely associated with maximalist sports watches with a lot of wrist presence. A 39mm watch is naturally going to be more refined, and it’s a compelling watch if you’ve been Formex-curious in the past but have been nervous about case size and wearability.
The distinguishing feature of the Essence and other watches in the Formex lineup is their Case Suspension System, which mounts the case on a series of springs, allowing it to better absorb shocks. Unlike the new Reef linked above, the new Essence makes use of this feature, which is certainly an impressive party trick, and the calling card of the Essence in particular. The very idea of it goes hand in hand with the modern, angular styling of the Essence case, which has been largely ported to the 39mm version from the significantly larger 43mm Essence that the brand still offers. Formex points out that the precise finishing of the Essence case is the same on the 39mm version as its larger sibling, with high polished chamfers, brushed case flanks, and crisp transitions all around. The new case is an enticing 10mm thick, so this should wear considerably better on a larger number of wrists than the 43mm Essence.
There will be four dial variants available at launch, including a new bright green option. Your other dial choices include black, blue, and dégradé, which is a dial with a distinct smoked effect, and coloration somewhere between silver, brown, and black. It’s quite striking. All dials feature vertical brushing contrasted with horizontal lines that are individually machined using CNC technology.
As with other Formex watches, the Essence Automatic in its 39mm guise is a COSC chronometer, with a Sellita SW200-1 running inside. Water resistance on this watch is 100 meters, and it can be ordered on either a leather strap ($1,280) or stainless steel bracelet ($1,390). Pre-orders are open now, with watches expected to ship in February 2021. Formex