The Formex Reef Gets Bronze Makeover for Collective Horology

Collective Horology have recently announced a retail partnership with Formex, and this week we get a first look at a new Reef that will be available exclusively in the Collective shop, and at our Windup Watch Fair. The Reef as we know it today ushered in a new chapter for the brand back in 2020 (you can see our thoughts on that watch right here), and this latest edition expands that story a bit further with a unique new dial that suits the watch rather well, if you ask me. Rather than creating a brass case, as we’ve seen on a broad range of modern divers, Formex and Collective Horology have opted for a brass dial. 

The case and bezel design of the Reef are quite distinctive, I’d say they have a ‘big personality’ but without the accompanying heft. This is a watch that makes a big first impression, but manages to be surprisingly wearable in use. The steel case measures 42mm in diameter, but the 47mm lug to lug distance, and sub 12mm thickness make the Reef rather pleasant on the wrist. As we say, it’s not about the numbers if the watch manages to bring the design together in an ergonomic manner, and the Reef has most certainly done that. 


The big personality of the case means you can go big on the dial as well, and that’s exactly what this collaboration has done. It’s not a salmon dial, it’s a bronze dial. The bright, warm color and aggressive texture all bring a vibe that works incredibly well with the Reef as a whole. In fact, I’d go so far as to call this the most compelling Reef I’ve seen to date. Though if you weren’t a fan of the watch before, this isn’t likely to win you over. It almost leans into the personality further. 

The Reef as a whole falls into modern diver territory, with no real vintage/heritage vibes to speak of, and that’s just fine with us. The aesthetic at play here plays with traditional dive watch codes, but doesn’t go so far as to fully embrace the form following function extremes we see happening elsewhere. Sure, this is a serious business diver, and it shows, but there’s an air of not taking itself too seriously as a diver somewhere in there, to my eye at least.

The brass works well here with the black accents found in the hands and the hour markers, maintaining a healthy level of legibility, not to mention nifty aesthetic. The bezel insert is also black, creating maximum contrast, however this watch is equipped with the tool-less bezel change system so you can swap between a few different looks to your heart’s content. Same goes for the strap, which can be swapped between the steel and rubber strap options on the fly. I found myself particularly drawn to the textured rubber unit on the sample I handled, which is equipped with Formex’s fabulous carbon deployant clasp with quick adjust mechanism built in. See more on that in this review of the Essence Leggera

Inside, Formex is using the Sellita SW300 in chronometer spec, placing a date complication at 6 o’clock on the dial (yes, it’s color matched to the dial. This sits behind a closed caseback, keep the focal point here on that vibrant brass dial. This latest Reef collaboration will be available exclusively through Collective Horogoloy’s shop, and at our Windup Watch Fair this coming weekend in San Francisco, all for the price of $1,935 on rubber, and $2,065 on steel. Formex // Collective Horology

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Blake is a Wisconsin native who’s spent his professional life covering the people, products, and brands that make the watch world a little more interesting. Blake enjoys the practical elements that watches bring to everyday life, from modern Seiko to vintage Rolex. He is an avid writer and photographer with a penchant for cars, non-fiction literature, and home-built mechanical keyboards.