Episode #2: The CEO of Formex sits down with us to discuss his thoughts on the watch industry...
In this episode of 15 Questions With, we hear from the main man from Formex, Raphael Granito. In his sixth year of being CEO of Formex and right off the back of a re-brand we hear how Raphael started in the industry, how a gift from Mr Jean Claude Biver is his prized possession as well as what the brand has up their sleeve for the future. Formex has been creating some incredible watches recently with both the Essence and Reef blowing us away when we went hands-on with them.
Raphael's passion and love for horology is impossible to ignore and its immensely clear Formex is more than a watch brand to him.
Let's jump into it.
1. Let’s start with something everyone is always interested in, what’s on your wrist at the time of writing this?
I am wearing the new Formex Reef Diver watch with a Dégradé brown dial.
2. What was the first watch you remember that left an impact on you?
It was a Swatch Flik Flak which I had when younger. Later I was exposed to a lot of Omega watches and such brands but the Swatch was the first.
3. How did you start working in and around watches?
I was always brought up with them and have been in and out of the industry due to family connections. My father founded Dexel SA who is well known for making components for many major names in the industry, I am still involved with that business.
Finish the following sentences:
4. The best-kept secret in watches is…
That is a tough one! We try to not keep any secrets ourselves, but I could not speak for other brands. We try to be very transparent and answer any questions our customers have. Our biggest secret is our latest developments which we have not released yet...
5. The one watch that got away from me was...
It didn't get away from me as it's not limited so it is probably still available - I am saving up for that Bulgari Octo Finissimo.
6. If I wasn’t working in watches, I’d be working in…
I would go into Marine Biology or Oceanography. I had the chance to study for a year in San Diego and to surf every day. I used to watch the guys at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and they had a pier that led right into a surf spot in the ocean. I really love the ocean be it free diving, surfing, kiteboarding. Being close to the ocean and studying it would be something I would really enjoy doing.
7. What is one thing you think is missing from the watch industry today?
When I hear customer service horror stories I have to scratch my head. Things need to be re-evaluated. If someone spends £1,000, £5,000 or even £10,000 of their hard-earned money to buy a watch from you, I think they deserve to be treated as a valued customer. The customer is king.
8. Tell us about one watch that took your breath away recently?
It would have to be the watch I'm saving for, the Bulgari Octo Finissimo. I think Bulgari is doing a great job at pushing the limits of design and engineering.
9. What is your most prized possession in your collection?
Actually, it depends on my mood. One I really like is a Hublot Big Bang which my Dad gave to me. He was given it by Mr Biver and I really value that. I am not big on favourite things – I like variety.
10. Date or no date?
Date, but at 6’oclock.
11. What was your most recent watch purchase?
Mostly I wear Formex as I am the No1 tester - I put new models through hell! The last watch I bought was a Longines Spirit which I think is a steal for what it is. They did a great job on the finish, I really enjoy what they are doing at Longines.
12. And the next watch you’ll be adding to your collection?
Again it is a watch I have already mentioned but I really have my eye on the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic full ceramic! I love how they have such a thin watch, inside a thin ceramic case, with a thin ceramic strap; it really impresses me.
13. What is something you feel passionate about in the world of watches?
Since I started in Formex my watch buying frequency has gone down a bit. My passion for watches now is less about collecting but more about developing and producing.
14. What is one piece of advice for people out there looking to make it in the world of horology and watches?
Do your research now more than ever. There are troves of information out there. Independent information, guys doing great reviews like WatchGecko, as well as platforms like YouTube. I think a watch purchase or career should be first and foremost something emotional.
15. Tell us about something you’re working on that is really exciting?
We cannot give away too much, but our strategy is to create well thought out products with pillar models like the Essence and the Reef. We want to further develop variations of these models. We now produce all our dials in-house at our Jura facility which I can get to in 40 minutes and discuss with the development team. I want to harness that speed of development.
Raphael, thank you so much for the time you have given to WatchGecko today.
Thank you guys for your interest and refreshing views on the models and the in-depth reviews you do and also the good job with WatchGecko and Geckota.
Keep up to date with everything Raphael is doing with Formex by checking out their site here. Alternatively, if you'd like to see what we thought of their watches, our review of the Essence is here and the Reef can be found here.
We'd like to take this moment to thank Raphael for his time and for featuring on 15 Questions With.