Formex have rebranded and launch their new incarnation with the REEF 300m Diver
Formex are fast gaining a reputation for quality watches. By utilising cutting edge materials such as meteorite and carbon fibre they are indicative of a new genre of timepieces which break conventional moulds and offer collectors a choice with a real technical difference. As we see some leading brands standing still when it comes to design, Formex is a breath of fresh air.
We recently reviewed the Formex Essence Leggera Blue and it was fair to say it divided opinion (even within WatchGecko). The radical construct and ultra-lightweight pushed people’s expectations of an COSC certified watch but over time the overwhelming opinion was that of a superb design which represented something new in the watch world; heralding manufacturing for the future rather than harking back to dive watches from the 50s.
Never an organisation to stand still, Formex are about to release their latest incarnation, not only a new watch but a rebranded company, all attractively packaged in the 300m Formex REEF. A thoroughbred Diver watch, the REEF is powered by a COSC-certified mechanical movement and is equipped with a host impressive design features. An on-line watch purchase configurator lets customers choose between a selection of different ceramic bezels and hand-finished dials offering 32 possible configuration options.
The Formex Reef In Detail
The 42mm stainless-steel case has a distinctive shape which provides both security and visual symmetry. A double gasket construction for the crown has been tested to 300m of water resistance. Mirror polished bevels and brushed surfaces throughout the design create an aesthetically pleasing balance between elegance and the brand’s high-octane spirit.
As a functional diving watch the REEF’s unidirectional rotatable bezel is one of the key elements. It is made of an extremely hard and scratch-resistant Zirconium oxide ceramic with the graduations and numbers engraved by femtosecond laser pulsations. Each bezel takes one hour of precision engraving to achieve its three-dimensional effect. Machined indentations on the bezel’s edge allow a solid grip to safely set and monitor diving time and decompression stops with 60 positive click actions.
The sunburst finished dial is manufactured by Formex’s in-house manufacturing facility. The gradient for the different colours is sprayed by hand. The REEF’s bold rehaut-style hour markers are also hand-applied, and triangle shaped, pointing towards the hour and minute hands which share the same finish. Hands and hour markers, along with a capsule on the bezel’s zero marker, are filled with Super-LumiNova BGW9 which emits a blue glow in low light.
Powering the watch is a self-winding Chronometer certified Sellita SW300 base. This 25-jewel automatic movement is decorated with a customised skeletonized rotor and gives a 42h power reserve. Formex purposely chose this thin movement as it allowed the REEF watch to be just 11.4mm in height.
The REEF can be configured with a stainless-steel bracelet or a rubber strap. Both the solid-link bracelet and the strap feature a buckle with a new patented fine-adjustment system along with a completely re-engineered quick release system that permits strap swap without the use of tools.
Although this is principally a new watch announcement, what might be the most eye-catching feature on the REEF dial and case back is the new Formex logo. It has been five years since Raphael Granito took control of the company and infused the brand with his technical know-how and love of unique materials and advanced engineering. The new logo defines a revised identity and responds to feedback received by the large Formex community. It is based on Formex’s signature hexagon screw and is constructed from a stylized F and X morphed into an infinity loop that represents the commitment to unique manufacturing and long-lasting quality.
Dimensions: 42mm diameter, 11.4mm height, 22mm lug width, 47mm lug-to-lug
Water Resistance: 300meters / 1000 feet
Case: Stainless steel 316L with titanium grade 2 container. Case back stamped and laser engraved stainless steel 316L
Glass: Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment
Bezel: Zirconium oxide ceramic in Blue, Black, Green and Stainless Steel
Dial: Deep Blue, Ocean Black, Coral Green, Silver. Sunburst finish with hand-sprayed gradient (Dégradé). Hand-applied Formex icon and hour markers filled withSuper-LumiNova®BGW9. Hands filled with Super-LumiNova® BGW9
Movement: Base COSC-certified Sellita SW300 Automatic movement decorated with custom made skeletonized rotor. 25 jewels, frequency 28’800 A/h (4 Hz), 42h power reserve
Strap/Bracelet/Clasp: Stainless steel bracelet with screwed links and stainless-steel buckle with patented gradual 10mm fine adjustment system. Black rubber strap with carbon fibre composite clasp with patented gradual 7mm fine adjustment system. Quick Release system.
Price: $1,670.00 (£1258) on rubber strap, $1,790.00 (£1348) on stainless steel bracelet. GBP conversion as at Nov 2020.
Availability: Pre-Orders starts December 2020
A Personal Perspective
Yes, it is another stunner from Formex. Beautiful design incorporating unique features and a real depth of colours make the REEF a serious contender if you are in the market for a 300m diver or just a great looking contemporary tool watch. The price point seems spot on when you consider 2 years ago, I spent more on a 2001 titanium Omega Seamaster which arguably looks more dated. The REEF really highlights the almost inexplicable draw of the bigger brands. By anyone’s technical or design standards the REEF looks to be a superb watch so from Formex’s position it must be all about marketing now. How do they stop buyers spending £1900 on a used Omega and buy a Formex? Let’s hope their sales gurus have the answer; maybe it will be the REEF itself? Faced with the two watches I wonder which I would choose today. As I write this, I am leaning towards the Formex.