Formex and WatchGecko collaborate on a range of NATO straps for the Formex Essence and Essence Leggera

Since 2020 we have been great exponents of Formex watches. They are consistently in our best-seller list and represent everything that is exciting and modern in the watch world. When we interviewed the Formex CEO Raphael Granito over a year ago we predicted they were the brand to watch and now their latest design evolutions, with a new logo, are proving to be highly sought after.

When we review watches in the WatchGecko magazine we generally include a strap showcase at the end of the feature. Not only is this a chance for us to show off our latest designs on a variety of platforms but it also lets existing owners of the watch see how great their choice can look on an alternative strap. The first time we showed a Rolex Submariner on a 2-piece Sailcloth the reaction was overwhelmingly positive from Sub-owners.

We have been discussing a major strap collaboration with Formex for some time and it was just a case of waiting for all the planets to align. When the latest design of the Essence Leggera was planned for release, there was the consensus of agreement that it would look amazing on a NATO strap. Formex did not offer a NATO, so this was our chance to partner up.

The Watch

Formex Essence Leggera

The Formex Essence Leggera - Image credit Formex.

The 2022 Essence Leggera is the pinnacle of the Essence range of watches. When you first handle the new model, you are immediately struck by the lack of weight. Forget titanium, the Formex is in a wholly different technical bracket. The in-house design case weighs only 50g and is made of Carbon Fibre Composite. Build quality is without compromise.

The Formex Essence Leggera

The Formex Essence Leggera - Image credit Formex.

The bezel and crown are made from scratch-proof Zirconium Oxide ceramic which reflects a conscious material and manufacturing choice rather than the more common DLC or PVD coating.

Formex Essence Leggera Caseback

The Formex Essence Leggera exhibition caseback - Image credit WatchGecko.

Visible through the display case back, is a COSC certified Sellita SW200-1 with 26 jewels and a glucydur balance wheel. The Leggera has a custom-built skeleton rotor with thermally blued screws and a 41-hour power reserve.

The Strap

NATO Strap for the Formex Essence Leggera

Formex X WatchGecko NATO Strap for the Formex Essence - Image credit WatchGecko.

Now you have the background on the watch that was presented confidentially prior to release to the WG team. Immediately we decided that a stock strap was not the answer, and such a platform required a semi-bespoke NATO strap for the Formex Essence and Essence Leggera. Formex had left the design and colour choice to us, and many variants were tested, but the best option was the same black material used in our WatchGecko Signature NATO range. These high-end straps are constructed from premium 1.25mm nylon which is exceptionally supple making it comfortable on the wrist. They are made with a very tight weave which has an alternating pattern on the edges, creating incredible strength, durability and resistance to elements.

Formex Essence Leggera

Formex X WatchGecko NATO Strap for the Formex Essence Leggera - Image credit WatchGecko.

With the material and colour selected we turned our attention to the metal work on the strap. Although we had a number of existing black options which would have looked good, we set an ambitious plan to try to duplicate the colour of the unique Formex Carbon Fibre Composite case. On close examination, this could best be described as a deep matt-charcoal finish. Up for the challenge, the strap gurus who produce our keepers and buckles did a perfect PVD match and when combined with the Signature fabric we had the final strap. Lastly, the WG and Formex logos were embossed onto the buckle to reflect the co-branding. After sample approval by all parties, the straps went into production.

Formex is delighted with the strap (as are we) and it is now officially available on the Formex website. Soon both the Essence Leggera and strap will also be available on the WatchGecko website, the only official place to buy Formex products in the UK.

The collaborative process has been a great experience for all concerned and more are planned, so watch this space.