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You better be quick on this one, because Formex Essence Automatic Early Bird deals will be going fast and the campaign has already exceeded its roughly $51,000 USD funding goal, raising more than $180,000 USD. The Biel/Bienne based micro-brand with its nearly 20-year watchmaking history is the first to launch a highly precise and top-quality COSC-certified Automatic Chronometer on Kickstarter. The price is quite a statement, considering the choice of materials, the number of details, and the unique features the guys at Formex have put into the Essence Automatic Chronometer.

Ok, let’s take it one step at a time. While Formex is known for its rugged watches, their hand-writing can be clearly recognized in this comparably smaller and more elegant timepiece. Take the symmetrical 43mm stainless steel case with its incredibly detailed brushed finish on both the base and bezel, perfectly rounded off with hand-finished mirror-polished bevels. The machined indexes and hands, filled with strong BGW9 Super-LumiNova, ensure maximum legibility, day or night. They harmonize with the case’s finishing and provide a perfect balance between elegance and the brand’s high-octane spirit.

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The dial with its vertical brush and CNC-machined horizontal lines is one of the watch’s most defining features. To achieve the crisp lines and sharp angles, each line has been machined into the dial individually, rather than using a hydraulic press. AR-coated, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass protects the dial in the front and allows an unobstructed view of the movement’s intricate decoration together with thermally blued screws and a custom built, skeletonized rotor on the back.

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About that movement… here’s where Formex made a big leap forward by building in Sellita’s highest quality grade Chronometer SW200 Automatic movement. Each one of these movements is certified by COSC (the official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute) and undergoes the meticulous 15-day rate test to ensure extraordinary levels of mechanical accuracy and precision. Each certified chronometer is unique, identified by a number engraved on its movement, and a certificate number issued by COSC. While less than 3% of Swiss watch movements are officially certified, Formex further rate tests them per the same criteria after assembly, to measure if there is any deviation from the certification rates.

Besides contributing to the visual appeal of the watch, the details on the Essence also serve a purpose. For a timepiece to be a watch for all occasions, it needs to feel exceptionally comfortable on the wrist. Formex decided to integrate their tested and proven patented Case Suspension System, requiring a complex and well thought out case construction. This unique mechanism provides shock absorption to protect the movement as well as adapting to the wearer’s wrist motion, not unlike the suspension on a car or a mountain bike.

For even more wrist comfort, Formex added their patented Carbon Fiber Composite Folding Clasp that allows for a 7mm micro adjustment of the strap length on the go, allowing for a perfect fit on the wrist in all conditions and temperatures. This folding clasp can be used for their selection of calf leather and rubber straps, and easily be swapped within seconds and without the use of any tools. This means that when upgrading the Essence with additional straps, there’s no need to buy the additional clasp, making it much more affordable to change the look and feel of the watch. The same applies for their stainless-steel bracelet, where Formex engineers have developed a tool-less changing system. The steel bracelet’s clasp further provides a micro-extension of 4mm.

In keeping with the brand’s reputation for doing things a little differently, Formex has chosen to unveil the Essence via Kickstarter, making it the first ever officially COSC-certified Automatic Chronometer launched on a crowdfunding platform. Utilizing the benefits afforded by a Kickstarter campaign, together with the advantages of their direct-to-consumer approach, Formex is offering the Essence watch with its impressive specification at an equally impressive price. Limited Early-Bird prices start as low as $385 USD for the Essence Automatic, and starting at $695 USD for the Essence Automatic Chronometer with the COSC Certification. Later retail prices for the watches will be $650 USD and $1,100 USD respectively.

Check out the live Formex Essence Watch campaign on Kickstarter here.

Technical Specifications: Formex Essence Automatic Chronometer

Dimensions 43 mm diameter, 10 mm height, 22 mm lug width, 49mm lug-to-lug
Water Resistance Water-resistant to 100 meters/330 feet
Case Stainless steel 316L. Patented Case Suspension System
Glass Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment
Case back Exhibition case back with sapphire crystal. Laser-engraved stainless steel 316L
Dial Black, blue, brown, or silver dial with vertical brush and individually CNC-machined horizontal lines. Machined indexes filled with BGW9 Super-LumiNova
Hands Filled with BGW9 Super-LumiNova
Movement COSC-certified Sellita SW200-1 Automatic Swiss Made movement, fully decorated with custom-made skeletonized rotor. 25 jewels. Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz). 38-hour power reserve.
Strap Calf leather available in black, blue, or brown. Rubber and Nato straps and stainless steel bracelet available as an upgrade. All straps and bracelets can be changed without tools.
Certification COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres)
Price Kickstarter Early Bird price $695; after Kickstarter Price: around $1,100
Essence model without COSC certificate and with sunray dial available on Kickstarter from $ 385; after Kickstarter price, around $650

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