Though its roots can be traced back to the turn of the 20th century, the field watch truly came into its own in the trenches of World War I. At the time, soldiers had to purchase their own watches, and an accurate and reliable watch was critical, allowing soldiers to synchronize movements on the front lines to the artillery blasts happening behind. Having the right watch was literally a matter of life or death. Thus, the features that came to define the genre — accuracy, reliability, legibility, and durability — were born amidst the stinking mud and percussive blasts rocking the trenches on the front lines. But as it turns out, the features that made field watches an ideal companion on the battlefield also make for an excellent everyday watch. In its latest release, Formex has created a modern interpretation of the field watch in a range of striking colorways and has done so at its most accessible price point yet.
With prices starting at $795 USD, the Formex Field Automatic Collection represents the most accessible entry point into Formex’s lineup of premium Swiss watches. Since Formex’s rebirth under new ownership in 2016, the brand has focused on creating watches that push the boundaries in technological innovation (with multiple patents to its name) and offer high accuracy with COSC-certified movements. While those watches, like the Essence and REEF, provided excellent value at their price points, Formex was missing an entry point into the brand.
The 41mm case of the Field Automatic is crafted from Grade 2 titanium that has been subject to a special case-hardening treatment. In other words, you get all the advantages of a case crafted from pure titanium — light weight (~45% lighter than stainless steel), an incredible strength-to-weight ratio, hypoallergenic, anti-magnetic, and corrosion-resistant — but the case-hardening brings the case hardness from 145 Vickers up to 900 Vickers, ensuring that the Field Automatic will retain its distinctive, deep gunmetal luster without the scratches and dings.
Fully bead blasted with angular lines, the case is strong and masculine but comfortably wearable with a svelte 10.6mm case height and short 46.6mm lug-to-lug distance (for reference, the wrist in the photos is 7.25″). The no-nonsense finishing, spot-on dimensions, and features like a sapphire crystal with internal anti-reflective treatment and 150m of water resistance make this a watch that is ideal for everyday wear, especially if your days tend to take you off the beaten track.
While durability and reliability are hallmarks of a field watch, the defining feature is still an instantly readable dial. The characteristic Arabic hour markers are large and legible, but Formex has executed the Field Automatic with their own style, utilizing a sandwich dial with cutouts for both the numerals and hour markers, allowing the Old Radium Super-LumiNova beneath to shine through. The brushed syringe hands are broad and legible, day or night, filled with the same Old Radium Super-LumiNova. Finally, Formex has ensured that every colorway is equipped with a color-matched date wheel at 6 o’clock.
Speaking of colorways, Formex has you covered no matter your taste with six bold and distinctive dial colors: Charcoal, Petrol Blue, Automatic Ash Gray, Mahogany Red, Ultra Violet, and Sage Green. Each colorway gives the Field Automatic a unique and distinctive personality, especially depending on the strap you choose to complement the piece.
The Field Automatic is available on either a black or blue nylon hook-and-loop strap or a Bolgheri leather strap in a wide range of colors. The leather straps are all equipped with Formex’s patented carbon fiber composite clasp with 7mm of gradual fine adjustment. If you’re a fan of swapping between straps, Formex makes it easy by using a tool-free quick-release system.
The Formex Field Automatic is available for $795 USD on nylon strap or $945 USD on leather strap. Prices include taxes and duties, international shipping, 30-day returns, and a three-year international warranty for shipping to addresses in the U.S. To learn more about Formex watches and the Field Automatic, visit the brand’s website.
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