For its latest new release of 2023, Formex has teamed up with California-based retailer Collective Horology to create a new retail-exclusive version of its fan-favorite Reef dive watch. Formex is no stranger to limited editions and collaborations, and neither is Collective Horology, who has previously teamed up with brands such as IWC, Urwerk, H Moser & Cie, Czapek, and Zenith (among others) to create various other collaboration watches. For its latest partnership with Formex, Collective Horology has worked with the Swiss manufacturer to create a new version of its fan-favorite Reef diver, although the really interesting detail about the new Formex Reef Radiant Bronze for Collective is that the dial fitted to the watch is made from a sheet of finished bronze.

While bronze has become a rather popular material for watch cases due to its ability to acquire a patina, seldom does the metal get used for the dials of watches, and it instead is typically used for external components such as the case or bezel. That said, bronze offers a unique warm color that sits halfway between rose gold and copper, and it almost offers a darker and metallic take on the ever-trendy “salmon” dial color that can be found throughout much of the watch industry. Formex operates its own in-house dial manufacturer located in Switzerland’s Jura mountains, and for the new Formex Reef Radiant Bronze for Collective, it was decided that the watch would feature a dial that was actually made from bronze and that it would showcase the metal’s natural warm color.

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Most watch dials are made from brass, and since bronze is a relatively similar alloy, the metal itself is actually fairly well-suited to being machined into a watch dial. Just like brass, bronze will naturally oxidize and darken over time, although this normally isn’t a factor due to the layers of paint, enamel, or lacquer that typically cover the metal base layer of a dial. However, since the objective of this particular dial was to showcase the natural bronze metal itself, Formex uses a proprietary clear lacquer on its surface to preserve its bright metallic color and prevent oxidation. Additionally, to help bring out the natural aesthetic qualities of the metal, the surface has been given a vertical brushed finish with black printing and faced markers that are filled with BGW9 Super-LumiNova. Additionally, just like other Reef models, the bronze dial fitted to the new Formex Reef Radiant Bronze for Collective features a date window at the 6 o’clock location with a calendar disc that is color-matched to the bronze hue of the dial.

Beyond its new bronze dial, the new Formex Reef Radiant Bronze for Collective is very much the same dive watch that we have come to know over the years, and if you’re looking for a full review of the original model, you can find that right here. This means that you get the same angular case made from 316L stainless steel that measures 42mm in diameter by 11.4mm-thick, with 22mm lugs and an overall lug-to-lug profile of 47mm. Since the external case is shared with the other current-production Reef models, you get an anti-reflective sapphire crystal above the dial, a solid screw-down caseback fitted to the reverse side of the watch, and a signed crown protected by large crown guards, which screws down to the case to help create a fairly generous 300 meters of water resistance.

Inside the new Formex Reef Radiant Bronze for Collective is the same COSC chronometer-certified Sellita SW300-1 that can be found in its standard-production siblings, which runs at a frequency of 28,800vph (4 Hz) with a power reserve of approximately 56 hours. Additionally, while the new bronze dial collaboration model is fitted with a matte black zirconium oxide ceramic bezel that features a raised 60-minute scale, the new Formex Reef Radiant Bronze for Collective also features the contemporary Reef collection’s signature interchangeable bezel system, which allows users to remove the bezel without any tools and swap it out for one of the other options that Formex sells through its official website.

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Just like other Reef divers, the new Formex Reef Radiant Bronze for Collective is available with the option of either a stainless steel bracelet or a rubber strap. The rubber strap is fitted with Formex’s carbon composite deployant clasp, while the flat three-link style bracelet features a stainless steel folding clasp, and both options include quick-release connectors at the lugs to permit tool-free strap/bracelet changes, along with integrated fine-adjustment systems inside their clasps that enable on-the-fly incremental adjustment. While these are the same strap and bracelet options that are available for the standard Formex Reef divers, the key detail here is that buyers of the new collaboration model will still have the choice in regards to which option will come fitted to their watches.

The new Formex Reef Radiant Bronze for Collective is accompanied by an official retail price of $1,935 USD when purchased on the rubber strap, or $2,065 USD should buyers opt for the stainless steel bracelet, and this makes it just slightly more expensive than the normal versions of the Reef diver that are fitted with traditional dials (the actual price premium is a total of $105 USD, at the time of writing). Additionally, while the new collaboration model isn’t a limited edition where production will be capped at a specific number of examples, only 50 watches will be available this year, and the new models will be exclusively available from either Formex’s own website or the Collective Shop. For more information on the Formex Reef Radiant Bronze for Collective please visit the brand’s website

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