November 16, 2020
Swiss Formex engineers its watches to be attractive and wearable. This article explores the important topic of strap or bracelet comfort, which is a crucial component of creating a highly wearable watch. Comfortable straps are those that fit your particular wrist anatomy just right. In recent years, the most popular means of getting your strap or bracelet to fit just right is by the use of a micro-adjust system. As the name implies, these systems allow wearers to slightly adjust the length of a bracelet or strap on the fly.
Micro-adjust systems are hardly new, but over the last several years, the popularity of these technical features has ballooned as a result of consumer demand. Once a watch wearer experiences the on-demand comfort of a micro-adjust system, it is hard to go back. Ten years ago, micro-adjust systems on watches were only available on high-luxury products and in limited numbers. Today, the micro-adjust system is experiencing a bit of a golden age. This is nowhere better represented than within the Formex brand, that over the last few years has offered at least four different types of micro-adjust systems across four different product collections.
No one micro-adjust system is ideal for all needs. For instance, systems designed to work on bracelets don’t necessarily work with straps and vice versa. Micro-adjust systems must also not appreciably add size or weight to a timepiece since the goal is to emphasize comfort – not detract from it. As such, Formex micro-adjust systems come in traditional metal, as well as contemporary materials such as high-density carbon. Many of its micro-adjust deployant systems can actually be ordered individually and paired with other watches that have compatible strap widths. This makes Formex one of the most unique micro-adjust system players on the market given that almost no other brand sells these systems independent of a timepiece.
When the Formex brand relaunched in 2017 with the Element timepiece collection, a micro-adjust system was already part of the package. The generous micro-adjust system offered up to 7mm of “play” across six settings for watches with 22mm wide straps. The micro-adjust system uses steel and a proprietary carbon blend making it both strong and very lightweight. The micro-adjust system is further engineered to be highly discreet and contained within the strap deployant buckle system itself. Small, strong ceramic ball bearings are used to keep the clasp secure when closed, but opening smoothly and assuredly for years. The Formex Element’s deployant clasp with metal and carbon micro-adjust system continues to remain one of the brand’s most popular.
Formex later introduced the Essence timepiece collection, which comes in at a smaller size with more classic proportions. The strap width was reduced to 20mm-wide and a new butterfly-clasp deployant system was introduced. The Essence deployant offered the same 7mm of micro-adjustability, but in a smaller, more compact package suited to the Formex Essence’s rubber or leather straps. The clasp can be removed and swapped out to another timepiece without the need of tools — adding a further benefit to consumer convenience.
When Formex introduced the carbon-cased Essence Leggera, the brand took the opportunity to introduce yet another deployant clasp with a new all-carbon micro-adjust system. The biggest change in the style of the deployant buckle itself is the move from a butterfly-style to fold-over deployant. Designed for a 20mm-wide strap, the Formex Essence Leggera deployant clasp with micro-adjust system is produced almost entirely from proprietary carbon fiber composite. The micro-adjust system is also new, and probably represents Formex’s most diminutive micro-adjust systems to date. One of the two pushers used to open the deployant is also used to release the micro-adjust, allowing it to extend or contract the size of the strap a few millimeters for optimal wearing comfort.
Each of the above micro-adjust systems available from Formex are for watch straps, making them more uncommon as the majority of micro-adjust systems on the market are actually designed for bracelets. Formex offers those as well. The Formex Essence in steel is available on a matching steel multi-link bracelet which also comes with a discreet comfort extension that allows the bracelet to be expanded in one 4mm segment. This was the first step in Formex offering a fully-featured micro-adjustment system for a metal watch bracelet.
With the recent introduction of the Formex Reef diver’s watch, a fully articulated micro-adjust system to match a steel metal bracelet is now here at Formex. The steel-built micro-adjust slider system offers a full 10mm of extension making it the most versatile micro-adjust offered by Formex allowing it to serve both as a traditional comfort-adjust system, as well as an extension system allowing the watch to be worn over thicker clothing such as a wetsuit or jacket.
Be sure to check out the Formex website here to purchase one of its acclaimed micro-adjust deployant clasp systems or a fine timepiece smartly equipped with a micro-adjust system for maximum versatility and wearing comfort.