Less than a year after launch, Formex is quietly updating the still-fresh Formex Reef 300m diver’s watch collection with a new feature: interchangeable bezels. Please see my full aBlogtoWatch review on the Formex Reef watch here. This new functional feature is being applied to all Reef watches moving forward and introduces a new level of wearing options for the nicely designed Swiss Made sports watch. Formex isn’t the first company to introduce bezels that the wearer can pop off and replace with something else, but the experience is actually well-refined, and you rarely find tool-less interchangeable bezels that not only feel secure but can also properly function as uni-directional, ratcheting turning bezels.
To experience this new feature, I am looking at the very attractive white-dialed version of the Formex Reef, with four total bezels that Formex sent over. Each watch comes with one bezel included, and additional bezel options can be purchased for the current price of $160 USD each. The base price of the watch itself is less than $1,700 USD. Each bezel has a steel frame and either an engraved steel top or a ceramic insert. The bezels with ceramic inserts come with a few color options including black, green, or blue.
To remove the bezel you simply need to get under it with a finger nail or non-scratch tool and pop it off. The action is about as challenging as opening up a can. The alternative bezel just clicks in place and that’s all you need to do. After it locks in place with a satisfying “snap,” you can immediately start turning the bezel as you would any other 60-click uni-directional diver’s style timing bezel. When the Reef collection was first debuted, Formex offered a system on its website that allowed buyers to mix-and-match a few dial and bezel color options. What I think Formex found out is that it is easier to let someone choose their preferred dial color, and then allow them to purchase additional bezels to style their timepiece as they like. Formex still features the “watch customizer” when ordering a Reef watch, but now buyers don’t need to obsess as much over the “perfect” dial/bezel combination.
The Reef watch itself continues to be an aesthetic and performance winner. The 42mm-wide case wears a bit on the smaller size given the side flanks and smaller dial size, which has made it popular among enthusiasts who want a 300-meter water-resistant sports watch but not one that is too large in size. Formex indicates that the Reef has an 11.4mm thickness but that it also has a 9.4mm “perceived” thickness when worn on the wrist. In addition to the interchangeable bezel feature, the Reef also has a quick-release feature for the strap/bracelet. Formex very much has it in mind that owners of the Reef are going to be “transforming” it regularly to suit various style and utility needs.
More information about the Reef watch design, background, and functionality can be explored in my full review of the sports watch collection linked above. To recap, the watch contains a Swiss Made Sellita SW300 automatic movement that has been given a COSC Chronometer certificate for accuracy. This is a pretty fancy movement for a timepiece at this rather affordable price point. The 4Hz, 42-hour power reserve movement features the time along with a date indicator window that is elegantly placed symmetrically on the dial at the 6 o’clock position.
My previous review of the Formex Reef watch was of the model with a blue dial and green bezel. I liked that color combination, but admit that it would be nice to be able to mix it up a bit. The white-dial model has a different feel that is perhaps more sporty (versus dressy) than the blue dial and has been a wearing favorite of mine. But what bezel do I prefer with it? That’s a funny question since I’m not sure any one of the bezel colors is a clear winner. Right now, I have the Reef with the steel-on-steel bezel, but I’ve equally liked it with each of the ceramic colors. Formex seems to be onto something, and I believe this is a smart way of both encouraging people to get a Reef watch, while also keeping them “in the Formex family” when they want to get accessories like new straps and, now, new bezels.
Next for Formex is likely more strap color options and. potentially, more buckle choices. Each of these will be new products available for new and existing Formex owners to purchase. For too long, watch brands have made it too complicated or expensive to “accessorize” their timepieces. Getting a new strap that matches your watch at many luxury brands is a frustrating experience in dealing with their customer service team. Why not make items like this easier and more interesting to buy? Formex is certainly on the right track. Price for the Formex Reef as configured with the black rubber strap is $1,670 USD. Each additional bezel costs $160 USD. Learn more or order at the Formex watches website here.