October 16, 2020
by Ariel Adams
Late 2020 sees Swiss Formex release one of its most hotly-anticipated modern watches to date: the REEF Automatic Chronometer COSC 300M. The REEF was built on the success of the sporty/dress Formex Essence collection and introduces the first modern diver’s watch to the growing boutique mechanical watchmaker. Community has been everything to Formex, which not only launches the REEF collection with an online configurator tool allowing for product personalization, but the REEF name itself was actually selected via a promotion with the timepiece enthusiast community on aBlogtoWatch. This is a timepiece specifically intended for today’s passionate and discriminating watch lover. Formex has had some diver-style watches in the distant past, but the Reef is its first truly modern diver’s watch and represents the current personality of the Formex brand.
Formex also introduces a totally new brand logo on the Reef that updates the more than 20-year-old previous Formex logo. The original logo was designed when Formex, as a brand, was thoroughly inspired by the world of car racing and motorsports. Today, under newer ownership, Formex continues to celebrate its roots but is notably agile with the times. Today, Formex produces more watches for more people in a greater number of places around the world. Formex owner Raphael Granito wanted a logo that represented what Formex is today. “Formex” as a name is a combination of “Form” (in terms of shape) and “Extreme” (in terms of performance). The new graphical element for the logo combines the letters “F” and “X” along with an infinity loop.
All 32 customizable variations of the Formex REEF are 42mm-wide in a symmetrical steel case. The side flanks make the watches attractive and follow Gerald Genta-style design trends and models like the Patek Philippe Nautilus or the Hublot Big Bang. The cases are extremely wearable at just 11.4mm-thick and with a modest 47mm lug-to-lug distance. I’m very curious to see how the Reef watch looks and feels on the wrist. The uni-directional rotating timing bezel is produced entirely from high-tech ceramic (or steel) and is available in multiple colors, including steel tone, blue, black, and green. Formex points out that each individual REEF watch bezel requires 60 minutes of precision machine engraving to achieve its three-dimensional effect. As a diver-style watch, the REEF case is water-resistant to 300 meters, and over the dial is an AR-coated sapphire crystal.
Speaking of the dial, each REEF watch has a sunray-polished face that is carefully spray-painted by hand using a specialized technique similar to how automobile panels are painted. This uses multiple layers and careful volumes of paint to create a rich, consistent look. Available dial colors include Deep Blue, Ocean Black, Coral Green, or Silver Dégradé. The dial design itself is inspired by the Formex Essence, with beefier hands and hour markers necessary to provide optimal legibility in dark, watery conditions. Such a level of artisanship is not typically found in watches at the under-$2,000 price level, but Swiss Made brands like Formex are starting to change that.
Formex designed the REEF to use quick-release spring bars allowing wearers to easily swap out straps or the available steel metal bracelet. Both strap and bracelet options come paired to a signature Formex deployant clasp, which includes a handy micro-adjust system to allow for optimal wearing comfort. In each Formex REEF watch is a Swiss Made Sellita SW300 automatic movement. The movements operate at 4Hz with 42 hours of power reserve and each comes with a COSC Chronometer certification.
Formex is offering special pricing for the first 100 REEF watches at a pre-order price of $1,670 USD, with the price going up to $1,790 for the next 100 pre-ordered pieces. All pre-order customers will receive both a rubber strap and steel metal bracelet with their REEF watches, including their choice of case personalization and unique serial number to be engraved on the caseback of the watch. After the pre-order period, the Formex REEF Automatic Chronometer COSC 300M watch will retail for $1,670 on a rubber strap, and $1,790 on the steel bracelet. Formex intends to start shipping REEF watches in December of 2020. Learn more or order at the Formex website here.