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Système Formel Watch Collections Bring Art To The Fore

Système Formel Watch Collections Bring Art To The Fore Watch Releases

In the Nantes region of France, a very interesting project is unfolding in an independent workshop run by William Suquet. Système Formel is a brand that puts visual art on the same footing as the art of watchmaking, combining the two in a truly artisanal way that has resulted in an aesthetically arresting run of watches. With a handsome, cushion-shaped case carrying hand-painted dials to market, the first two collections of watches are ready to make their way in the world.

Système Formel Watch Collections Bring Art To The Fore Watch Releases

The watches come with both a 22mm bracelet and a comfortable fabric strap that boasts an unusual button closure mechanism (as opposed to a more traditional ardillon buckle). The stainless steel cases measure 38mm across and 48.4mm from lug-to-lug. The total watch height, which is increased slightly by the domed mineral glass, comes in at 11.2mm.

Système Formel Watch Collections Bring Art To The Fore Watch Releases

Powered by the manual ETA 2801-2, which has been decorated with a deeply engraved hatching pattern, these watches are designed to be easily serviced whenever necessary, either by the Système Formel workshop or by a local watchmaker, whatever the customer’s preference. Thanks to a five-year warranty, peace of mind has been placed front and center in the list of purchase persuasions. The ETA 2801-2 has an operating frequency of 28,800vph, a hacking mechanism to enable time setting to the second, and a power reserve of 48 hours.

Système Formel Watch Collections Bring Art To The Fore Watch Releases

Interestingly, Système Formel has conceived its own in-house certified pre-owned program. Although the exact details of this are yet to be finalized, the basic concept will enable an owner to sell the watch back to the company so that any potential future owners that have registered their interest in the brand will be able to gain access to a unique piece (as all Système Formel watches are) through official channels. Following resale, the pre-loved watches will carry a further two-year warranty, courtesy of the brand.

To find out more about the concept behind the brand, we spoke to founder William Suquet about his motivations and plans for the development of the brand.

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Système Formel Watch Collections Bring Art To The Fore Watch Releases

What compelled you to found Système Formel?
There is no doubt that the prime motivator of this project was my love of horology. The watch is the canvas for my art, but still, the watch itself must also be seen as art. I am endlessly fascinated by the intricate mechanics of watchmaking and really enjoyed the interplay between components in the same way that color and form intersect in my art. It is that correlation that led me to believe Système Formel had the foundations to be a cohesive and connective project.

Système Formel Watch Collections Bring Art To The Fore Watch Releases

What does the name actually mean?
I am very interested in mathematics and frequently use mathematical formulae in my work. “Formal system” is a term used in the discipline of mathematical logic and visual abstraction. It seemed to be a neat way to sum up the brand, and it also has a nice ring to it in my native tongue.

Système Formel Watch Collections Bring Art To The Fore Watch Releases

There are very clearly two series of watches available right now. What’s the story behind these?
The two series we have launched thus far are entitled Early Series 1: Triangle, and Early Series Two: Cercle. The initial series is the far more colorful of the two. The result is a bright and engaging run of 10 unique pieces.

Système Formel Watch Collections Bring Art To The Fore Watch Releases

The more somber follow-up uses white circles on a dark gray background, again, with a focus on expression for each unique dial. Both series are expressions of the Formel System that will define all subsequent collections and offer clear insight into the different styles and moods that can be achieved by exploring these mathematical principles further.

Système Formel Watch Collections Bring Art To The Fore Watch Releases

What’s next for Système Formel?
Although it is an ambitious goal, we hope to one day manufacture every component in-house so we can launch our own exclusive caliber. Before that, however, I have plans to explore the concepts of Système Formel through nine series of watches, each sporting visual variations of the dial. Each series will be comprised of 10 unique pieces, and a different mathematical theme will be exercised each time around. My interest in mathematics was sired by my engineering background but is something to which I am deeply attached on a personal level. Part of the beauty of mathematics, to me, is that they play such a huge part in everything around us and have at their root, in my opinion, the very essence of beauty. Capturing, manipulating, and expressing that is a long-term goal of Système Formel.

Système Formel Watch Collections Bring Art To The Fore Watch Releases

As yet, Système Formel watches are only available directly through the company’s website, but viewings can be arranged in Paris or abroad if necessary, and international shipping is available. To help potential customers stay on top of developments, a brand newsletter and active social media presence have been established. In the future, the plan is for Système Formel watches to be stocked in selected retail boutiques. The price for each unique piece will be €2,800, and delivery is ready to start right away. To find out more, visit systemeformel.com.

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Comments

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  • SuperStrapper

    …?

    I don’t know, I’m going to have to come back after I regroup. I thought I knew how I felt about these but the price really three me for a loop. I’m inclined to suggest they are overpriced but I want to take a closer look before I guess at to what degree the pricing is off.

    For sure, neither strap option is helping this watch. The bracelet actually makes it look cheap. Putting a bracelet on a watch like this is not easy. And the fabric strap just looks too frumpy. I can appreciate wanting to be unique but I would have made a more traditional strap and used a more exotic hide or colourway to differentiate it.

    • Mr. Green

      Agree with everything you said.

    • Hi,
      Thanks for your comment. My pictures may not give full justice to the bracelet, I have made a video on youtube to try to showcase the light reflections on the brushed links. But sure enough it is a matter of taste. I have made the choice not to use leather and made instead a cotton strap (my preferred option for confort). Of course more traditional strap could be very a nice fit as well. When I designed both bracelet and strap I had in mind that they should be discret and put forward the case and dials.
      Have a great day,
      William

      • Kael Racioppa

        I love the watches. art and watches make for an excellent combination. I am an abstract artist myself and would totally be up for a collaboration on one of your follow up series!

        • Hi,
          Thanks a lot ! A collaboration could be interesting ! I have had this idea in my mind since the start of the project. You are @abstract_orange on Instagram, right ?
          Have a great day,
          William

  • Max Attack

    pass

  • all74

    At $3100USD please spring for a sapphire crystal (with AR!), an infinitely nicer strap, and a better bracelet. It bugs me to see micros that get all about the “story” but forget that this is something that will actually be worn. The current strap and bracelet make this look like an airport store “fashion” watch and the use of mineral glass is just cheap.

    • ray h.

      Everybody is a marketing master and no one makes a good reasonably priced( in this price range) watch that you could love,that is what Rolex used to be good at many moons ago.

    • Hi,
      Thanks for your comment. I really wanted a domed glass for the watch and domed sapphire is hard to get within volume and budget constraints. Mineral glass give also a warmer feel in my opinion, but your not the first to ask for sapphire and I am looking for options.
      Have a great day,
      William

      • all74

        Hi William. I think that even acrylic would be better; it gives a “vintage” feel and scuffs and minor scratches are repairable.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    Nothing about the quality of the painting? Is this neodilletantism? Or the late phase of incompetencism? Definitively a hint of an uglycistic perspective. The dark grey dialed watch with the white staines reminds me of the floor, when the cat opened the litter bin and threw out the yoghourt.

    • Hi,
      Thanks for your comment. You can see some high resolution pictures on systemeformel.com/en. If you click on the link to the series you will get to download a pdf with individual pictures of each watches. It is quite hard to balance picture size and resolution for web content.
      Have a great day,
      William

  • Unbearable in any watch, even in a €80 watch.
    If the watch price is €2800… https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e211ec5cc3e6c64f828f5be132d34a459e8cba65397f4250095e38c2f02704ad.jpg

    • Hi,
      Thanks for your comment. Actually the first designs had no gap and I choose not to keep it. The shape of the case makes it challenging to have a closed gap for the bracelet.
      Have a great day,
      William

  • FS1900

    I’m gonna buy …mond one of each of these and a Ming too.
    Happy Early Hogmanay you old Tam.

  • Jared

    I get the concept, but for $3100 if you are going to push the art angle, you need to make something that people would recognize as art, not something that can be painted by a 5 year old. Because as it stands now, thats what it looks like. A $50 watch with some quick “art” on the dial

    • Hi,
      Thanks for your comment. There is a nice quote from Pablo Picasso on this : “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Sure enough there is matter of taste at play. You can find a pdf with high resolution pictures at systemeformel.com/en.
      Have a great day,
      William

    • Hi,
      Thanks for your comment. There is a nice quote from Pablo Picasso on this : “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” There is a matter of taste at play. You can find a pdf with high resolution pictures at systemeformel.com/en.
      Have a great day,
      William

  • Richard Webley

    Hi William,

    It’s easy to criticise from the sidelines and hard to put a watch together so take all the comments with a pinch of salt.

    I had a smartwatch a while back that I could upload images and customise the dials on. I tried loads of different images and dial but always ended up with a classic looking watch face. The reason for this was for legibility. When you use patterned backgrounds you make it really hard to tell the time.

    Might not be a problem for everybody and I do always end up with clear watch faces, no complicated dials in my collection.

    I guess I need a watch to tell the time first rather than be a piece of art.

    • Hi,
      Thanks for your input. The idea behind Système Formel is to take a step sideways. I think there are a lot of great options and variations of classic design with great legibility, I want to explore some new ideas, design approaches. I am a fan of independent watchmaking – François Paul Journe, Max Büsser, Hajime Asaoka, De Bethune, Urwerk, Moser – for their incredible movements of course, but also for their always original approach to designing their case, dial and hands. I am trying – on a more modest scale – to create watches in that spirit of making things differently.
      Have a great weekend,
      William

  • Mikita

    These look like some student practiced in watchmaking. Result is extremely rough. The price is just crazy, $3,000+ is a gate into very well made watches (Tudors, GS, Nomos, etc etc), so, I believe, you should have tons of watches already to take a look at such extravagant way of spending your watch funds.

  • SMB

    I actually really like the Cercle series. I love the colours and the somewhat abstract take on traditional hour markers. I like the handset and I think the case shape was a very good choice. Not keen myself on the bracelet and strap options. Best of luck with your project.

    • Hi,
      Thanks for your kind words. I wanted at some point to offer a Camille Fournet bracelet. They had a nice strap made of fabric and rubber, but they are not offering it anymore. They still have some very nice leather options. I am currently looking for more classic strap options and I will post pictures on Instagram as I find some good candidates.
      Have a great weekend,
      William

  • Nello Alexandri

    How many pieces comprising the case?

    Some suggestions.
    The bracelet is terrible. The edges are sharp, and it looks poorly machined. It appears to be a Panerai style that has been poorly executed on a Seiko 5. The clasp branding needs work. A logo for your brand would go well here.
    The strap looks cheap and does not enhance either version of the watch.
    This watch could be a strap whore. Drill the lugs. Display the painted dial on some crazy leather. Hot pink, bright blue, orange, reds.
    Try a black or dark blue on the Cercle.
    You may want to mention the TAU on the caseback. I skimmed the article but did not see it mentioned. People are sure to ask, although I see no one has yet.

  • JonnyD

    You have to admire the intent, but I feel the proportions are slightly off. The lug-to-lug of 48.4mm measurement, which I am glad they included, is too long for a 38mm wide case.

  • Nello Alexandri

    That is the Panerai.

  • Nello Alexandri

    Are the lugs welded to the caseback and not the top of the case?
    I like the execution of the case and lugs. The lugs appear to have been made separately and welded to the case. Maybe it is the small screen of my phone playing tricks on me. In any case, ha ha, it looks good.

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