Formex Essence Dégradé Chronometer

During the past years I have had the opportunity to discover and wear some very interesting watches, sometimes quite expensive, but I must say that I have enjoyed a very few only as much as this Formex Essence Dégradé Chronometer!

I have known the Formex brand for some time, and as far as I am concerned it is a brand that I find attractive in every aspect: impeccable quality, attention to detail, real innovation, and genuinely customer oriented. So I expected a lot from this Formex Essence! 

The specs

Movement
Swiss Made Sellita SW200-1 (self-winding) Automatic (Chronometer grade), officially certified by COSC. 26 jewels and glucydur balance wheel. Date display. Custom-built skeleton rotor with thermally blued screws. 38 hours power reserve. 
Case 
Diameter: 43mm
Height: 10mm
Lug width: 22mm
Lug-to-lug: 49mm
Water resistance: 10 bar (100 meters / 330 feet)
Weight: 80g (case only) 
Material 
Bezel: Stainless steel 316L
Case: Stainless steel 316L
Glass: Sapphire crystal (front and back) with anti-reflection treatment 
Strap 
Italian calf leather straps with curved spring bars, Quick Release function and carbon fiber composite folding clasp with patented Micro-Adjustment System.
Black rubber strap with curved spring bars, Quick Release function and carbon fiber composite folding clasp with patented Micro-Adjustment System.
Stainless steel bracelet with Quick Release and Micro-extension function.
All Essence straps and the bracelet can be changed by hand without the use of tools. The carbon fiber composite folding clasp with patented fine adjustment system can be changed without tools and can be used for all Essence leather and rubber straps. 
Dial 
Hand-applied Dégradé finish with horizontally cut lines which are CNC machined into the dial base one by one. BGW9 Super-LumiNova on hands and indexes. 

Although I’m used to wear more sporty watches, from chronographs to dive watches, this Essence has been growing on me from the beginning, and after a bit more than a month it’s the one that gets the most wrist time, sending my lovely Super Ocean 44 to its box! 

So far it’s the thinnest piece I’ve had. With only 10,4mm thick and a lug to lug distance of 49mm, it sits very well on my wrist and could easily be forgotten if only I didn’t feel the need to stare at it that often!

A remarkable case-suspension system

In case you didn’t know it, all Formex watches feature their patented case suspension system, even the Essence has it in such a thin case! At first I wasn’t convinced and thought it was only a ‘nice to have’ feature to protect the movement from vibrations, but wearing the piece made me quickly change my mind, let me explain why. I usually wear the watch not too far from my hand, next to the wrist bone. Bending the wrist adds a significant tension to the bracelet, which would make any other watch quite uncomfortable, but not the Essence! You really have to check this video to see how it works, I wouldn’t be able to demonstrate it better than they do, but I can definitely confirm how great it is.

The case alternates polished and brushed finishes, so does the bracelet. It’s equipped with a sapphire glass with one of the best AR coatings I have seen, leading to a perfect legibility in absolutely any situation. 

The hand-applied finish on the dial is another eye-catching aspect of the Essence. It goes from grey to brown, depending on the light conditions. The applied indices are covered with BGW9 Super-LumiNova, maybe not the way a divewatch would be, but you will still be able to read the time in the dark in the middle of the night. 

Strap options

I have 3 strap options: Stainless steel bracelet, rubber or leather band. If you have a look at the pictures you’ll see that the bracelet gets the most wrist time. It’s very well made and even has an unexpected hidden extension that could be quite convenient. Its brushed finish with polished edges tend to reflect the sunlight and gives it a Zenith Defy effect, but the Essence has nothing to be ashamed of compared to the Zenith. It might not have the manufactured movement, but it still is equipped with a chronometer grade Sellita SW200 with a COSC certification, explaining the ‘chronometer’ writing on the dial.Don’t get me wrong, the fact that I have mainly worn the SS bracelet doesn’t imply that the rubber and the leather bands aren’t good. I will most likely use the rubber strap this summer and switch to the leather one in September. Both are very well made too, and the carbon fiber folding clasp is brilliant! It allows a fine adjustment with only 2 fingers and no tool, I wish I had it on every other watches too! A quick video will show you how great it is 🙂

A beautiful movement

I have already mentioned that the movement is the chronometer grade SW200. It’s COSC certified, which is great considering the price of the watch,  and it comes with a decorated rotor and thermally blued screws, offering a beautiful caseback to the Essence. Now you have to be aware that the Essence is also available with a non-COSC-certified movement, for only 755€. In this configuration the Essence would be equipped with an ETA-2924 Elaboré movement. 

What else is there to say about this timepiece? It ticks all the boxes for me, it’s the perfect balance between a dressy and a sporty piece, and believe me you’ll have the hardest time finding a better value for the money you’d spend on this one, starting at 1105€ (including taxes and delivery).

Formex has just released a 50pcs limited edition of the Essence with a meteorite dial. I think the steel version is already sold out, but there are still some  pieces of the forged carbon version available 🙂

Should you want to discover more about the brand, you can have a look at our interview of Raphaël Granito, CEO of Formex, or read the review of the beautiful Formex Element Chronograph.

The Essence also exists with a forged carbon case, it’s called Essence LEGGERA. Should you want to get this version, you can get a free additional strap by using the code AWDO_leggerafreestrap during the checkout process 😉

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