The Swiss brand Formex, known for watches produced for the world of extreme sports, have launched an uncharacteristically luxurious interpretation of a popular model: the Formex Essence Oro. This 18k gold variant of their Essence sports watch promises luxury in a sporting package in a very limited edition of 25 pieces.
Formex is a brand well-known for the case suspension system at the heart of their resistance to the elements. It is also a brand known for watches which can survive whatever extreme physical pursuit gets your heart going be it skiing, climbing or aerobatics. However, luxury isn’t something which I would have associated with them. At least, it isn’t something which I wouldn’t have associated with them before today.
You see, last Friday I received an email from this brand announcing that it was launching a new limited edition of its popular Essence. Normally, this wouldn’t have particularly surprised me except that this model is made from 18k gold, a choice which at once caught my attention.
The Essence itself if easily Formex’s most formal model — or at least it is as formal as a 43mm watch with a 100m water resistance can be. Even so, its sharp but subdued lines and low, 11mm profile make it wearable whether on a mountain or in the board room. The last version to be unveiled, as an alternative to the original steel model, was the Essence LEGGERA: a variant composed of carbon-composite, zirconia ceramic and titanium to create an extremely light-weight play on a multi-purpose sports watch.
When approaching the creation of this top-of-the-range model in gold, Formex chose to use the format of the aforementioned LEGGERA, thus combining the relative softness of 18k rose gold with the extreme hardness of a zirconia-ceramic bezel and crown. This watch also retains the same crown guards and titanium inner-case for lightness. As a consequence, this watch weighs only 76g to the 80g of its steel counterpart despite containing 33g of 18k rose gold. The strap shouldn’t add much weight either thanks to a very cleverly engineered carbon-composite deployant clasp.
Where the dial is concerned, we have another whiff of the LEGGERA as the material chosen is the same forged carbon as the dial of the aforementioned model. However, this element receives a different level of treatment with applied gold markers and hands as well as gold text on the dial and date wheel.
Mechanically, the Formex Essence Oro receives a Sellita SW200-1 in chronometer grade. Whilst this is hardly a high-level movement, it fits the bill as a reliable and very serviceable one thus encouraging the owner to use this watch for its sporting purpose. What can be said about the movement, though, is that it is well decorated with blued screws, a bespoke Formex rotor and perlage across the visible plates. It is also afforded greater shock resistance by the springs at the four corners of the case which allow the movement to float in the centre of the case instead of receiving shocks.
Inevitably as a gold variant of a more affordable watch, the Formex Essence Automatic COSC Oro Limited Edition is limited to only 25 pieces thus making it a very rare model indeed. Whilst deposits are being taken at the moment, the final price will be USD 7,900 thus making it a competitive offering considering its rarity and the technology within.
Availability: Currently available for pre-order for USD 2,000 of the final USD 7,900 for each of 25 numbered pieces
- Dimensions: 43mm x 11mm
- Material: Zirconia ceramic crown and bezel / 18k rose gold case / Titanium movement holder
- Crystal: Crystal: Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment
- Display: Applied gold faceted markers / Faceted gold hands / Date at 6 o’clock in gold print on black / Forged carbon dial base
- Water Resistance: 100m / 330ft / 10 ATM
- Movement: Sellita SW200-1: Automatic / COSC chronometer tested & rated / date & time / 26 jewels / 44-hour power reserve / 4Hz, 28,800 vph, or 8 tick-per-second beat rate / fully decorated & given thermally blued screws & a bespoke skeletonised rotor