Birthday time is nearly here and so the perfect reason to pick a new watch. After a couple of recent purchases and a lucky call from my Rolex AD, funds are a bit lower as I look for a present for myself. However, with constraint comes creativity and in this case an awesome discovery. The Formex Essence 39mm was released in 2021. This smaller scale version from it's 43mm predecessor may be tinier but definitely comes with some big benefits in design and engineering. I made my purchase through Teddy Baldassare's website and contacted them directly. My sales rep Dan was phenomenal and provided me a small discount without even asking. With his recommendation (and using my purchase savings) I bought a Formex leather strap and custom clasp from their website. Formex immediately reconciled the watch and strap orders and included them in the same shipment. Both Teddy's team and Formex have great tracking and communication after the purchase.
The Formex Essence 39mm comes in four different dial colors, but I was drawn to this understated denim blue as a versatile option. The obvious comparison is the Omega Aqua Terra 150 41mm with the "teak dial" and the 6 o'clock date window. That certainly gives this a first appeal but from there it takes a life of it's own. The COSC certified Sellita SW 200-1 top grade movement with custom finish and 42 hours of power reserve behind the sapphire crystal display case back is enjoyable to look at. The bezel, rectangular indices, and baton-style hands are highly polished and have an excellent sport-to-dress vibe. The indices and hands all have lume which I'll discuss later. The color matched date wheel with white numbering just flows with the dial.
The fit on wrist is phenomenal. It practically glides on and feels nearly weightless. This may be due in part to Formex's custom suspension systems which floats the watch dial and bezel within the larger case on a spring system. This is affixed from the four screws in each corner which are clear in the photos, but on wrist, are practically subdued in appearance within the brushed finish of the rest of the case. The push-pull crown is a bit small to grab ahold of, but works easily. As typical with the Sellita it hacks, hand winds, and has a quick set date. However, with only 100 meters of water resistance, it certainly is less than one would expect from this quality of a watch.
The bracelet is amazing with screw links for easy adjustment. Each link is more in a half-link style with incredible articulation making the fit and adjustment easy to fine tune. The butterfly deployent clasp is a dream to operate with a hidden half link extension that can pop out from the segment with the Formex logo. The bracelet is designed with a quick release system that you can squeeze with your finger tips and it automatically retracts the spring bars to smoothly and easily release the bracelet for the 20mm strap change. Formex advertises that it is a do-it-all watch that can go from dress to sport with a simple strap change. Their custom quick release leather or rubber strap is closed with their proprietary Carbon Fiber Composite Folding Clasp. The clasp has a hidden sliding micro adjust that works when the clasp is closed to give an additional 4mm of play from the watch strap holes. When you purchase the strap, you are required to provide your wrist size to get the right fit.
The indices and hands all have some form of blue lume that appears to be a Super Luminova product. I have to say, it is not a strong lume and does not appear to last for a great while especially compared to a Seiko or Tudor. Overall the 39mm case though is an incredible fit (and I included a comparison size photo of my 40mm Seiko Alpinist for a sense of scale)
Now I mentioned this is a birthday present to myself. I bought this early and the big day still has not come yet. However, I couldn't wait and with this excellent watch on the wrist for a week now, it's been a joy to add to the collection. At roughly $1400 its well worth the expense and is probably undervalued compared to what you get. A highly speced-out watch with incredibly unique engineering and design in each aspect. It is definitely worth considering.
Emerging watch enthusiast. I know just enough to be dangerous to my bank account. Small town kid, joined the military, stuck with it for 21 years, stayed in defense. Greater DC area.