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Formex Essence COSC | Watch Review

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Formex Essence

Formex Essence

The Formex Essence has been making a big splash in the watch community and it is easy to see why. Available with a COSC or standard Swiss Movement in all variations, the one we are looking at today is the Degrade or gradient dial. All versions look great but the COSC version is the big deal here, especially at a price of well under $1,500. Yes, a COSC certified watch for $1,265. Not only that, but these watches have bracelets and straps that are interchangeable in a few simple steps, no tools required and the same goes for the buckles and clasps, quick-adjusting extensions on both the bracelet or straps. Yes, there is a lot to like about the Essence collection.

Formex Essence

Formex Essence Specifications:

  • Diameter: 43mm
  • Height: 10mm
  • Lug width: 22mm
  • Lug-to-lug: 49mm
  • Case Weight 80 grams
  • Weight with Bracelet 166 grams
  • COSC Certified Sellita SW200-1
  • Sapphire Crystal front and back
  • 100m Water Resistant

Price (On bracelet) $1,265 USD.

Pricing on straps is lower, check the website for details.

*Special deal that runs till the end of 2019*

Using the links below, get a free strap with the purchase of ANY Formex watch except for preorders. Click the country-specific links below and add a watch to the cart and then add a free strap of your choice. Any Formex model, including the Essence. See the video review for more details.

For USA/Canada: https://bit.ly/2pcaMd8
For Switzerland: https://bit.ly/32J7prL
For the UK: https://bit.ly/35079Gs
For all other countries: https://bit.ly/351nSZT

Formex Essence

The Formex Essence is quite a departure from the watches the brand has produced in the past, though many of the newer Formex Watches are a departure. Yes, there are a few of the racing-inspired pieces left on their website, but the days of the old Formex seem to be gone. Now, to some, that may not be good news. I am not sure what side of the line I am on, but I do enjoy what Formex is currently doing. The Essence still retains the shock-resistant suspension case that they have been using since 1999, but it is not as in your face or noticeable as in many of their past models. It is not apparent at all here. When I first received the Essence I had to press down on the case to see if it had it. When you go over to the Formex website you can see this in action (or in my video), but the in your face pistons are gone and replaced with something much more subtle.

Formex Essence

Another departure here is the size of the Essence. At 43mm and a svelte 10mm thick, this is not the chunky and large Formex I used to own. I go back and forth between wearing 42mm watches that are not above 12mm thick and 45mm beasts that are 18mm thick like the Breitling Seawolf, so I am all over the map. I do appreciate the thinness of the Essence though. It is a great watch for most occasions and does slide right under a cuffed shirt or jacket. I don’t believe this watch is intended as a dress watch, but I certainly would have no issues wearing one for that occasion, or to the office, etc, especially in this configuration with the Degrade dial.

Formex Essence

Speaking of that dial, that is for sure one of the highlights of this version of the Formex Essence. The gradient dial is a beautiful hue of gray and black and depending on the light has hints of gold and cream, which is part of the beauty of a dial like this. This is no ordinary gradient dial though as Formex opted to add CNC horizontal lines to give it some extra pop. Add that with the applied chrome markers and the minimal text on the dial and this is a showstopper for me. Also, check out that date window-not just your run of the mill cut-out here.

Formex Essence

All of the straps and bracelets for the Formex Essence are interchangeable without the need for any tools. Please make sure to watch the video review as I do a full demonstration of all of this. If you have not watched the video, let me just sum it up and say that not only is everything easily interchangeable and adjustable, but the bracelet, rubber, leather and carbon and steel buckle are high quality. This is not your cheap, gimmicky quick-change strap and bracelet system being used here. The only tool you will need is a small flat head screwdriver for removing the links and fortunately, that is included in the packaging.

Formex Essence

Now, obviously with the model, I have in hand, one of the big selling points is the COSC Movement. I have written about the COSC many times here on watchreport,  but for anyone that is not familiar, you can read up about it HERE.  The big deal here is not only the testing and achieved accuracy of the SW200-1 Movement (over a week I have clocked it at +3 seconds per day, which is firmly in line with the mean daily rate), but the fact you are getting this certified movement in a watch at this price. COSC Quartz watches from the Swatch Group are usually in this price range, so getting an automatic is a nice upgrade for sure. On top of that, you, of course, get to see the movement and the customized rotor through the exhibition case back of the Formex Essence.

Formex Essence

Formex has pulled out all the stops for the Essence and it shows. I followed the release of this watch last year and all the marketing beforehand, so I have been waiting for quite a while to get one of these in hand. I knew a lot about this watch going into it, but with the release of this Degrade dial and the with all the adjustability of the strap and buckle systems, I have to say I was blown away with just how much Formex has done to this model. Pricing and value are always subjective but I am really surprised that this watch does not retail for closer to $2000. Formex will sell more at a lower price, but if these watches were priced at $2000, they would still be a bargain. The Essence looks good, the strap and bracelets have been well thought out and overall I like the new direction that FOrmex seems to be heading.

Formex Essence


I've been an avid watch lover since the age of 7. Watches are not only my hobby but a passion. My favorite style used to be dive watches, but field or non bezel watches have been growing on me. When I'm not reviewing watches I am either cooking or with family and friends.

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