Formex is continuing in its efforts to be one of the very best brands out there. The brand offers not only novel design, but exceptional quality with real innovation. (To wit, the brand’s Essence line has a case suspension system and the Reef diver offers an interchangeable bezel). As yet, the brand has produced models that will run you over $1,000, but its newest offering brings a number of changes, including a more affordable price tag.
The all-new Formex Field affords the same fundamentals as the Reef and the Essence: sharp lines, great build quality, and a solid dial. That’s all good and well, but the Field also diverges quite a bit from its siblings: there’s no bracelet option, it features a non-chronometer movement, and the case is titanium instead of steel. It’s all in service of durability, utility, and accessibility, and it all comes together quite nicely.
On the Wrist
As is critical for any field watch, the Formex Field dial offers excellent legibility in all conditions. The lume is excellent and the recessed markings add just the right amount of depth. Field watches were initially designed for World War I soldiers to wear in the trenches, and as such, often include a 24-hour scale, usually in a smaller font and aligned with the interior of the larger hour markers. Formex has gotten rid of those excess numerals in the name of cleanliness, and this writer finds the watch better for it.
The Field is offered on the Velcro strap pictured up top and a leather strap (pictured in the Case and Strap section). The Velcro is exceptionally comfortable, and I encourage you to give it a chance before you pass judgment. On the wrist, the Velcro affords a snug fit regardless of wrist shape, while the stock leather strap (and most others you may attach) will be more influenced by the contours of your wrist. At any rate, the dimensions and lightness of the Field’s titanium case should make it an easy wear.
The way the upturned chapter ring catches the light is magic. If you’re still wondering how a 41mm watch wears this well, it’s also some kind of magic. Due to its lug-to-lug, thin profile, and lightness, if often closer to 39 or 40mm.
The Formex Field’s dial doubles down on the modernity of the case, pushing the entire design well into near-futuristic territory. The brushed syringe handset fits well with the angular case. While the handset lume is the same as the dial, differences in application result in a slightly lighter appearance in the hands. The Field also features a concave dial which curves up at the chapter ring to aid with legibility.
The near-future vibe gets stronger with the Blade Runner-esque font. While at a glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a sandwich dial, the hour markings and corresponding pips are in fact recessed, adding subtle dimensionality to the dial. As mentioned, the Formex Field gets rid of the 24-hour scale often present on Field watches, and the result is a simpler dial that’s easier to read. If you feel you need such a scale for some reason, I’d encourage you to simply do the math.
The dial features a subtle texture that warms things up and plays well against the smoother lume. I really like how the hour pips are integrated into the chapter ring, and even more so, how the lollipop seconds matches the pips in size. And I feel I hardly need to mention how great the date window is. It’s positioned perfectly at 6, along the same arc as the hour markers, with a very intentional slope that shows you it wasn’t even close to an afterthought.
People take issue with the use of Old Radium lume for two reasons: it has a has a lower maximum brightness than, say, C3 or BGW9, and it’s often used to convey a vintage aesthetic. Happily, neither of those issues apply here. First, when taking the font and case design into consideration, it’s clear Old Radium wasn’t selected for any vintage look, but rather to complement the dial colors, (including an absolutely gorgeous shade called Petrol Blue). Second, and more importantly, the lume charges quickly and shines brightly, and there’s only a slight difference between the handset and the recessed markers, and certainly not one that causes issues. QED.
Case and Strap
This Formex is quite different from its siblings, with softer lines, less defined edges, and, of course, a titanium case devoid of any polishing. The Field still retains some of the clean, angular DNA of the Reef and the Essence, though. The case will in fact be slightly lighter than in these photos, as Formex opted for increased hardening treatment to increase the hardness of the grade 2 titanium to 900 Vickers (from its usual 145). The screwdown crown—which is perfectly sized and functions well—is also made of the same titanium, with the same hardening treatment.
The caseback has a honeycomb grid pattern that I feel reinforces the futuristic look of this field watch. It seems like a representation of an idea coming together, with the Formex logo at center. Note the quick-release tabs on the strap for easy swaps. The lug box also slopes in towards the case, allowing for a bit of extra room for straps—something that the Essence model does not afford. And just so you know, the Velcro strap attaches to one end with a quick release tab, and loops through the other like a NATO strap, requiring a spring bar; its end is capped with a plastic cap to prevent fraying.
Here’s the awesome deployant buckle, which can be easily swapped among Formex’s straps (or, potentially others). The strap connection is titanium, but the rest is carbon. You may see a small button under the ‘O’, which allows you to adjust the length of the clasp via their patented microadjustment mechanism, allowing for 7mm of adjustment. I will say—maybe just for the sake of finding something to criticize—that the leather strap, while not feeling cheap, does have an odd, almost artificial feel. I can’t explain further as I know next to nothing about leather.
This is one of those reviews where I don’t write anything bad and worry that people will read it and think I’m a shill. I hope you know better. This is just a solid watch. You may not like it. You may not like the design. You may not like the strap options. Maybe you’re really weird and don’t like the Blade Runner font, in which case, shame on you.
Here’s the deal, though: this is a great watch and a great field watch. It’s a fresh take with good design, and it’s a chance to get into Formex more affordably than ever. Available in six colors, each with its own preferred strap, there’s something for everyone to love with the Formex Field. Go check it out.
Check out more field watch reviews at The Watch Clicker
Check out the Formex website
Formex Field Specs
*Height of the watch from the wrist to the top of the crystal