Since its rebirth in 2019, Formex hasn’t ceased to impress the independent horological community. Its initial new release was the Essence 43mm in 2019, closely followed by a 39mm version the year after. Since then, the Essence collection has grown a lot, with dials made of meteorite, malachite, and mother-of-sky. Furthermore, the Leggera sub-family made a splash (pun intended), given its forged carbon and ceramic case. In other words, lightweight and durable materials make the Leggera the perfect sporty—yet elegant—companion.

It was only a matter of time before Formex would release a more playful iteration of the Essence, displaying bold, ultra-summery colors. That’s what we are taking a look at today with the Essence SPLASH coming on both the 39mm and 43mm Leggera chassis. 

The Formex Essence Splash

Formex was intentional in naming this new collection SPLASH: five new colorways, each offering unique hues and tones. One can choose between what the brands refer to as sunflower yellow, jungle green, sunset orange, baby blue, and lavender purple. Some colors display neon-like tones, while others are more pastel. A sandy matte texture, a result of the unique production process, complements these colors. Formex, you see, makes its dials in their manufacture located in the Jura mountains. (To better understand the breadth of the brand’s capabilities, I refer you to Thomas’s review of the Reef Radian Bronze.) In a nutshell, each dial is hand-sprayed, and the horizontal lines are CNC machined. This unique combo accounts for the vibrancy of the colors and unique texture on the dials. 

The brand also went as far as perfectly color-matching the date discs to the dial colors. A detail that is important to some of us watch enthusiasts. (Yes, I mean me and perhaps you.) Furthermore, the brand matched the bracelet options to the dial and case colors, creating a colorful wrist-mounted harmony. For example, the 39mm Essence can be had with color-matched leather or rubber straps in addition to the stainless steel bracelet. The 43mm Leggera can be had with NATO-style fabric straps—I believe this is a first for the Essence—enhancing its sportive nature. Or one can opt for a leather or rubber strap, all equipped with the brand’s proprietary quick-adjust carbon fiber deployant clasp. 

All About the Colors and Textures

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Essence 39, which quickly became my GADA watch. In the article, I talked about how I find the dial legible and easy on the eye. Although it comes with horizontal CNC-machined lines and a vertical brushing, reading the time feels like second nature. Granted, the classic Essence 39 has a blue dial and silver finish on the hands and applied markers. For the new collection and to preserve the dial legibility, Formex opted for a gunmetal finish on the said hands and applied markers. In other words, darker tones make them pop from the splashy dials. This combo looks good on both models, although best on the Leggera as it matches the darker tones of the case materials.  

Final thoughts

Besides the splashy colors, the Essence is also a precise and well-made timepiece. Whether looking at the classic in 39mm or the Leggera in 43mm, both are powered by the COSC Sellita SW200-1 caliber. The latter beats at 28,800 BPH (4Hz) and has 38 hours of power reserve. If you haven’t noticed, both models have Formex’s patented case-suspension system. A true innovation that I’ve found helpful more than once. Other specs include 100 meters of water resistance, push/pull crown, screw-down see-through case-back, and BGW9 lume on the hands and hour markers. The Essence 39 measures 39mm in diameter, 45mm long, 10mm thick, and has a lug width of 20mm. The Leggera measures 43mm in diameter, 49mm long, 11mm thick, and has a 22mm lug spacing. 

Both models are readily available on the brands’ website with immediate shipping. Regarding pricing, the Essence 39 ranges between €1410–1540, and the Leggera 43mm can be had for €1650–1790, depending on the strap option.