And with the start of the new year, there is always the first watch to arrive on your desk. This year it was something new and rather funky. Upon opening the box, the bright green catches your attention instantly, followed by some odd shapes. Hello Formex Essence ThirtyNine.

To me, this brand is new and I’ve never had one in my hands before. And to be totally honest, at first sight, there was quite a lot going on. The bright green dial and interrupted bezel are the first things to notice and the latter is not something I generally like. However, after spending a bit of time with the Formex ThirtyNine and understanding the method behind its odd visage, I started to come around to the technology on display here.

Formex ThirtyNine Watch

Formex Essence ThirtyNine

But going past the first biased impressions it’s worth having a proper look at this watch. And by doing that you notice quite a few details which are actually quite likable. The case design is pretty straightforward yet well-executed. All of the larger surfaces have a brushed finish which is alternated with polished chamfered edges. Because of this, the case has the right amount of contrast.

Formex ThirtyNine Watch

What struck me was the interrupted bezel which looks a bit odd as the four screws really catch your eyes at first. So you start thinking why these screws are so integral to the design. Especially when you turn the watch around and see the ends holding a case back with eight more screws going in the other direction. This is when I got in touch with the brand owner for the technical info. 

Patented Case Suspension

This is where things get interesting. Without knowing how this watch is constructed, the screws raised an eyebrow. But when you learn about the patented case suspension system, they do make sense all of a sudden. Basically, the screws that you see in the front hold the lower, or inner, watch case with springs in-between. So basically the watch itself sits within the outer case and the springs allow it to move slightly up. This is done for extra protection for the movement and added comfort on the wrist. 

Formex ThirtyNine Watch Formex ThirtyNine Watch

The main issue with a lot of bracelets is that they still don’t have a micro-adjustment. Probably the main reason why I wear a lot of my watches on fabric straps. If I wear a watch on a bracelet I like it to be a bit on the loose side. But throughout the year even those can get a bit tight. Yes, we had a bit too much of a live life thing going on around Christmas. This patented case design also gives you that bit of extra stretch when you need it. Thus I can imagine how this technology will add comfort in the long run. 

Design details

On the dial you’ll find applied hour markers and an applied logo with minimalistic printing. The horizontal machined lines are combined with a vertical brushed finish. Combined with a printed minute track on the rehaut it gives a well balanced appearance. The date is nicely located at 6 o’clock and what I absolutely love are the chamfered edges on the left and right. As mentioned, the centre case moves within the outer case due to the patented case suspension system which can add a bit of comfort. And they managed to keep all of this within a minimalistic height of 10mm.

Formex ThirtyNine Watch

Repeating myself by saying 40mm is the perfect size for a watch and the further you move away, the harder I find it to appreciate a watch. This Formex with its 39mm case fits within my liking range. Although it actually looks smaller on the wrist. Something that can be a huge plus for people who are into smaller watches. Behind the open case back you’ll see the self-winding Sellita SW200-1 movement. It is fully decorated and comes with a Formex designed skeletonized rotor. The caliber itself comes with the COSC certification. This means the watch will run within +6/-4 seconds, or up to 10 seconds per day. and has a power reserve of about 38 hours. 

Formex ThirtyNine Watch

The quick-release

Something I really like about this watch is the quick-release on the bracelet. It’s really easy to take the bracelet off using two small sliding pins. Not something you see a lot in this price category. The only thing I don’t like is that the double folding clasp has to be closed in a certain order. While I understand that this makes the clasp look better, I simply don’t like this kind of construction. The bracelet itself is very well made with little play. And we learned that there is a micro-adjustment in the shape of a link which folds out next to the clasp. The finish combines well with the case of the watch as it is mostly brushed with polished beveled edges. 

Formex ThirtyNine Watch


Overall this watch is quite impressive in general. The build quality is definitely above par, especially when taking the price into consideration with what you actually get for it. What makes this watch absolutely different is the patented case system. Without having the ability to give it a long test run I could see how it can be useful. Yet I also wonder what happens if you encounter situations that involve things like sand. While saying that I realize that it has been ages since I’ve even been close to a beach. The Formex Essence ThirthyNine is definitely a big bang for the buck. Well made and value for money.

Watch specifications

Essence ThirtyNine
Case Material
Stainless Steel
Case Dimensions
Diameter: 39mm Height: 10mm Lug Width: 20mm Lug-to-lug: 45mm
Scratch resistant sapphire with anti-reflective coating on both sides
Case Back
Open case-back with sapphire crystal
Self-winding Sellita SW200-1, COSC certified
Water Resistance
100m /330ft
Stainless steel bracelet with double folding clasp
Time and date
€1,350 on steel bracelet or €1,245 on a strap