Formex is a newer Swiss watch manufacturer, founded in 1999. It’s a family-owned company, and it gets its name from French; “Formex” is short for “forme extreme,” which means “extreme shape.” The company is based in Biel/Bienne, which is a 30-minute drive from Neuch?tel, Solothurn, and Bern. This puts Formex in the heart of watchmaking country.
The company takes much of their inspiration from the world of racing. They’re most famous for their Case Suspension System, which absorbs shock to keep their movements more accurate. And while it might look bulky, it’s surprisingly comfortable to wear. When you see one of these watches, you know it’s something special.
Space Rock on wrist
In December 2022, Formex released the Essence Space Rock Limited Edition. This is a series of two watches, each with a run of only 88 pieces. Here’s a quick look at all three:
? The Essence ThirtyNine has a 316L stainless steel case, and a diameter of 39mm.
? The Essence Leggera FortyOne has a similar design, but a larger 41mm diameter. Despite being bigger, it’s a good 40% lighter than the ThirtyNine.
When Formex released the original 43mm Space Rock limited edition in April 2020, all 50 pieces sold out within a week. Unfortunately, something similar happened with both new Space Rock watches. If you want to buy one, it’ll have to be from another collector.
What Makes the “Space Rock” Special?
Macro of meteorite dial
“Space Rock” isn’t just a cool-sounding name; it’s a reference to what the watch is made of. The dial is crafted from meteorite iron, which has a pattern you can’t get on this earth.
The story begins millions or even billions of years ago, with the creation of a nickel-iron asteroid. The creation of this asteroid was very violent, enough that it began its life at very high temperatures. Over millions of years, it slowly cooled by a few hundred degrees centigrade. During this crucial temperature window, the extremely slow rate of cooling allowed the nickel and iron to form a crisscrossing pattern called a Widmanst?tten pattern. It’s impossible to create this pattern without cooling metal slowly over millions of years, which means you can only get it from a meteorite.
Also available on a rubber strap
This particular meteorite landed in northern Sweden approximately 458,000 years ago. It’s only recently been discovered, and the ground is frozen over for most of the year. This goes to explain how the metal is so rare, and why Formex was only able to get their hands on enough of it to produce a limited edition.
The iron was cut into a cylinder, which was treated, then cut into tiny slices that measure only 0.65mm thick. The cool thing about this is that each disc has its own unique pattern. No two of these watches are alike. In a sense, each timepiece is a limited edition of one.
A Reliable Timepiece
The Space Rock Limited Edition is powered by a Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement, with a 41-hour power reserve. This is the COSC-certified chronometer-grade version of the SW200-1, which is specially tuned and tested. Formex backs the watch with a 3-year warranty, which is more than long enough to ensure there are no defects.