As somebody who has pretty skinny wrists, I used to be fairly excited to listen to that Formex was going to create a smaller model of its fan-favorite Reef dive watch. Between trendy preferences trending in the direction of more and more compact case sizes and the recognition of dive watches as a complete, a smaller Reef merely makes loads of sense. Nevertheless, after I discovered precisely what Formex was planning for the “Child” Reef, I used to be considerably skeptical about how it might really come collectively as a whole bundle on the wrist. Somewhat than simply cutting down the unique 42mm Reef, one of many model’s objectives when creating the brand new Formex “Child” Reef 39.5mm Automated COSC 300M was to retain the identical 22mm lug width because the full-size mannequin in order that house owners may benefit from the huge ecosystem of straps and bracelets which might be already out there for the Reef assortment. I usually say that folks base an excessive amount of of their opinion on case dimensions, and the brand new “Child” Reef is an ideal instance of how on-paper specs solely inform a part of the whole story.
Making a smaller model of a watch looks like a reasonably simple job, though it’s accompanied by way more nuances and obstacles than most individuals would count on. For instance, except the timepiece makes use of a bespoke caliber, lowering the diameter of a watch is sort of at all times simpler than shrinking its thickness, as a big a part of a watch’s peak is set by its inner motion. Equally, proportionally shrinking a watch down in each dimension attainable additionally doesn’t at all times yield passable outcomes, as the identical particulars that promote a snug on-wrist expertise for the full-size mannequin can find yourself making the smaller model appear a bit too dainty, or lead to parts like bezels and crowns which might be too small to simply function. Efficiently making a smaller model of a watch requires revisiting all of its dimensions and proportions, which makes Formex’s aim of retaining the lug width the identical on the brand new 39.5mm “Child” Reef much more formidable.
Whereas the full-size Formex Reef diver has a case that measures 42mm in diameter by 47mm lug-to-lug with an general thickness of 11.4mm, the brand new “Child” Reef is available in at 39.5mm in diameter by 45.5mm lug-to-lug, and its peak has additionally been barely decreased all the way down to 11mm. Whereas the brushed and polished chrome steel case of the Formex “Child” Reef is objectively thinner when it comes to its on-paper specs, the altered proportions imply that it finally ends up feeling barely taller on the wrist when in comparison with the broader case of the full-size mannequin. As you’ll count on, a flat sapphire crystal (with anti-reflective remedy on the underside floor) sits above the dial, a strong screw-down caseback closes up the reverse facet of the watch, and a signed screw-down crown sits between two angular guards on the 3 o’clock location to assist assure the Reef assortment’s 300 meters of water resistance. Equally, surrounding the crystal is the Reef’s signature interchangeable bezel with a 60-minute insert in both chrome steel or ceramic, and just like the full-size mannequin, the bezel may be eliminated with out the usage of any instruments and swapped out for alternate variations that Formex sells individually on its web site.
For probably the most half, the brand new Formex “Child” Reef 39.5mm Automated COSC 300M very a lot follows within the footsteps of the 42mm model, though to higher correspond with its extra compact case measurement, almost all the different parts on the watch have additionally been made smaller. For instance, the dimensions of the crystal has been decreased by a millimeter, the bezel has been made barely thinner, and even the winding crown has seen a measurement discount in comparison with what may be discovered on the full-size Reef diver. For the reason that bezel ring itself is smaller on the brand new Formex “Child” Reef, the interchangeable bezels is not going to be cross-compatible between the 2 completely different case sizes in the identical means that bezels may be swapped backwards and forwards between the Formex Reef GMT and the 42mm Reef dive watch. All of that being mentioned, because the new “Child” Reef is actually a smaller model of the unique, retaining the identical 22mm lug width stands out as a very daring determination, though it does enable the watch to make use of the identical straps and bracelets which might be out there for the remainder of the Reef assortment.
If I’m being fully trustworthy, I assumed that the 22mm lugs would really feel extremely out of proportion on the brand new Formex “Child” Reef 39.5mm Automated COSC 300M. Nevertheless, after getting an opportunity to expertise the watch within the metallic, the case-to-lug radio really works out fairly a bit higher than I had initially anticipated. Whereas the case of the “Child” Reef measures 39.5mm at its thinnest level, the crown guards and the protrusion on the 9 o’clock facet deliver the precise width of the case as much as roughly 43.5mm, and this helps to stop it from feeling like a cuff, the place the strap or bracelet is sort of the identical width because the watch itself. Personally, I nonetheless really feel that 20mm lugs would have been extra proportionally sized for the case of the “Child” Reef, though 22mm lugs on a 39.5mm case have the potential to be an absolute train-wreck on the wrist, and Formex has completed an excellent job of tweaking the proportions sufficient to mitigate what would possibly in any other case be an extremely awkward sporting expertise.
Other than being smaller, one different key distinction between the brand new Formex “Child” Reef 39.5mm Automated COSC 300M and its full-size counterpart is the quantity that the bezel ring hangs previous the perimeters of its case on the 6 o‘clock and 12 o‘clock sides. A small quantity of overhang can be current on the full-size mannequin, as that is the place you grip the interchangeable bezel once you need to take away it from the case; nonetheless, the quantity that the bezel extends previous the sting is noticeably extra pronounced on the brand new “Child” Reef. Whereas the extra overhang of the bezel makes it simpler to take away (doubtlessly even too straightforward for some preferences), it additionally ends in a barely much less cohesive general aesthetic in comparison with what may be noticed on the full-size 42mm mannequin. One different minor element to notice in regards to the particular instance of the “Child” Reef that was photographed for this text is that it’s a pre-production model with a prototype case tube that makes its winding crown stick out barely farther from the case. Whereas this can be a very minor element, I nonetheless suppose it’s value mentioning, and relaxation assured that the crown will sit correctly in opposition to the case on the ultimate manufacturing fashions.
Like the remainder of the watch (apart from its lug width), the dial and arms fitted to the brand new Formex “Child” Reef 39.5mm Automated COSC 300M are very a lot smaller variations of what may be discovered on the full-size Reef diver, and White, Blue, Inexperienced, and Silver are the dial colours out there for the brand new reduced-size mannequin. The arms and utilized triangular hour markers have been made barely shorter to correspond with the smaller measurement of the dial, whereas the beveled date window sits in its normal place on the 6 o’clock location. Equally, the ending on the arms and markers is identical as what may be discovered on the full-size mannequin, with vertical brushed high surfaces and mirror-polished bevels. As you’ll count on, all the arms and indexes (plus the zero marker on the bezel insert) are completed with Tremendous-LumiNova BGW9 to supply the “Child” Reef with the identical shiny blue-glowing show that exists on the full-size model of the watch.
Regardless of its smaller case measurement, the brand new 39.5mm Formex “Child” Reef is powered by the identical Sellita SW300-1 automated motion that the model makes use of contained in the bigger 42mm fashions, which implies that efficiency will likely be similar between the 2 completely different sizes of the Reef. Operating at a frequency of 28,800vph (4 Hz) with an influence reserve of roughly 56 hours, the Sellita SW300-1 could be very a lot a well-known design, though Formex makes use of the Chronometer Grade model of this common self-winding Swiss motion, which represents probably the most premium stage that’s out there. Together with benefiting from extra elaborate ending in comparison with the essential variations of this caliber, the Chronometer Grade Sellita SW300-1 additionally gives COSC-certified timekeeping efficiency, guaranteeing that the brand new “Child” Reef will run throughout the stringent requirements of -4/+6 seconds per day, like the remainder of the fashions from the better Formex Reef assortment.
For the reason that new Formex “Child” Reef 39.5mm Automated COSC 300M options the identical 22mm lugs as the remainder of the Reef fashions, all the bracelets and straps are cross-compatible for the 2 case sizes, and Formex gives the smaller 39.5mm Reef with all the similar choices that exist for its full-size 42mm dive watch. Alongside a black Nylon NATO strap are two-piece straps in both black rubber or Italian calf leather-based (black, brown, or crocodile print), and each choices are fitted with Formex’s carbon composite deployant clasp that features a patented 7mm fine-adjustment extension system. Alternatively, consumers can choose for a similar flat three-link chrome steel bracelet that can be fitted to the full-size Reef diver, and whereas the bracelet itself is objectively fairly good and can be my most popular configuration for the 42mm model of the Reef, I’d go for the rubber strap on the smaller 39.5mm “Child” Reef, merely because of the comparatively minimal quantity of taper provided by the bracelet.
With fully strong parts, single-sided screws for the detachable hyperlinks, built-in push-button connections on the lugs, and a patented 10mm incremental extension system constructed into its clap, the Formex Reef bracelet in the end leaves little or no to be desired. Nevertheless, because it solely tapers from 22mm on the lugs all the way down to 20mm on the backside of the wrist, the decrease half of the bracelet finally ends up feeling only a bit too large when paired with the comparatively compact case profile of the “Child” Reef. The large stance of the lugs will likely be partially mitigated by a strap with a extra pronounced taper, and since I’m already a fan of Formex’ carbon composite deployant clasp, I’d personally go for the rubber strap on the “Child” Reef, and this might be one of many uncommon cases the place I wouldn’t select the bracelet configuration for one in every of Formex’s watches. That mentioned, the bracelet itself could be very nicely made, and apart from wishing that it provided a extra dramatic taper, there’s really little or no I’d change about its general design and development.
For the reason that new Formex “Child” Reef 39.5mm Automated COSC 300M is actually a smaller model of the 42mm Reef diver, it prices the very same and is accompanied by an official retail value of $1,650 USD on a NATO, $1,800 USD for the leather-based strap model, $1,830 USD on a rubber strap, or $1,960 USD ought to consumers go for the chrome steel bracelet. Equally, the extra interchangeable bezels for the “Child” Reef additionally price the identical as their bigger siblings, and they’re every priced at $170 USD. Whereas I personally really feel that the unique 42mm model is the extra profitable expression of this explicit design, the smaller 39.5mm “Child” Reef in the end exceeds my expectations with regards to making a considerably smaller mannequin that’s nonetheless ready to make use of the identical straps and bracelets. Provided that Formex initially designed the Reef as a 42mm watch, the full-size model would nonetheless be my high advice between the 2 fashions. Nevertheless, the brand new “Child” Reef succeeds at providing similar options and far of the identical look in a noticeably extra compact general bundle. For extra info on the Formex “Child” Reef 39.5mm Automated COSC 300M, please go to the brand’s website.