It has become sort of a tradition for me in December to look back on the past 12 months and share some ideas for the next year. It’s also a great opportunity for me to tell you how much I and the entire team here appreciate your ongoing support for Formex. As we refrain from expensive marketing campaigns and invest the money where it matters the most (the watch), the support of the watch community has been the key for us to grow in popularity and size. While we want to continue to be approachable and provide excellent, personal customer service, more watches sold means we can also be more creative in the product development and start to offer more colors, materials and sizes.
Milestones in 2022
With most restrictions being lifted, we were able to get face-to-face again with many of you. Watch fairs and in-person events are not just fun, but they are the only way for most of you to try on a Formex watch. With the amount of unique features and level of finishing our watches offer, it’s something we’d love to do moretoget your direct feedback on feel and functionality. Markus, our Marketing Director who’s based in California, hit it off in March with the District Time Show in Washington DC. I then joined him in April for the Windup Show in San Francisco and extended my trip with events and gatherings we organized with the local watchfams in Southern California and Austin, Texas. Read more about this trip here. For the first time, both Markus and I visited Chicago for the Windup Show in July, where we threw a fun Formex event with the local Redbar crew. I also exhibited at the WorldTimeUK London show in September, and then flew over the pond once again for Windup NYC which was as busy as it could get. The following two weeks were packed with shows and events in Düsseldorf (where we had a legendary Formex event that was our largest so far and turned into a full-blown party), Prague and Vienna.
New Watches and Accessories
We were able to launch more watches than ever during this year. In February, our sub $1000 Field Automatic 41 mm watch has been our most popular launch yet. Out of the six different colorful dials, the purple sold out the quickest. They’re back in stock now and ready to adorn more wrists. We were lucky to get a good number of customer reviews and YouTube reviews about the Field. We still stay true to our credo to heavily include your feedback in our product development. Both the1.5links for the Essence 39mm and 43mm steel bracelet as well as the smaller Essence Leggera 41 mm (customer reviews / YouTube reviews),are releases based on your requests. Another example for that is the interchangeable bezel that has been introduced with the 2nd generation Reef dive watches, as well as with the newly launched Reef GMT (customer reviews / YouTube reviews) launched inMay. On top of that, we also launched two Limited Edition watches; the Essence 39 mm Malachite, limited to 100 pieces annually, and the Essence 39 mm Space Rock and Essence Leggera 41 mm Space Rock Meteorite watches - both models sold out within less than a week.
Relocation of the Formex manufacture
With a growing number of staff and the insourcing of further production steps, we moved to a new building in Biel-Bienne. The new facility allows for further growth and gives space to a dedicated Formex showroom for customers who wish to visit us. The building was built by and is shared with Dexel SA, which is my family’s watch component manufacturing business that he’s been running since 1985. Having their engineering department right next to my office allows Formex to access resources that are usually only within reach of highly established and much larger watch manufacturers. I’m quoting Vincent Deschamps of Mainspring.Watch who wrote an excellent Profile about us: “This is unique and explains why Formex is on fire and sits at the perfect intersection of breakthrough engineering and unique design. By taking over Formex, Raphael saw the opportunity to showcase what he and his dad have been able to do for other brands for several decades.” For you, this means that you can look forward to many more unique watch designs, special materials and innovations that are always focused on their real practical value.
New trusted partners
When I took over Formex six years ago, I decided that a direct-to-consumer model would be the best fit for Formex and I’ve set prices accordingly. Those prices are in favor of you, the final customer, as they are based on production costs plus a fixed margin that is naturally lower compared to brands that mainly sell through brick and mortar stores. Over the last three years, we have shifted to a hybrid distribution model and you can now find Formex at selected retailers. All of them actively approached us and are genuinely interested in our watches, as they allow them to offer something unique and new to their customers. We’re incredibly excited to add SwissTime in Norway, LocalTime in Cyprus and ArizonaFineTime in Arizona, USA to our new trusted partners in 2022.
What’s next in 2023
This is likely the most exciting paragraph in this article, but also the one I can be least specific about. One thing that I do want to share is that I am very happy with the current lineup of watches that we have in stock right now.We are not planning on discontinuing any of the new-logo models in 2023. In terms of new releases for 2023, we plan on introducing one brand new model platform that completes our current collection, and we’ll also focus on building out the current collections with exciting new variants. Again, those decisions are heavily based on your feedback and it’s not too late to share it with us. Also, please continue to share your customer experiences with us and our team in reviews and within your watch community. We really appreciate those interactions and talking about us is one of the best ways you can support us.
One major challenge that I see in 2023 are the continuously rising prices from our suppliers and the strong Swiss Franc, that require us to adjust pricing on our end. As we did this year, when the time comes and we need to increase our pricing, we will let Newsletter subscribers and Formex Watch Club members on our Facebook Group know about it ahead of time.
That’s it for now. We hope to see you again next year at one of our shows and events. We have already confirmed our participation at DistrictTime in Washington DC and all three Windup shows in San Francisco, Chicago and New York. More shows and dates will be shared in the Newsletter and the Facebook Group. We also try to come out and meetup with local watch groups, so if you are a member of one and would enjoy having us around for an evening, please reach out in the live chat or via Email at email@example.com.
I wish you and your families Happy Holidays and a prosperous 2023. Again, thank you for your ongoing support!
(image by @watch.illuminator at Formex Event in Düsseldorf, 2022)