Thursday, December 1, 2022


About a year ago, I started, what I thought was going to be a great idea, the Canadian Watch Guild. I had contacted nearly every Canadian watch company I could think of. I received positive replies from most of them, including Marathon. The goal was to establish a community of watch creators that could help each other and foster the Canadian Watch Industry. Similar to what the British Alliance is doing.

You have likely heard the expression “The rising tide lifts all ships”, unfortunately; this is not how it was received. No matter how much effort I put into the project, no one was willing to lend a hand. I had no stake in the game and was putting in hours. Everyone was fine with me promoting their brands and generating awareness, but no one wanted to actively participate. I also heard that there was grumblings of helping the competition.

The long-term goal was to eventually do pop-up shows within Canada, where companies could feature their wares, perhaps even make it a travelling show to the major cities across Canada. Sadly, I was unable to properly convey the “big picture” and I ultimately gave up. The Instagram profile is still up and occasionally I post some Canadian content, but there are a few positives have come from my efforts.

One of these positives is my friendship with Chris Lew (@islandofmisfitwatches on IG), who happens to be the man with the plan behind Canister Watches (@canister_watches). At the time, he was in mid-Kickstarter campaign and I like to believe, our efforts helped push the project over the edge.  The watches are fully produced now and there are happy customers all over the globe. The following is my review of Canister’s first watch, the Fieldmaster.




The fully brushed case is made of 316L stainless steel and is unlike any other micro-brand case. In fact, you will find there is very little, if anything, that is similar to other brands. The case measures 41mm in diameter, 50mm lug to lug and 12mm thin, with a 20mm lug width. I have hear many use the term “goldilocks” when stating measurements like these and they are not wrong. This size is right in the sweet spot for many.

The case back is screwed down, with a neat circular engraving, which is meant to look like the base of an artillery shell. The rings represent the primer and the details surrounding are about the watch instead of the projectile. Those details include the water-resistance rating (200m), the lot number, the Canister logo and a maple leaf. The latter detail is a really nice touch. Overall the case is very unique looking and hard to describe, thankfully, we have pictures for that.

The crown is screwed-down and has the most amazing knurling. It looks like diamond plating, but itty-bitty. You would think it would be rough on the fingers, but it is not. Just enough bite to make it a breeze to operate, but not enough to chew up your fingers. The same pattern can also be found on the edge of the bezel, but I will get to that in the next segment. A couple of other things I really appreciate are the lug holes and the straight end opening. This makes most straps look fantastic!

The bezel is one of the features that really shines on the Fieldmaster. The aforementioned knurling on the edge is sweet perfection to manipulate and I swear, the bezel feels so rock solid and precise, I would think it is on a watch with an extra zero in the price tag! It does not feel like a regular click-spring mechanism, but rather ball bearing mounted, like a Damasko or Monta (or others priced even higher). How is that even possible?

The insert is ceramic and sits remarkably flush with the bezel hardware and the sapphire crystal. You really have to see this in person to see how perfectly level it all is. The overall look of the bezel, with its thin surface lends itself well to the field watch design, while still being dive watch capable. Not too many companies can straddle these too genres this well. Kudos to the designer.





The dial on my review subject is blue, a dark vibrant color, which is unlike the metallic blue you so often see on many watches these days. In the dark you can still see that it is blue, it does not turn to black, but rather a darker shade. Like many field watches, there are two sets of numeral markings. The larger one for hour markings and smaller, inner one for minute markings. This gives it a very military look.

The 3 o’clock numeral is replaced by the date cut-out and the hour markers beyond the numerals are lumed (C3). Most are lume dots, except for the meridian points, which are triangular. The Canister logo, which looks a lot like Bill Cipher from Gravity Falls (not a bad thing), is prominent under the 12 numeral and the only other word on the dial is AUTOMATIC right above the 6.

The hands are flat polished steel and suit the watch very well. Despite personally preferring polished hands and the reflections they give off, I wonder if white painted hands would have been better suited for this military no-nonsense design.  Either way, they are plenty long enough for the dial, something many watch brands fail, and are super easy to read.


The movement beating life into the Fieldmaster is the venerable Miyota 9015. I have owned many watches with this caliber and it has quickly become my favorite Japanese movement. Not only does it perform well, it is very easy to set. I have found with Seiko (NH) movements, you have to fiddle with them several times before you get a perfect line up with the hash marks. Yes, I am one of those people! With the 9015, you do it once and boom, all lined up.

Brand:   Miyota (Citizen)
Caliber: Number 9015
Movement Type: Automatic
Jewels: 24
Linges: 11.5”’
Diameter: 26mm
Height: 3.9mm thick
Vibrations Per Hour: 28,800 bph
Shock System: Parashock
Power Reserve: 42 hours
Lift Angle: 51 degrees
Hacking: Yes
Hand-Windable: Yes
Rotor Winding Direction: Clockwise (uni-directional)

Credit: Caliber Corner © 2022, Source: https://calibercorner.com/miyota-caliber-9015/ 

Mine has been performing very well, but do not just take my word for it, check out the Watch Accuracy Meter screen capture! Very impressive numbers out of the box! Honestly, with performance like this and ease of operation, do you really need a Swiss Movement?






Let us start with the great and that is the clasp! Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU Canister for not going with the giant, clunky and out of place clasp most micro brands use. You know the one. The one with the terrible double push-button extension that most try to pass on as micro-adjustment, but looks horrible when open from the sides. Instead, this one is a milled clamp shell with, get this, six holes for micro-adjustments!

Beginning of rant. (in the voice of Lewis Black) Sliding push-button extensions are overrated. Do I like them, sure, do I need them, absolutely not. Neither do most of you! On the fly adjusting because you are bloated my butt! 10 years ago, no one needed these things and we were just fine enjoying our watches. Ever see someone at a restaurant take off their watch and adjust it because they had a salty meal? No. You see them adjust their belt and that is it. Besides, just like electronic seats in a car, give people too many options, you spend half your time fiddling with it and trying to get the right comfort and you are never happy. End of rant.

As for the bracelet links themselves, they are fully brushed and tape from 20mm at the lugs to 18mm at the clasp. They are sized by split pins, which is pretty easy to size and quite common for watches in this price category. And then we come to the not so great part of the bracelet, the male end-links. These bad boys bring the overall length from 50mm to nearly 60mm. Now they do curve down considerably and this does help with the fitting, but it is too long in my opinion. A straight end link would have been perfect. Having said all this, seems to fit fine on my 7.5” wrist, but on anything smaller than 7”, a strap would likely fit better.

I was fortunate enough to receive the Fieldmaster with a tropic style rubber strap, which looks and feels fantastic and a very impressive NATO strap, with matching hardware. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of NATO straps, never have been, but for those that enjoy them, I believe they will be impressed with its quality. The rubber feels like silicon and is extremely supple. If the bracelet had not worked on me, I would likely have chosen the latter for my every day wear.


For those of you that are familiar with my reviews, you will know that I rarely, if ever, talk about packaging. Most of my watch boxes clutter my closet and are a source of contention with the wifely unit. However, Canister has you covered, as it does not come in a box per say, but a well… a canister! A brown tube, which seems to be half the length of a Pringles can, that opens from either end.

Inside the canister was a waxed canvas watch roll, with leather hardware. Once unfolded, you have four watch spots. One for the watch, two for the extra straps and I used the last one to store the MANY extra links. When I say MANY extra links, I mean I had to remove six of them to fit my aforementioned 7.5” wrist. So even a Canadian Sasquatch should be able to wear this one without needing more links. Anyway, back to the watch roll. What a welcome way to receive a watch. Not only is it super cool, it will be functional and will not just collect dust and ire from my wife.


Have you noticed how I have gone nearly 1700 words without ever mentioning the price? I did that on purpose, as I was saving the best detail for last. Canister is selling the Fieldmaster for 399$, yes, you read that correctly, three ninety-nine! In addition, that is in Canadian funds! At today’s exchange, it would be 297$ in USD and get this, shipping is included!

I know, I know, I was a little liberal with the exclamation marks, but seriously, if that is not a bargain, I do not know what is. I bet it would be spectacular on one of those 20-30$ Amazon shark-mesh bracelets, so if the end-links are an issue, who cares! You are getting so much watch here, that if you want to try other bracelet or strap options, there should still be plenty left in the piggy bank to do so.

I honestly cannot think of a better value proposition right now than this Canister Fieldmaster. You get everything you would ever need in a field watch with dive watch capabilities. Sapphire crystal, ceramic bezel, bulletproof movement, excellent build quality. I mean, what else could you ask for?

What are you doing still reading this review? Go to the Canister website and get one for yourself now!


Friday, July 22, 2022


It is no secret that I have a soft spot to Formex watches. Especially after having reviewed their Essence model and interviewed their CEO, Raphael Granito. In a world of Rolex clones and wannabes, Formex has created something truly special. A homologous design language of their own. Even at a glance, you can easily recognize a Formex from a distance. Last year Formex launched the REEF, their newest dive watch and they continue to do their thing, their way… the Formex way!

The REEF does not look like any other dive watch. While some feel it borrows a few slight design cues from others, I say some of their choices came through organically. You know what they say about great minds. They think alike. Despite being over a year late with this review, how about we plunge right in.




The REEF’s case measures 42mm in diameter and only 11.4mm thick, but this does not accurately describe how this watch fits. Its short 47mm lug to lug measurement, along with its downward pointing male end-links make it a joy to wear. Even on smaller wrists. Some may not like its case protrusion on the 9 o’clock side, but you cannot deny it adds perfect visual symmetry. 

I have heard people say it borrows this characteristic from the Patek Philippe Nautilus, yet so many brands mimic this design and some quite successfully. Laventure watches come to mind, so does the Scrufa Treasure Seeker. The way I see it, if you are trying to accomplish visual symmetry and balance, that is how the design would organically develop. Besides, I can think of worse things than being compared to an iconic Gerald Genta design. 

The case is nearly fully brushed stainless steel, except for the beveled top edges, which are polished to a high shine. The cased back is slick and completely brushed, with a very tasteful wave engraving and their new logo, though not so new by the time you read this (my bad). If you look very carefully, you will find lines demarking the back of the lugs against the rest of the case. The latter need not be there, but it is as tiny little detail that adds refinement and care. It is exceptionally well crafted; you can tell a lot of thought went into this watch. 

The crown is enormous, with plenty of grip and sits perfectly between its form fitting guards. You would think a crown this size; with this much purchase would leave marks on the back of ones wrist or hand. It does not. The whole case just sits so perfectly on the wrist and as Formex mentions on their site, the wearing thickness is just under 10mm. That is astonishing considering this watch is fully water-resistant to 300m. 




If you recall, a little earlier I mentioned the word symmetry. There is more evidence of this when it comes to the dial. With the date centered at 6 o’clock and the hour markers all equal in length, except for the double up at twelve, which is larger. Each precisely executed hour marker is sloped towards the center of the dial and is a luxurious mix of brush and polish, a la Grand Seiko. This is a master class in dial balance and would you look at that, half way through the review and already been compared to Patek Philippe and Grand Seiko.

Just as on the Essence, the date aperture is beautifully scalloped, which has now become a continuous Formex design element. Speaking of the date window. Please have a close look at the pictures and see if you can spot what I have discovered. The date wheel is white print on a green disk; however, the color does not match the dial. What a shame, but au contraire, it is not a shame! Look very carefully. The disc color actually matches the base of the ceramic bezel embossing! When I first noticed this, I was smiling from ear to ear. I am not 100% sure this was intentional and/or perhaps this is limited to the all green model, but I absolutely love it. 

The hands is where I have a small issue and it has to do with just that, they are small or rather short. Nothing really wrong with the hour hand and the second hand is fine as well, but I would have much preferred the minute hand reach the outer minute track. There is so much dial real estate; I see no reason why it is so short. Now, having said this, when the minute hand does reach the hour markers, it is a thing of beauty. Maybe the slanted hour markers did not permit the minute hand to be any longer. I had not thought of that until I just typed that out. Criticism aside, just like the hour markers, they are a mix of brush and polish, and look like they would be at home on a Grand Seiko. There’s that brand again. 

The new logo on the dial looks amazing and the minimal dial text is equally perfect. Once again, have a look at the symmetry and balance. The brand name and the model name are exactly the same length.  The word CHRONOMETER and SWISS MADE also look like they are the same width. These little, insignificant details may not seem like much, but they aid at being pleasing to the eye. Studies have shown that humans perceive symmetrical faces as more attractive. I believe someone at Formex understands this very well.



What can I say about this bezel that has not already been said. It is a work of art and it must have been a pain the rear end to develop. High-tech ceramic is not the easiest to work with, never mind making an embossed gradient scale. The impression in person is remarkable and the contrast between the raise polished numerals vs. the lower mat bottom is equally impressive. I was worried that the similar colors would wash out the numerals, but I was worried for nothing. It is difficult enough to get good impressions from pictures online and videos on YouTube. In person, it is absolutely fantastic.

Unfortunately, the bezel action on mine left much to be desired. It was perfectly centered, barely had any play, but it felt very spongy and for some reason, it left a “cheap” feeling behind when using it. I have had more than one-person comment on this when turning it. Now, mine is one of the original REEF models, so I do not have the newest version with interchangeable bezels. I have a feeling that instead of just improving the action, Formex went out and made them interchangeable. That is what I have come to expect from this company. Why just fix something when you can completely improve it and add some new customization. 


This is a picture of their new GMT model, with SW330
Same movement in REEF diver, without the GMT module
Shown here as example of Formex finishing

The movement in the REEF is the chronometer certified Selitta SW300, which is a clone of the ETA2892. I know all about the debate of in-house movements vs. plug-in play movements like this one. Sure, it would be super cool to have a new in-house Formex movement, but how cool will it be when you need to get it serviced and the only people qualified to handle it are in Switzerland. I have no issues with using a Selitta or ETA movement. Especially this one, as many high-end brands have been using it for years. Ulysse Nardin, Omega, IWC, Breitling (actually Breitling uses the ETA 2824/Selitta SW200) and so many others costing thousands more. 

This movement is nothing to sneeze at. It is robust. It is slim. It is easy and inexpensive to have serviced. In addition, best of all, it is accurate and consistent. I hate the expression “proven workhorse”, but that is exactly what this movement is. My REEF has been +2sec/day and it has never faulted. 

The big “in thing” these days is power-reserve. ETA slowing down their beat rate to gain 80hrs of reserve for their proprietary brands. Oris has their new 120hrs Cal 400. Tudor has their 70hrs movements. Even Seiko has upped theirs, but here is the question; do we really need such power-reserves? Alternatively, are larger numbers just selling points? Look at me, look at me, mine is bigger! In well over 30+ years of collecting, I have never said I wish I had more power-reserve. Besides, if my watch has stopped after a couple of days, BONUS, I get to interact with it more than just strapping it on. Perhaps it is just me… 




I thought the bracelet on the Essence model was absolutely outstanding and I did not think Formex could outdo themselves. Yet they did! Not only did they outdo themselves, but they also outdid most of the industry. The fully brushed bracelet is 22mm at the lugs and tapers down to 20mm at the clasp. All the individual links are fully articulated and standard screw bars are utilized for sizing. It is a rather thin bracelet, which adds to the wearing comfort. If you have never held or worn Formex watch, you are in for a treat, there is nothing like it. 

The clasp is pure magic. I could just stop there, as that is an accurate description, but after 1500+ words, why should I start being concise now. It is solid and closes tight. It has dual push-button activation and it is relatively short. It is hard to believe, looking from the rear that underneath the shell, there is a push-button micro-adjust system. Would you also believe it has 10mm worth of play, to make dialing in the perfect fit a breeze? 

Between the micro-adjustments and the short links, if you cannot obtain the right fit, I just may have to fly over there and smack you upside the head. In other words, you are not doing it right. On a side note, I have now seen similar clasps on other watches, most recently on the new Montblanc Iced Sea dive watch. As stunning as the latter watch is in person, it is also 1340$ USD more expensive, has the same depth rating and its movement is not chronometer grade/rated.  



Formex remains at the top of their game, having introduced a new field watch and most recently a GMT version of the REEF. I personally love the back/blue bezel on white dial. In fact, it is taking everything I have to keep me from clicking the PRE-ORDER NOW button. Formex really knows how to execute a while dial. Here is a picture of the one I would want.

By blackening the hands and markers, you illuminate the wash out effect you would normally get on a while dialed watch, but I digress. I am here to talk about the standard dive version of the REEF. If you are looking for a fun, well built, well thought out design, with supreme comfort and usability, look no further. The REEF just may be the dive watch you are looking for (Jedi hand wave). 

In all seriousness, I am so happy for my friend Raphael and Formex, for what they have accomplished in such a short amount of time. The future is so bright and while, for now, you may not have the same brand “cachet” while wearing a Formex, you will however be wearing a watch that you can be exceedingly proud of.