Biotic Formicidae

Another new Kickstarter Project gets the once over from WRUK: this time, it’s the Biotic Formicidae – a twin-crown compass watch.

Biotic Formicidae Review

Coming to Kickstarter in June, the Biotic Formicidae has a trick up its sleeve: a second crown that can be used to rotate an internal bezel that contains a compass.

At a glance

Biotic Formicidae

$399USD (Kickstarter price)
Case size
Water Resistance
Miyota 9015

Of course, any watch can be used as a compass by pointing the hour hand at the sun. Indeed, it’s not the first compass-equipped watch I have reviewed (that honour goes to the Pole Compass Livid back in 2019). I highly doubt anyone is ever going to use the compass in anger, but nevertheless, it’s a cool design feature and – unlike the Pole – this compass bezel has an indication for North and can be rotated!

Case and Movement

The Biotic Formicidae is powered by the venerable Miyota 9015. This seems to be the movement of choice for microbrands, and I do prefer it at this price point to an ETA clone. It’s reliable, accurate and affordable – letting brands spend their money elsewhere.

In this case, Biotic has spent its money on the case. From the top, it looks rather innocuous – almost like a Rolex Explorer 1. Glance at the sides, and there is beautiful recessed detailing on either side of the twin crowns. Those crowns are perhaps the elephant in the room – they’re big and chunky, and even though Biotic intends to slightly change them in the production version (I show a picture in the video review below), I still think they’re a touch too big for my taste.

The case back is neither solid nor windowed, with a kind of stained-glass image imprinted onto the crystal. It’s not unattractive, but I would have preferred a closed case with a stamped design. But that’s just my view, your mileage may differ. Everything else is as you’d expect: the 316L steel, 39mm case is 12mm thick and topped with a sapphire crystal. The finish is absolutely fine for the money, and the watch wears really well.

Dial and Hands

The star of the show for me is the Biotic Formicidae dial: it’s made up of several concentric layers, the bottom of which is a stunning sunburst circle. I love the way the hour markers cut into the dial, and the outer bezel also looks great with applied features and crisp printing.

The date window at 6 keeps everything looking balanced, and it’s shaped just enough to make it blend in—10/10 for this dial’s looks. The hands are legible – and only the slightly-long minute hand (it’s being reduced to touch the chapter ring in the production models) spoils the symmetry.

Bracelet and Clasp

The solid link bracelet is comfortable to wear and easy to adjust, thanks to screwed links. Don’t be fooled by the “push here” arrows stamped on the inner links: I destroyed a bracelet sizing pin before realising! It’s also got a neat quick-release system that makes it a cinch to take it off. Lug holes help protect your straps should you choose to use one.

The only downside is that although the clasp is solid and secure, it has no micro adjustments, so you might not quite get the perfect fit. I like to see at least a link-and-a-half’s worth of adjustment at the clasp.

Biotic Formicidae – Video Review

What I Liked

What I Didn’t like

  • A really original design
  • Great dial with lots of depth
  • Brilliant detailing on the sides of the case
  • No micro-adjustments on the bracelet
  • Crowns are a little too prominent
  • The partial-window case back is not to my taste

Biotic Formicidae- The WRUK Verdict

Overall, the Biotic Formicidae is a great little watch and one that I have no hesitation in recommending. The bits I don’t like are bits that you might – and my position is always that you decide if you like a watch the minute you set eyes on it, and my job is to tell you if it’s worth the money. In this case, it definitely is.

Buy a Biotic Formicidae

The Biotic Formicidae Kickstarter is due to go live in June 2022, but in the meantime, you can sign up for updates at

By Mike Richmond

Mike spends what little spare time he has writing for WRUK; and what little money he makes building up his collection of timepieces.

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