August 5, 2014
In the pursuit of building a better mousetrap, Everest looks to enhance the Rolex wearing experience with their latest strap collection for Rolex watches. Coming September, Everest Bands will release their Everest Leather Series bringing another element of comfort and versatility to Rolex watches. This is in addition to Everest’s rubber strap series for Rolex. The Everest Leather Series watchstrap combines the comfort of quality leather with the reliability of a solid 316L stainless steel end link, topped off with a replaceable 316L stainless steel tang buckle.
Rolex wearers have been known to use aftermarket leather straps, but the critical piece omitted from a basic leather strap setup is the solid end link that supports the spring bar. Arguably, a Rolex with a leather strap sans end-link gives the watch a very utilitarian look, but at the expense of looking polished, and at the expense of spring bar strength. A solid endlink prevents the spring bar from being bent and inadvertently popping out. Making these straps stand out is Everest’s utilization of a precision-machined 316L steel end link that fits a 20mm wide lug width Rolex watch precisely with no slop between the lug and the watch case. The fit between the endlink and the watch case is just like the original Rolex end link that slides right in with no lateral movement, no rounded edges, and fits like it is meant to be there.
Just as Patrick Kansa points out in aBlogtoWatch’s RubberB rubber strap for Rolex, there are plenty of aftermarket options and varieties, but at quality levels that span the map. Without question, the Everest Leather Series is at a quality level complimentary to Rolex watches in materials, machining tolerances, and leather selection. In Everest’s first offering, straps will be available in saddle brown, vintage brown and black calf leather, as well as in black and brown crocodile to match the watch face, bezel, and your mood. Everest plans to offer shell cordovan straps in the very near future as well.
Rather than navigating the idiosyncrasies of leather watchstrap production, Everest relies upon industry-leading watchstrap manufacturers located around the globe. Everest selected these specialty manufacturers, as they create straps for likes of Omega, Panerai, and IWC. Watch companies, like Everest, would rather focus their efforts on the endlink rather than on the peculiarities of manufacturing leather straps. Everest straps are well stitched, well proportioned, and the leather looks flawless. Finishing off the strap is a removable buckle made from the same 316L surgical stainless steel and has the same Rolex brushed finish to match Rolex’s brushed lugs. The Everest buckle is removable using the same 1.6mm screwdriver used for adjusting Rolex Oyster links. The buckle tang fits into the buckle holes with little slop and without stretching the leather; it appears that the holes and buckle tang were made to be together.
Installing the strap is a relatively easy affair when using the correct tools. The best tool for removing and installing Rolex bracelets is the Bergeon 6825ff (ff for Fine Forks). Even though the tool is not at an entry-level price, it is well worth it if you see yourself switching out straps. Other standard spring bar tools work, but the 6825 prevent lug scratches because the tool’s tweezer-like action compress both ends of the springbar simultaneously making it easy to lift out and reattach solid end-links to the watch.
A simple DIY for removing and installing Rolex straps is posted over at Minus4Plus6. Making the Everest strap installation an easy affair are the solid endlinks that slide right onto the case. There is no stuffing a leather strap around a spring bar, or no wedging leather between a springbar and a case, as is the case with thick leather NATO straps. Slide the end link on, make sure the included springbars set into the case and your off.
I wore a tanned leather Everest strap affixed to a Rolex GMT 116710 BLNR (Bleu/Noir bezel) that my favorite dealer, Fourtané, let me borrow for a week. Although I have worn Rolex watches for over 25 years, it was never with a leather strap, as I felt that any non-original strap did not compliment the watch. I quickly found that is not the case with the Everest leather strap. The Everest endlink looks at home with the brushed finish. Unlike wearing a stainless or rubber strap, a leather strap conforms to your wrist. After a week of wearing the Everest leather strap, the strap was working its way to fitting like a well worn work glove. Unlike silicon straps that stretch and give, they retain their basic shape. The Everest leather strap, on the other hand, has the same feeling of strength, like the stainless steel bracelet, but the lighter weight makes it disappear from your wrist. After wearing leather on a Rolex, I see why Rolex offers a leather option on some of their watches.
After a successful Kickstarter campaign to roll out the Everest rubber strap, Everest continues the same formula for the Everest Leather Series. Until August 15th, Everest Kickstarter backers are able to receive a calf leather strap, endlinks, and buckle at $190, $88 less than the post-Kickstarter retail price. Crocodile leather starts at $250, $103 less than the planned retail offering price. There are also other quantity discounts available for early Everest Leather Series backers. Everest leather strap wearers can order additional leather straps without ordering another endlink / buckle combination in the coming future.
Without question, Everest leather straps bring a new wearing experience for Rolex wearers. Everest leather straps possess the design, fit and integrity that Rolex wearers expect, and at a price point that is less than what a factory original strap costs. The Everest Leather series is easy to install and brings a whole new look and feel to your Rolex watch. everestbands.com
See the Everest Leather Straps for Rolex watches campaign on Kickstarter here.
Rolex GMT Reference 116710 BLNR courtesy of Fourtané, Carmel California