The Problem of Spring Bar Gap With Rolex Watches

(Image credit: Rolex Forums user Wolf99)

You may have noticed, you can’t just go on the Everest Bands website and order up a strap for your random modern Rolex. Instead, we have you start with identifying the specific watch on which you intend to mount the strap you purchase.

Why is that?

Well, it’s because the spring bar to case measurement, or gap, on almost every Rolex reference is unique. For example, an Everest rubber strap made for a submariner will fit any Sub from 1983 (16800) to today. But it won’t fit the no-date (a ray of hope for you 14060M owners out there, a rubber strap for that reference is in development).

We don’t know why Rolex has chosen to have different gaps for most of their lines. But it’s a pretty well documented situation. If you do a little searching on Google, you find numerous forum entries of guys complaining about NATO straps not fitting, or getting frayed when being installed.

Some folks resort to removing the spring bars, wrapping the watch head in the chosen NATO strap, and reinstalling the bars. One individual observed, “it … sort of defeats the purpose of being able to quickly and easily interchange NATO straps.”

Others claim, if the strap doesn’t fit fairly easily, it should not go on that watch. Still others resort to using curved or thinner, non-Rolex spring bars. And some guys have noticed spring bars come out warped after a couple of months of usage, when they were straight at installation. That’s a bit alarming!

And there’s another extensive discussion happening in the forums about end links not fitting across references. This, of course, is effectively the same problem, manifesting for those who prefer bracelets to straps.

So that’s the current situation.

But this is not a new problem. In Everest’s product research, we’ve discovered no less than four different gap measurements on Datejust references produced since the 1970s.

The references 1601 and 1603 (pre-1979) have one gap. The 16013 and 16014, manufactured between 1980 and 1988, have another. The 16220 and 16223, produced between 1989 and 2005, have yet another gap measurement. And last, ref. 116223 has its own gap measurement.

And so you see the challenge a strap maker faces in designing, producing, and inventorying fitted straps for Rolex watches. And there’s nothing to do about it but to be aware that the situation exists.

Less than satisfying, we know… but at least now you know too.

 

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