Strapcode has made a name for themselves providing aftermarket bracelets and straps, especially ones designed for Seiko’s various dive watches. The Super Oyster Type II is probably the most popular, but in this review of the Strapcode Endmill bracelet I’ll show why you might want to consider picking one of these up for your Seiko or Orient diver.
Find the Right Strapcode Endmill Bracelet
|Seiko SKX007, SKX009, etc.||Seiko Turtles – SRP777, SRPA21 PADI, etc.||Seiko Solar – SSC015, SSC017, etc.||Seiko Sumo – SBDC001, SBDC031, etc.||Orient Mako I & II, Ray I & II, and similar Orient divers|
Replacing the Bracelet on My Orient Ray II
The stock bracelet on the Orient Ray II is by no means bad – it’s completely serviceable as far as steel bracelets go. Wears comfortably and looks good.
But I found myself wanting to try something new. Something better. I’ve already had Strapcode’s Super Oyster fitted to my SKX007 for a couple years now (at least whenever I want to dress it up), and decided to try something different for upgrading the Ray II.
So I ended up getting this nice little package in the mail the other day:
Amazon didn’t do its usual thing of packing a tiny item into a huge box this time. Just a simple bubble envelope, shipped to me USPS.
The packaging for the actual bracelet is minimal. It comes in a simple plastic bag with Miltat’s branding on one side and a digital camouflage effect on the other. By the way, if you’re confused about Miltat vs. Strapcode and who makes these, it’s actually pretty simple. Miltat is the manufacturer of these bracelets in Hong Kong, and Strapcode is the U.S. importer / reseller.
The endmill bracelet comes well protected, with plastic shrink wrap over all the links, additional blue plastic on the clasp, and rubber protectors over the end links. The rubber protectors also serve the purpose of holding the spring bars inside the end links, instead of just having them float loose in the bag.
The spring bars included with the Strapcode endmill bracelet are nice and fat, and of good quality.
The Strapcode Endmill Bracelet
Peeling back the plastic, starting from the end link we get our first look at the finish of the links. They have a nice, uniform brushed finish on both front and back.
Branding on the bracelet is minimal, with only a tiny ‘MILTAT’ printed on the back side of the last link at each end. I assume the MT.060 printed on the end link is their identifier for the Orient Mako / Ray specific part.
The clasp is well engineered and has the same finish as the rest of the bracelet. The hinge seems solid, held together by a peened pin instead of a screw or anything else that might work loose.
When I first opened the clasp, the push buttons on the side were pretty stiff, and it was slightly difficult to get the clasp to open. After using just a few times though these have loosened up and I think they feel just like they should now.
Looking closely at the links, you can see that they are uniformly finished. Each has the same brushed finish, with the edges softened. The endmill style, which is taken from Rolex’s President Bracelet, has a very different feel and look with it’s oval links than the flatter oyster style.
Overall, the bracelet has a nice taper to it, going from 22mm at the lugs down to 18mm at the clasp.
Very small, regular screws hold the removable links together. There’s 3 removable links on each side of the clasp, and that combined with the micro-adjustment pin on the clasp itself should enable this bracelet to fit just about any wrist.
The end link is solid stainless steel and has the same level of finish as the rest of the bracelet.
Strapcode Endmill vs. Stock Orient Bracelet
Putting the two bracelets side by side, you can really see the difference in style. While I still like the look of the stock oyster bracelet with the polished lines on each side of the center link, the endmill bracelet just looks higher end, and more in your face.
While the clasp hinge on the stock Orient bracelet is wider, the Miltat endmill hinge is much thicker ( seems to be about 3x thicker steel ). The hinge on the Miltat is also a more streamlined design, without the big hump for the hinge pin.
Fit to the Orient Ray II
Getting a solid end link fitted to the lugs can be quite a bit trickier than with the hollow end links. There’s just not as much play, making it harder to get the spring bars in.
I’ve found the best method is to fit the bracelet where it’s supposed to go, without a spring bar in yet. And then holding it so you’re looking at the back of the watch, lift one side of the link until you can slide the spring bar in ( the whole link will have to come up at least a bit ). The idea is to get the pin attached to the lug on one side, and then use the spring bar tool to push the other side in until it pops down. Hopefully that’s somewhat clear 🙂
The solid end link fits the case of the Orient Ray II perfectly, with no wiggle, and matches the shape of case and lugs very well.
Be careful here though! If you get some wiggle and jiggle one side of the spring bar may not actually be seated correctly. The bracelet will still hold to the watch case, but putting stress on it might make it pop out!
Strapcode Endmill Bracelet Sizing
Sizing the Strapcode Endmill bracelet is pretty straight forward – as long as you have a small jewelers flat head screw driver. The drivers in many cheap ‘watch/eyeglass repair’ kits are actually too big, you want to make sure you get a good quality driver that’s about 1.2mm. This one will work great.
After making sure you have the right tool, it’s just a matter of unscrewing pins in enough links until the bracelet fits comfortably. If a removing a whole link makes it too small, the micro-adjustment pin in the clasp will get it working perfectly. For reference, I had to remove 3 links for my 6.75″ wrists.
One of the main complaints you’ll hear about these Miltat bracelets is that it’s possible for the screws to work loose, leading to the bracelet opening and the watch falling off your arm. With my super oyster bracelet I made sure to check the tightness occasionally and never had any problems.
However, the screws in the end mill are of a different design than the ones in my super oyster (which is about two years old now). I’m curious if the different screws are a solution to that problem.
I’ve been wearing the end mill bracelet for a couple of weeks now, and have found it perfectly comfortable. It always amazes me how much a different strap / bracelet can completely change the look of a watch, and the Strapcode endmill is no different. The Orient Ray II really has a completely different look and feel with the ‘presidential’ style bracelet attached.
Highly recommended if you’re getting bored of the stock bracelet or strap on your Seiko or Orient watch.