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Hi,

If you're reading this, you may be interested in what is involved in replacing the factory rubber strap on your EcoZilla.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS WILL NOT WORK FOR 'ZILLAS MOUNTED ON THE FACTORY BRACELET. The factory bracelet has a unique mounting bracket, and there are no adapters commercially available. There were some prototype adapters made, but they proved to be too expensive to manufacture, so production was never started on them. If you happen to see a set for sale...buy them...they're 'rare' ;-).

Speaking of available adapters. There is only one source I know of. The gentleman's name is Walter Alfarano, and you can reach him via email here. As far as I know, he makes these on his own. He's usually quick to respond to emails, and is pleasant to deal with. Please contact him for his most current pricing. He does not make any adapters out of titanium, only stainless steel. He will bead blast the stainless to match the finish of the titanium, and there may or may not be a charge for this service. There are a few different choices you have to pick from, regarding how the straps attach to the adapters. All of them are for 24mm width straps.

First, the one-piece adapters to use a Zulu type strap. These adapters will only allow you to thread a one-piece strap thru them. You cannot mount a two-piece strap.

Examples (pics from Walter):




Second, you can get an adapter that uses springbars. You'll notice the lugs are drilled thru to make strap changes easier. Also, notice in the first photo that the adapters are actually on upside down (there is a bigger bevel on the lug that should be facing upwards). Compare the lugs in the 1st and 2nd photos to see the bevel in the 2nd photo. Also, in the 2nd photo you'll notice that you can fit a bracelet to the adapters as well. If you think about it, both this type, and the 3rd type can use one-piece Zulu type straps as well...you get the all the options with these two adapter types.

Examples (again, pics from Walter):




The last type is an adapter like the springbar adapter, but using screws instead of springbars. This is a much more robust setup, and involves more machining, so I'm sure this is the most expensive option.

Examples (pics from Walter):




So, you want to know how to do it, right?

Okay, first, start with an unmodified Zilla:




Next, set out your adapters (I installed the strap also, to see how it looked). Also, notice you cannot see a bevel from the back when looking at the adapter on the right (it's flipped under, so you're looking at the back of the adapter). The adapter on the left had poor lighting...so a comparison isn't easy...sorry :roll:):




Turn the watch face down, and you'll see 4 slotted screws (pic from PMWF):


Carefully use a screwdriver to remove the screws. There was no thread lock holding mine in, so it shouldn't be diffulcult. BE CAREFUL, if you slip, it's quite possible to damage the caseback, or yourself.

When the screws are out, it will look like this:





The ring on the back should come right off, and you'll see this (notice, the rubber straps have their own integrated adapters):


At this point, the rubber straps with their own integrated adapters should slide out. You might have to rock them side-to-side a little to get them to pop out. Here's what they look like when removed (notice the retaining ring in the background behind the rubber, and a couple of the screws off to the left):


Take a look at the adapters again. Notice, you can see the larger bevel, as this is the top of the adapter (note how the leather is installed). It's purely cosmetic, and will not affect function. If you install it upside down...you'll probably never notice. If you closely examine the lug tip to the plastic tray I'm using, you'll see the underside doesn't have much of a bevel at all.


Okay, so slide the adapters down where the rubber straps were, and it will look like this. Just to beat a dead horse, here you should be able to make out the lack of a bevel on the lug tip on the back side of the adapters:


Insert and carefully screw down the retaining-ring screws. Make sure not to cross-thread the screws. I rotate them counter-clockwise until they 'click' down, letting me know they've seated into the start of the threads. Then I thread in clockwise to prevent such a disaster. Once installed, it will look like this from the back:


And here's a wrist shot (and now you can see the larger bevel at the tip of the lug...facing outwards :-!):


It may be hard to tell in the lighting, but there is a gap between the adapter and the bezel area. This is normal. If you were to look at the rubber, you'd see how thick it is at the mounting point. It's thick to create a slope from the watch head to the rubber. Once it's installed on a strap and you start wearing it, you'll forget about the gap.

Any 24mm two-piece strap should work (rubber, leather, silicone, and bracelets).

Enjoy :-!.

EDIT:

Walter has designed a unique back retaining ring. This unique ring has two flat sides, and allow you to install very thick straps on the watch. What is also allows is the use of a Zulu strap when using the springbar/screwbar adapters. See below for some pictures of the ring and how it looks installed on my Ti Zilla. Please remember that Walter does not make any parts out of Ti, instead he uses stainless. This means that the 'color' of the two metals isn't a 100% match (in my opinion, the parts still look good installed).

Here is the ring:



Notice how well this is machined and finished. Walter really does some fantastic work.


Pictures of the factory ring, and if you notice on the strap, there is a dent where the original ring digs into the leather:






And of course pictures of the ring installed:



 

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Wow! Quite a thorough how-to. Thanks for the excellent photos. I wish this info was available to the person I bought my 'zilla from. One screw is broken off (I knew this was the case before I bought it). Believe it or not, the 3 remaining screws are strong enough to hold the adapters and my zulu band because of the ring.

Thanks a lot,

Joe
 

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Yeah, the thicker the strap=lesser the gap:-d
The only thing I wish is,..........that it would be
possible to use a one piece NATO with the
springbar adapters. It's a shame to have to
buy two sets of adapters to have to do it.
Changing the back ring is not something I care
to do very often.....I found the screws fairly soft,
and originally very tight...now mine are fairly
buggered up, even after usuing an appropriate
size driver.
Regards Sonny
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Why can't you just thread the nato thru with the springbar adapters on?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes, he's in Canada (if you look at the end of his email, it's ".ca" denoting Canada).

Remember, this isn't his primary purpose in life, so if he's a little lax in responding, he may be with family, or tending to other priorities. Just give it a little time. Also, you may want to try another email address to send from, as I'm not sure how he's got his email filters set up.

I believe you will be pleased with how he handles customers.
 

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Why can't you just thread the nato thru with the springbar adapters on?
Crap, I forgot about this thread. The pin holes are
too close, at least on mine. I can't even thread a thin NATO through on mine. I even took the springbars out and put the strap in, and it was so tight, I couldn't get the springbars backin. I know he makes these by hand, so I don't know if they are all this tight.
Does anyone have the springbar adapters, that you can
thread a NATO through?
Regards Sonny
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Crap, I forgot about this thread. The pin holes are
too close, at least on mine. I can't even thread a thin NATO through on mine. I even took the springbars out and put the strap in, and it was so tight, I couldn't get the springbars backin. I know he makes these by hand, so I don't know if they are all this tight.
Does anyone have the springbar adapters, that you can
thread a NATO through?
Regards Sonny
Sonny, Walt has a custom made retaining ring with flat sides cut in so that you can use very thick straps with the adapters. The bonus is that it will also allow you to use NATO straps :-!.

Here's a pic from Walt:

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I got the ring installed and updated the thread. This is a very cool development :).
 

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I got the ring installed and updated the thread. This is a very cool development :).
The ring is excellent. I bought that at the same time I got my adapters and I am glad I did! :-!

My adapters have a tiny bit of wiggle. Is this normal or should I find a way to shim them?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The ring is excellent. I bought that at the same time I got my adapters and I am glad I did! :-!

My adapters have a tiny bit of wiggle. Is this normal or should I find a way to shim them?
Hmm...I didn't notice mine having any wiggle. I'll check again tonight and try to report back.

If you notice it though, shim it with something. Depending on how yours is wiggling (direction), you could use a small piece of rubber band :). This is cheap, and easy to trim to just the right size. It will keep the movement way down, and if the rubber ever dries out, just get another band :-!.
 

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I want to thank Topher1556 for such an excellent & informative article. It convinced me to purchase an Autozilla model as well as the 24mm adapters (screw & Zulu) and retaining ring from Walter (who was a real gentlemen to deal with). Changing straps is easy and gives the watch various cool looks.

I would add one small comment, at least regarding my particular watch: removing the back screws was a little difficult and required me to use my power drill with an appropriate bit. Be careful when doing this. You don't want to strip the screws and/or damage your case.

Thanks again,
Dean:-!
 

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Darn, is there any way some of these pics can be re-added?

I remember being blown away a the detail and ease of instruction that this article provides, and it would awesome to have it up and running again as a resource. :-!

I'm wondering if the move to this new thread had something to do with it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hey guys :-!.

Sorry about the pics...I had to sell off a bunch of watches, as well as things from other hobbies to build up cash for bills and debts. Because of all the threads with my pictures, it pushed my account over the monthly bandwidth allotment.

As of the 1st, the pictures will return. When they do, I will go thru and download the pictures, then add them as attachments and post them back to the thread to prevent this from happening again.
 

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Hey guys :-!.

Sorry about the pics...I had to sell off a bunch of watches, as well as things from other hobbies to build up cash for bills and debts. Because of all the threads with my pictures, it pushed my account over the monthly bandwidth allotment.

As of the 1st, the pictures will return. When they do, I will go thru and download the pictures, then add them as attachments and post them back to the thread to prevent this from happening again.
Hey man:

I'm sorry to hear that you're having troubles. :-(

I guess we're all sort of vulnerable to things like this right now. I hope you got to at least hang on to one special piece...

In the meantime, please don't feel rushed to get those pics back up. Take your time and do what you gotta do.

Good luck to you. :)

-Garrett
 
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