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The Monta OceanKing – An Interview With Mike DiMartini

Here at Everest, we’re big time excited about our latest project, the Monta OceanKing. Making a watch from the drawing board to the real thing in steel is a big project for us, and the feedback we’ve gotten from Everest Bands fans has been great.

Last week I got on the phone with Mike DiMartini, Everest’s co-founder, and we discussed the new watch.

Ed:

Why does Everest want to make a watch? You’re successful with rubber and leather straps, so why did you and Dave decide to make a watch?

Mike:

The reason we want to do a watch is as our product evolved, as we customized Rolex with straps, we found we wanted to go beyond that. We wanted to go with our own ideas. We’re very passionate about the 1950s dive watch period. The Submariner came out, the Omega Seamaster, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, this list is five or six deep there.

We were inspired by all these watches. We wanted to come up with a watch that recast the timeline of the history of dive watches. We wanted to go beyond the [Everest] strap and come up with something that was completely unique to us.

Ed:

The new watch brand is not Everest. You’ve renamed the brand for the watch, Monta, and you’ve named the watch the OceanKing. So tell me about the Monta OceanKing.

Mike:

We derived the name Monta from the French word for mountain. We did that because of the connection with Everest. For the watch name, we were focused on a diver. We focused on a strong word, ‘ocean.’ Not ‘sea’ or ‘submerse.’ We wanted to name it something we were passionate about. We thought there were two words that were quintessential, that described this: ‘Ocean’ and ‘King.’

It will be a totally Swiss made watch. We’re using countless Swiss manufacturers from stem to stern. The movement is the Eterna 3909A that will be made to a high standard. We will super-tune it to chronometer standards, -4/+6 seconds per day.

Additionally, the finish quality will be the highest we could possibly find.

Ed:

Will the watch be COSC certified?

Mike:

It will definitely be made to that standard, and we’re working on getting COSC certification. But we’re not sure if the administrative details that go along with certification will happen in time.

Ed:

The watch is a dive watch with all the typical accouterments. What were the inspirations for the physical design of the watch itself?

Mike:

Great question. There are two parts to that. First, the inspiration was this 1950s dive watch era. Back then, watches weren’t just to tell time. They were tools to keep you alive. When you went underwater, you had to know your watch wasn’t going to fail. With today’s technology, they’ve got these digital tools you use to track time. So dive watches today have become more of a desk diver. It’s still a tool watch, but it’s a pretty watch.

So our inspiration was to take these great designs that we saw in the 1950s and apply our own passion toward the design. So we designed something unique, that could have come out during that time period, and then evolved into what it is today.

On the other side. There’s a lot of technology that we’ve taken and developed. The easiest, quickest one to focus on is the bezel, turning the bezel. When you turn our bezel, you’ll feel the smoothness and precision that you expect on a multi-thousand dollar watch.

When you screw the crown down, it will be a smooth precision turn.

When you screw the case back down, it will be perfectly aligned.

And most people don’t realize, there are different grades of steel. We’re using the best grade of 316L steel we could find. And the crystal is not just a double-domed crystal. It has unique characteristics. I can’t go into details at this point because it’s part of a patent. What I can say is there will be a seven part coating process of anti-reflective coating on the inside and instead of the goofy film on the outside, there will be no coating on the outside. This coating on the inside, nothing on the outside, and this supremely clear sapphire.

All these cool features may seem like overdoing it on a first watch, to go for multiple patents and design details. But we feel that as we derive the design inspiration, it isn’t just a good looking watch. It’s so much more than that. We’ll see what people think. We hope they go crazy for it.

Ed:

Very interesting! Can you discuss the patents a little bit? What parts on the watch are patented, and what was the driving force behind them?

Mike:

The driving force behind the patents was, for us, a combination of things. To develop something that we could prove was beyond the average watch.

The bezel assembly I discussed will be patented, and the clasp will also be patented. There’s a sliding mechanism that’s similar to the Rolex Submariner (that’s recently come out) with a sliding micro adjustment. we could go for additional patents, but for now we’re going to focus on these two.

Ed:

So, with recasting the timeline of history, it’s as if the watch was released in the 1950s, and the current watch represents the evolution from then to now.

Mike:

Correct

Ed:

Ok. So I know you’re in development and you hope to see a full prototype shortly. When will we see the OceanKing? When will it be available to the buying public?

Mike:

It’s probably going to be in phases. The prototypes will be ready in six or seven weeks. We’ll get them in the hands of several horology journalists to see if we are keeping to the tune of what we’ve done before.

In the first phase, we’ll produce 100 watches. They’ll be overly tested. These 100 pieces will only be available to past Everest customers. These customers already expect perfection with our strap lines. There may also be some other things we’ll release with the first 100. We’ll get feedback from those 100 people. We’ll then finalize the long term production – hopefully for many years after that.

Ed:

Will the watch be on a bracelet, a strap, or both?

Mike:

We’re strap guys – big surprise, right? But there area lot of bracelet guys out there. There’s a certain value you get with having both. Most of the time I wear an Everest band with my Rolex, but I sometimes wear a bracelet. I felt it was important to give these first 100 people the most creative rubber strap that we could come up with.

It’ll be attached the same, with Swiss vulcanized rubber, really maximizing that design and at the same time having a bracelet that’s just fantastic. There’s a chamfer that runs on every single link. It’ll be polished, it’s a nightmare to make, but it’ll have a fantastic finish when it’s done. Lots of overdone fun stuff on the bracelet.

Ed:

So that’s a brief summary of the Monta OceanKing. Assuming it’s the raging success that you’re hoping for, what else have you got planned for the future?

Mike:

I think that on the other side of this is there’s a demand right now for really well-designed chronographs. We’re using Eterna’s base movement, a three hand date. Eterna has come out with some fantastic chronographs based on their 39xx calibre. The 3914. So we’ve begun to look at that for building our next chronograph.

It’ll be based on this historic look. It’s a two sub-dial chronograph – who doesn’t love a two sub-dial chronograph? I think three sub-dials get a little too much on the dial. Hopefully that again pulls from that 1960s, 1970s chronograph heyday.

So that’s hopefully our next piece, which will come out in late 2017.

Ed:

That prompts a question. Your first watch is a dive watch. Will the chronograph be a dive watch or is it more of a pilot watch?

Mike:

Well, from historic observation, when it comes to chronographs you’ve got the two big guys, the Daytona and the Speedmaster. They’re both timing watches. Both meant to accurately measure time, in a race or to measure distance. So do we put a tachymetre on the bezel? Or do we do a second time zone, not a GMT hand but a second time zone on the bezel?

Maybe even something that takes from the Tudor Monte Carlo a little bit. Or maybe the classic Monaco from TAG Heuer, where the inspiration is derived from this racing period.

So it probably plays a little bit off that.

Ed:

Sounds like exiting stuff down the road for Everest and for Monta. By my calculations, you’re hoping for prototypes of the OceanKing sometime around June 1 – June 15th.

Mike:

Yes, June 1 to June 15.

We’ll take a few more times and follow the entire production of this watch. See what the first 100 people think. We’re putting this out in the wind. Everest was built and developed on social media and funded with Kickstarter.

Since we’re not really going that path with this watch, we’re looking to the folks we’ve developed relationships with, who supported our company five years ago. They’re the people were hoping to get involved in this watch.

Ed:

Mike, thanks for chatting today. We’ll look forward to the next time we can get together and talk about details as they develop.

 

-Ed Estlow

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