I had an issue with my M1, albeit with an aftermarket strap, it was super hard to get on like you are saying, but eventually I did get it to pop into the hole. I know I've been quick to jump the gun on issues before, but those were actually warranted issues. I think you should just take a breather and have another try at it later on. Chris runs a good company, they aren't trying some "operation" to trick you as you said, its simply either an issue with the watch or with you putting it on. That simple. As for the strap, obviously its not going to be the same caliber as on a watch 3x its price. You can't expect them to invest almost as much on the strap as they did on the watch, that just wouldn't make any sense at all. It sounds like you wanted the speed master all along lol, why didn't you go that route in the first place?(imo thats the best option out of all of them ) Regarding the coating, I hate to keep saying this but, you should have read the reviews/pictures better if you were unsure of how bright the lume would be with it. I didn't get that coating for the same reason, I enjoy the brightness of the lume, that and that coating tends to smudge SUPER easy.