In the world of watch nerds, a watch strap is a substantial element. The common straps – leather, rubber, or fabric are the usual choices of many watch users. However, watch lovers are still lucky to have NATO straps as another option next to the Zulus.
While some say that NATO watch straps are no good, many watch enthusiast remain firm believers that these straps are the best and more than just a fashion statement. Yet, what exactly is a NATO strap?
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE NATO WATCH STRAPS
First created and used by the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) in 1973, soldiers could only get a hold of the strap once they sign a form known as G10. Thus, the first NATO strap is also dubbed as G10 by others or Admiralty Grey because of its color.
The concern is this: many believe that NATO is named after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military troops when it is not. Instead, it is derived from the NATO Stock Number (NSN), the alphanumeric code used in British MoD to classify all standardized materials supplied within the system.
NATO is not named after the troops but rather derived from a coding system. With that, it is time to debunk the old myth about this strap’s name.
Sounds interesting? Of course, it should be when there is more to this NATO military story. The legendary James Bond shares a piece of the story too!
Many watch geeks believe that the 1964 hit film Goldfinger, popularize the ‘Bond NATO’ as Sean Connery is seen wearing a Rolex Submariner watch using the said strap although there is a claim that it is not an actual NATO strap but just an ordinary nylon strap. Forty-one years later, in 2015, Daniel Craig is spotted wearing an Omega Seamaster with an authentic NATO strap in another Bond series, Spectre 007.
Yet, whoever really wore the first real NATO on the Bond films, there is already this strong association between Bond and NATO. Therefore, for watch enthusiasts, its influence is massive, exclusive, and hard to break.
HOW TO WEAR YOUR NYLON WATCH STRAP?
NATO watch straps are known for being convenient and comfortable to use. They come in various colors and materials used and can be styled in many ways as well.
These interchangeable nylon watch straps are perfect for any get-ups and events. While most prefer to use this for rugged activities, nylon watch bands are still favored by most watch geeks especially as the straps for men's automatic watches.
To start using your first NATO band, determine the color of the strap you want to use. You can try on a black NATO strap with a rose gold buckle to highlight fashion and style. Since NATOs come in various colors, you might want to pair up a strap that will complement with the color of your shirt or shoes too.
Moreover, if you are wearing an open heart automatic watch, for example, the strap should look more elegant than rugged to add style to your timepiece. You can also choose whether to use either a leather or a nylon NATO, depending on your preferences.
Here are some ways to style your nylon watch straps.
THE SINGLE LOOP
As part of the usual process, it is necessary to remove first your watch’s previous strap before inserting new spring bars in place. The styling should then follow.
Figure 1 – Remove the current strap.
Figure 2 – Insert new spring bars on the watch's lugs.
Figure 3 – Make sure that you attach the spring bar properly. You can use a watch pin remover tool with either forked or pin end to assist you in the process.
Using the single loop is one way of wearing a nylon watch strap. Practiced by many watch enthusiasts, this style requires you to insert your wrist after inserting the strap’s tail on the other end before tightening it. This is favored among most watch users since this can make your watch look less bulky.
Figure 4 and 4.1 – First locate the longer tail of the strap and insert it on the top lug of the case.
Figure 5 – Leave an approximately 5- 6 centimeters distance from the watch’s lug till the strap's buckle.
Figure 6 - After positioning your watch, insert the longer tail of the strap on the opposite side.
Figures 7 and 8 – Pull the strap until it is attached properly to the watch.
Figure 9 – The ‘Single Loop’ style. Here, you can basically insert your wrist on the loop before tightening the strap. This is perfect if you have a heavy watch that needs additional protection from accidental fall from the wrist.
THE DOUBLE LOOP
The most common way of wearing a nylon watch band is by making a double loop. To do this, you need to tighten the tail first before wearing it on the wrist. Although the single loop is secured enough in making sure that your watch will not fall off, using the double loop adds additional protection to your watch.
Figure 10 and 11 – The ‘Double Loop’ Style.
THE REVERSED TUCK
When wearing a NATO in this style, you need to position your watch a bit lower than the usual on the strap. In this way, there can be enough space to position the strap properly at the back of your wrist. This can be done using either the single or double loop, depending on what is convenient for you.
Figure 12 – The 'Reversed Tuck' style.
THE OUTWARD OR INWARD TAIL TUCK
Whether you use the single or double loop, you can always choose the style to have for the strap’s tail. To do so, just follow the usual way of wearing your NATO. Then, decide the style to use for the tail.
An outward tuck means that the tail should be bent externally and then be inserted in the second metal ring. This gives the watch a unique look and a faster way to take off your strap.
Figure 13 – The 'Outward Tuck.'
On the other hand, an inward tuck lets you fold the end part of your strap by passing through the two rings. This is more commonly used when you want to have a clean-looking strap.
So, those are some ways to style and to enjoy your NATO band. On the other hand, although most preferred by men, NATOs are now popular among women as well. That is why, if you feel like using this strap is your bet, then go ahead and pair it with any minimalist timepieces or your favorite classic watches.
With a rich history and a more secure way of handling your watch, a NATO strap is definitely what you need if you are looking for a convenient, stylish, and an added extra protection for your timepiece.