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  1. #21
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    Re: What's the Deal with NATO straps?

    NATO and ZULU straps are different -- yet similar (don't ask me what the difference is, I've read a bit on it, but I'm still confused)!

    They certainly dress down your watch, but sometimes that's a good thing! When I travel, I often put my Rolex GMT on a G10 so it doesn't look so blingy and are harder to steal (my best NATO is from Germany and is quite stiff -- this makes getting the loopy bit out of the buckles a bit tricky and hard to do quickly... like when you're being robbed!)



    When I paddle, I like a Velcro NATO because they're comfy and secure and offer a waterproof option to rubber (which pinches) or bracelets which can loose the watch if a pin breaks. I like GasGasBones for my Velcro NATOs.



    I had a leather one made for my Root Beer, but it stretched whenever I got it wet, so I gave up on them. I never take my watches off, so I've stuck with nylon after that to avoid shrink/stretch issues.



    Certainly, they're not for everyone, but my $8k watches (slight dig at one of the posters) go on NATOS a lot because I like to wear my watches all the time (because that's why I bought them) and I feel safer about my watches knowing they're on a G10.

    A G10 is probably not for dressier occasions (though I have seen it done; and if it's ok for Bond, it's ok for me!), but that's cool too! I have a bracelet when I need to dress up.






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  2. #22
    Member StephenCanale's Avatar
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    Re: What's the Deal with NATO straps?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cracky Wainwright View Post
    Hmmm . . . when I post questions that are focused and specific on WUS, I get almost no response or interest. When I ask a more general question on a topic that's odd to me but one about which many of you clearly love to discuss, I get sarcastic 7th grade replies and rebukes. OK.

    The truth is there are many posts on WUS showing pictures of NATO straps, but very few details about *why* a NATO strap is beneficial or desirable. Most of you LOVE to discuss watch concepts -- even the ones you've discussed before. Give people a break who haven't read and studied this forum for years and years. I see posts on WUS all the time that seem goofy or insignificant to me, yet those guys get 20+ positive responses.
    One thing you have to remember is it takes all types, and there ARE all types on here.

    That's not a bad thing, either, but you have to keep in mind that folks come at the same topic from wildly different perspectives, yet tend to assume everyone sees things from the same point of view.

    There are legions of posters thriving on watches that are in the $100 range, those that love massive divers (who as often as not don't dive) and those that are deeply interested in a ton of minutia more than the practical aspects of just wearing a nice watch.

    All of that said, I "think" the distribution of straps is mostly:

    Group A) Those that are very active and wear their watches in rough duty situations. Likely to be less expensive watches, but could very well be pricier tool watches as well. They need a snug fit, that's easily adjustable, where the strap can take abuse, is not made uncomfortable with moisture or temperature variations and isn't a major expense to replace if damaged.

    Whether you're working in a factory, on a boat, plane, ranch, in the military or law enforcement or in construction of any nature this type of strap makes a lot of sense.

    That covers a lot of watch owners, at least part of the day.

    Group B) It's about color/style options, fashion and/or looking "Tacticool" and I don't mean that as an insult... it's just a trend.

    Group C) A lot of watches are now being marketed and sold on straps because it will allow the manufacture to keep costs down and profits up.

    I don't own any NATO straps. But, if I took up a career or hobby where it made sense to wear one, I could easily see putting one of my watches on such a strap, whether that be one of my lower-end watches like a Ball or the other end of the spectrum, like an Omega, and then switching back to leather/bracelet when wearing the same watch on another day.

    Just my thoughts.
    Last edited by StephenCanale; 1 Week Ago at 15:39.
    Ball - Concord - Ebel - Maurice Lacroix - Omega

  3. #23
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    Re: What's the Deal with NATO straps?

    Oh, one downside.... there are two (often, but not always) piece's of material underneath the watch back on some NATOs. This means that watches with thicker cases or high case backs can stand a bit proud. My 16753 has a low case back and GasGasBones straps only have one layer -- so my Bremont goes on a GasGasBones while my GMT goes on a nylon G10.

    Leather NATOs look super on some watches and leather really tends to look well on vintage watches (see the photo below of my 16713), but they tend to be even thicker than the nylon and raise the case back off the wrist somewhat.


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  4. #24
    Member MarkieB's Avatar
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    Re: What's the Deal with NATO straps?

    Not a fan for every day wear but I do use an extra long one on my Luminox for MTB and Wind Surfing as it fits over a waterproof jacket and a wet suit.

  5. #25
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    Re: What's the Deal with NATO straps?

    For me they're a quick, easy, and cheap way to add color or style to a watch. I can wear them in the shower, or while working outdoors, and they don't get damaged or scuffed up. They make something look a bit more casual too.

  6. #26
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    Re: What's the Deal with NATO straps?

    Quote Originally Posted by shedlock2000 View Post
    they tend to be even thicker than the nylon and raise the case back off the wrist somewhat.
    I cut that extra "safety" flap off my natos to make them wear thinner.
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  7. #27
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    Re: What's the Deal with NATO straps?

    Back when watches were tools and not jewelry, the virtues of a strong, pliable one-piece nylon strap were well-known. In fact, both Rolex and Omega once produced watches that could only accept one-piece straps.

    The NATO variant came along not because they are any more secure than a simple one-piece strap design, as is commonly believed, but because the NATO design allows for the watch to be hung by it's buckle off a hook or nail so it may be used as a field clock.

    Nylon one-piece straps have a long and storied history among tool watches, particularly Rolex and Omega. Despite this, many people think they "cheapen" these watches. Personally, I think it's the other way around... the idea that these watches are merely jewelry, and shouldn't be worn with nylon straps cheapens the heritage of professional use and adventure that is such an important part of the ethos of these marques.

    I happen to wear my watches on the bracelet more often than not, because it's the most comfortable and convenient solution for me. I personally think it looks the nicest as well. But I understand and respect the history of nylon one-piece straps, and do wear them.
    Last edited by starter; 1 Week Ago at 08:05.
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  8. #28
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    Re: What's the Deal with NATO straps?

    Thank you, fellows, for all the helpful responses. As it turns out, I did learn a good deal from some of the posts here.
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  9. #29
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    Re: What's the Deal with NATO straps?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cracky Wainwright View Post
    In the world of watches, what does NATO mean? Surely it doesn't mean North Atlantic Treaty Organization. All the NATO straps I see here on the forum are cheap, unattractive, synthetic cloth straps on very expensive watches meant to have leather straps or, even better, steel bracelets.

    OK, I'm ready for my education. Y'all let me have it! Tell me what I need to know about NATO straps. --Cracky Wainwright, on the front porch here in rural Alabama with a glass of locally brewed Singing River beer
    To explain my snarky response: If someone comes across too lazy to do even the tiniest bit of research before opening a thread, I cannot resist. It would've taken you less time to find out why NATO straps are called NATO straps than to write your first sentence. No offense, but what you need to know about NATO straps is so very accessible that I can't bring myself to contribute something useful.
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  10. #30
    Member SHANE 1000's Avatar
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    Re: What's the Deal with NATO straps?

    My understanding was it was just a practical usable CHEAP to make and disposable? strap that identified a regiment with it's unique colouration solid or stripes for whatever the branch of service might be.
    "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf"

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