NATO strap won't fit.
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  1. #1
    CLP
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    NATO strap won't fit.

    Got a NATO for my son's watch as the bracelet is black PVD and I thought using a nato would save wear on it, but found out after getting one of the end links off that the spring bar is so close to the case that nothing will fit through it.

    Anybody else run into this issue, and will getting some curved bars work OK with NATO straps, or should I just not bother?

  2. #2
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    Re: NATO strap won't fit.

    This is a pretty common issue that doesn't get mentioned as often as it should, IMO. I think 1mm, 1.2mm and 1.5mm natos are typical thicknesses. I've got several watches that just barely handle 1mm straps. Even my Sub is a tough fit. For the Sub, I can get some to fit by removing the springbars and reattaching over the strap. If that won't work, you may have to buy a thinner strap. Curved springbars may fix the problem. Before making that effort, you might be able to see how it will help by ck'g the distance between the case and lug holes-- if you don't have the necessary room at the lug hole position, then the curved bars won't help.

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    Re: NATO strap won't fit.

    It should be uncommon on a nylon NATO, but it's a definite concern with leather NATO and *especially* single-pass. I have a dove gray Horween single-pass that's quite thick; it wouldn't pass through the case gap. But it was close enough, and leather will compress...so I took the spring bar off, slid the strap into the gap, then worked the spring bar back in. That worked, and the strap could be pulled, carefully, to adjust the position on the strap. It's worked so far.

    I also have some very thin solar quartz watches where a Meyhofer single-pass leather strap, which is quite thin, took patience and effort to fit through.

    One option to consider might be perlon. Eulit's offering single-pass and two-piece. Perlon's thinner, lighter, and more breathable...better for hot weather. Plus, it's more of a matte finish, which would be closer to the PVD. I *do not* recommend the low-end perlons; the weave is loose, the hardware is flimsy, and the trimmed ends are a real problem...they're *sharp*. If you heat-cut, then seal, you need to trim and smooth the cling. Eulit seems to use something like a colored epoxy or rubber cement...press the strap into a shaped mold with the epoxy, then just cut. The epoxy doesn't scratch your skin.

    Holben's carries Eulit in the US, and they have a wide selection and good service.
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  5. #4
    Member Nokie's Avatar
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    Re: NATO strap won't fit.

    Agree, look at Holben's. He has a pretty wide variety of Perlon.
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  6. #5
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    Re: NATO strap won't fit.

    I've gotten around this problem by simply first putting the strap into place, and only then inserting the spring bars. Tight fit, but it seems to work.

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    Re: NATO strap won't fit.

    Thickness is something that is definitely overlooked on NATO/ZULU straps. As someone else mentioned, check out nylon (Perlon) straps. Go over to Crown & Buckle - they've got what you need. I love their light grey perlon, can't seem to stop wearing it!

  8. #7
    CLP
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    Thanks for the replies.

    The issue isn't the thickness of the straps, I don't think perlons would fit either, I don't think a piece of card stock would fit honestly, it's that close.

    The issue with putting the pins in after the strap is in place, is the tension would probably bend them. Then I would have to order straight ones. LOL!

    I might try the pre-curved pins, then again I might just keep the NATO to use on something myself... someday.

  9. #8
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    Re: NATO strap won't fit.

    I ran into this (the first time) on my Aevig Valkyr. Really close pins. I won't showhorn the strap in there because I hate the notion that it is under tension. Instead, I bought some two piece nylon straps and they work great.
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    Re: NATO strap won't fit.

    Hadn't even thought of that...so the lugs are essentially super-short. Most lugs are long enough so curved endlinks are forward of the straight spring bar...but here they're even. Or so it sounds. This is almost as bad as having the case incorporate the half-link, so NO strap can readily be used.

    Something to add to the list of Points That Disqualify A Watch. (One other I've seen is super-fat lugs, meaning the strap has a narrow notch where the spring bar goes. A bund strap can support this arrangement, but not much else.

    And a poster's talked about the cost of IWC straps and bracelets. When a company does stuff like this...creating a custom, unique case/strap mating approach, they're making it a PITA to do anything *but* pay their ridiculous price for a replacement. I don't like that.
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  11. #10
    CLP
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    The lugs aren't that short. The issue is the placement of the holes are about halfway up as opposed to closer to the tips.

    FYI the watch in question is the Fossil Townsman Automatic.
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