Trying a Number of Different (Cheap) NATOs and ZULUs
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  1. #1
    Member KOB.'s Avatar
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    Trying a Number of Different (Cheap) NATOs and ZULUs

    Of late I have become rather enamoured of ZULUs and the NATO/G10 watch straps. I think the NATOs are a bit more comfortable, but I like the look of either. I have a Citizen Eco-Drive ProPilot with (Stupidly IMHO) 23mm lug width so I have bought straps at 22mm and 24mm to try (FWIW, IMHO 24mm is better, so go up in size not down). And I have bought a Marathon TSAR (Christmas present to Me). I've tried a 22mm strap on it, I think 20mm is thinnish, but the real size, ie. 20mm, works better.

    So I'm looking at these straps at between $16 and $28 each and thinking I'd like to try several strap colours, ZULU and NATO, but don't want to spend a couple of hundred dollars doing that. After a bit of search, got on to ALIExpress where there are thousands of ZULU/NATO straps ranging $1 to about $5. Ended up finding ones for $1.82 each and bough four ZULUs and 4 NATOs. They arrived today. Now these are not $200 Omega NATOs, but, TBF they seem reasonable. The seams are stitched (I saw that in the ad), the size is the same as my other straps, the Ballistic nylon is a little thinner (actually a good thing) and the hardware is stainless steel, not 5 star, but certainly 3.5 to 4 star. Anyway, I've tried several colours already and the straps fit nicely and look OK. I've picked fairly basic, solid colours because that's what I like, and I'm sure these guys will outlast me. And I spent all of $14.52 on eight (8) straps.

    Mandatory pics:

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    The $17 Zulu is highlighted in the picture below for a quick comparison
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    So not saying don't go and buy good quality (and somewhat more expensive) NATOs and ZULUs, but if you want to see what those expensive straps might look like before you buy, this is a cheap option (and I'm happy with these straps regardless).

    Of course, YMMV...

    Kevin
    Last edited by KOB.; December 27th, 2019 at 03:32.
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  2. #2
    Member Nokie's Avatar
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    Re: Trying a Number of Different (Cheap) NATOs and ZULUs

    Nice information.

    Great selection and it fits your Marathon perfectly.

    Enjoy them!
    "Either he's dead or my watch has stopped"
    Groucho Marx

    "The only reason for time is so that everything does not happen at once..."
    Albert Einstein

  3. #3
    Member NC_Hager626's Avatar
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    Re: Trying a Number of Different (Cheap) NATOs and ZULUs

    Nice, and thanks for sharing. A nice way to add variety to your collection without breaking the bank. Enjoy swapping them out.

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  5. #4
    Member KOB.'s Avatar
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    Re: Trying a Number of Different (Cheap) NATOs and ZULUs

    Quick update:

    The ballistic nylon material and the metal fittings, as expected by the price, aren’t as good as a strap costing 10x as much, that’s a given. But the cheap straps are surprisingly wearable and having the option for variety in style and colour is nice.

    Of note and my opinion only, NATOs are more comfortable than 5 ring ZULUs. On the ZULU, the two rings that you pass the strap through from under the watch, and regardless whether they pass straight through the rings like a NATO or pass back and through like a diver would use, sit quite proud of the actual strap. That can be felt, more on straps with thicker, more rigid ballistic nylon. Over time it’s noticeable and can become uncomfortable.

    Because of the design of the NATO with only one flat keeper / ring at the end of the underwatch flap, it is a lot less noticeable on the wrist. Further, NATOs are generally thinner than ZULUs and the fittings are flat so you’d expect a closer fit.

    Of course, using a single pass 3 ring ZULU eliminates this issue, but I like the added security of the additional layer of ballistic nylon under the watch (lose a spring bar don’t lose a watch and, yes, it has happened to me twice in 40 odd years).


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  6. #5
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    Re: Trying a Number of Different (Cheap) NATOs and ZULUs

    Good review, KOB.
    FWIW, I bought a whole handful of NATO straps from Cheapest NATO straps in Sweden. At 4.95 a pop, plus 20% off if you buy five or more, and free shipping from Sweden, I think they're a real bargain. No, they don't have the highest quality hardware on them, but I find them very comfortable and the lower profile keepers don't catch as much on clothing, etc. And Sofie stocks 18 mm widths, a size not every supplier offers. She's got some great color combinations too, not found elsewhere that I've found.

  7. #6
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    Re: Trying a Number of Different (Cheap) NATOs and ZULUs

    Quote Originally Posted by Slipangle View Post
    Good review, KOB.
    FWIW, I bought a whole handful of NATO straps from Cheapest NATO straps in Sweden. At 4.95 a pop, plus 20% off if you buy five or more, and free shipping from Sweden, I think they're a real bargain. No, they don't have the highest quality hardware on them, but I find them very comfortable and the lower profile keepers don't catch as much on clothing, etc. And Sofie stocks 18 mm widths, a size not every supplier offers. She's got some great color combinations too, not found elsewhere that I've found.
    So far with CNS, I got one "seatbelt" NATO from them that proved unusable and was given away. On order is a single-pass adjustable NATO that was ordered 12/31/19 and hasn't been received yet despite shipping with tracking (Deutsche Post only showed tracking as far as destination country -- USA). I'll be submitting a PayPal claim for non-receipt if the item is not received by month end. Visa CC chargeback is also an option.

    From customer review/comments on CNS straps and service, their product/service seems to be "hit or miss". JMHO.
    Last edited by normdiaz; January 26th, 2020 at 16:40.
    "When a man flatters you, it is almost certain that he means to take your business, pick your pocket, or sleep with your wife." -- William Bonner & Addison Wiggin, THE NEW EMPIRE OF DEBT.

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