What's the deal with those NATO straps?

Thread: What's the deal with those NATO straps?

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  1. #1
    Member Seikopath's Avatar
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    Confused What's the deal with those NATO straps?

    Why do they have that extra piece of nylon that goes along the underside of the watch, and what are all those metal hoops for? Don’t you need just one, to retain the tail of the strap?



    The extra piece of nylon really bothers me - the only purpose I can think of that it would serve is to not let the spring pins touch your skin, but - like you would ever even feel that anyway.


    I've had a nylon strap that just threaded through the spring pins, but didn't have the NATO extra piece of nylon that went under it, and makes things "not tight". I am so curious what the fascination of these things is all about.
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  2. #2
    Member kontai69's Avatar
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    Re: What's the deal with those NATO straps?

    NATO straps typically don't have loops which the spring bars thread through. Instead, it is weaved between the springbar and the case on both sides and the strap passes underneath the watch in between.

    I personally bought one for a G-shock. I found it to be VERY uncomfortable. It was too stiff and scratchy.

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  3. #3
    Member craniotes's Avatar
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    Re: What's the deal with those NATO straps?

    The reason for the extra flap of nylon is to ensure that the watch stays on the strap even if the strap is undone. With one-piece Zulus, the chance exists, however unlikely, that the watch head could slide off the strap inadvertently when it's removed from one's wrist. I have also heard it said that this was also to keep the back of the watch further from the wearer's wrist in cold weather. That last bit doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, but then who am I to argue?

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  5. #4
    Member Seikopath's Avatar
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    Re: What's the deal with those NATO straps?

    Hey, that makes sense! Thanks for your answer!
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  6. #5
    Member craniotes's Avatar
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    Re: What's the deal with those NATO straps?

    Don't mention it, that's what we're here for.

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    Adam
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  7. #6
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    Re: What's the deal with those NATO straps?

    It is my understanding (and I could be wrong) that the extra "flap" of nylon that goes under the watch head is to retain the head on the strap in the event of a broken springbar.

  8. #7
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    Re: What's the deal with those NATO straps?

    Actually the nice thing about zulus/natos is that even with just a 2 ring single strap if the springbar breaks it will still stay on the strap. The chance of both springbars going at the same time is pretty slim.

  9. #8
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: What's the deal with those NATO straps?

    Hi -

    Yep, there more than a few reasons for the NATO straps.

    First of all, the strap is one-size-fits-all for all personnel, from small wristed women to weightlifters, fits them all. Why should the military keep multiple sized straps when one will do? Think of it as saving your tax dollars!

    Second, the strap can also be adjusted to be worn on top of clothing, rather than under it. Highly useful when you are bundled up, and gives the wearer the flexibility one needs when conditions change. The extra length makes this possible.

    Third, isolate the watch from skin, less to protect the skin as much more to be protect the watch. Remember, soldiers may end up spending weeks in the field before they can properly take care of some aspects of personal hygiene, and keeping the watch off the skin means that it will spend less time in a highly corrosive environment. I once spent 4 months in Jordan (back in '77) out in the field, and wore a simple Casio with a plastic strap, brand new. My sweat ate through the strap after 10 weeks and I couldn't find a replacement strap there, so I tied it to a piece of string tied to my cargo-pocket pants. Wouldn't have happened with a NATO.

    Fourth, I've seen NATO straps also used to bind down other equipment, and while it's an odd way of doing things, they do have other uses. Not many, but the option is there.

    Fifth, good NATOs are very, very comfortable, but you need to find one that is not cheaply made. Stainless steel buckle is a must if you are really out in the field, and once you start wearing them it is hard to go back. All of my divers watches are on NATOs, with the exception of the one I have on a bracelet, and once you get the size down right, they remain in one position on your wrist at all times.

    Not the dressiest straps, of course, but for a tool watch one of the best.

    JohnF
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  10. #9
    Member vejarmr2's Avatar
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    Re: What's the deal with those NATO straps?

    BRAVO!!!

    Lovely explination!

  11. #10
    Member Docrwm's Avatar
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    Re: What's the deal with those NATO straps?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnF View Post
    Hi -

    Yep, there more than a few reasons for the NATO straps.

    First of all, the strap is one-size-fits-all for all personnel, from small wristed women to weightlifters, fits them all. Why should the military keep multiple sized straps when one will do? Think of it as saving your tax dollars!

    Second, the strap can also be adjusted to be worn on top of clothing, rather than under it. Highly useful when you are bundled up, and gives the wearer the flexibility one needs when conditions change. The extra length makes this possible.

    Third, isolate the watch from skin, less to protect the skin as much more to be protect the watch. Remember, soldiers may end up spending weeks in the field before they can properly take care of some aspects of personal hygiene, and keeping the watch off the skin means that it will spend less time in a highly corrosive environment. I once spent 4 months in Jordan (back in '77) out in the field, and wore a simple Casio with a plastic strap, brand new. My sweat ate through the strap after 10 weeks and I couldn't find a replacement strap there, so I tied it to a piece of string tied to my cargo-pocket pants. Wouldn't have happened with a NATO.

    Fourth, I've seen NATO straps also used to bind down other equipment, and while it's an odd way of doing things, they do have other uses. Not many, but the option is there.

    Fifth, good NATOs are very, very comfortable, but you need to find one that is not cheaply made. Stainless steel buckle is a must if you are really out in the field, and once you start wearing them it is hard to go back. All of my divers watches are on NATOs, with the exception of the one I have on a bracelet, and once you get the size down right, they remain in one position on your wrist at all times.

    Not the dressiest straps, of course, but for a tool watch one of the best.

    JohnF

    John,

    As usual - thanks. Made me want to try one out. Any recommendations on suppliers?

    -Robert
    -Robert
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    As long as you follow those simple rules - you shouldn't listen to anyone about your watches.

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