NATO Straps: Second Life for Old Watches

I’m not quite sure when the fad started, but I’m quite certain that it’s nothing new. The so called NATO straps are a dirt-cheap way of giving new life to an old watch. I did a Google search on these nylon watch straps but didn’t find any credible info on its history. They do look and sound military inspired. You can say they’re retro too: Sean Connery has worn his Submariner with a NATO in the first few Bond movies. Speaking of Google, it’s your friend in finding an online store that sells them. The straps roughly cost an equivalent of Php700 apiece, which makes them more than worth it in giving a watch the fresh, preppy look.

Got an old watch with a tired, loose steel bracelet? It’s the perfect candidate for a NATO makeover. All you have to do is have the original bracelet or strap of the watch removed, get the width of the watch lugs–they’re usually 18, 20, 22 or 24mm–and buy the NATO strap with the correct width. The best thing with NATO straps is they’re easy to put on your watch and replace; it’s just like wearing a belt (again, Google is your friend with the how-to).

NATOs are available in different colors and are either plain or striped. What you can do is collect a few of them and change on a whim, depending on what clothes you are wearing! Of course, the colors of the straps you’ll get should compliment or match the color of your watch’s dial and body. Lucky you if you have a watch with a stainless body and white dial (like I do), that’s a safe combination that would match any color of NATO strap.

Let’s say you get 5 straps, setting you back Php3500. It’s like having 5 different watches, all for the price that’s cheaper than a Swatch!

My 18mm NATO strap in olive drab.

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