Many watch lovers ask themselves this question. Most NATO straps aren't perfect. But what are great NATO straps?
To understand what is the best NATO strap we should first know what is actually a NATO strap? A NATO style watch strap is a watch strap that is most commonly (but not always) made from a woven nylon fabric or webbing material that passes between the lugs of a watch and through the spring bars that sit between these lugs.
Nowadays a NATO strap got to have a soft feeling, while being tough and durable. Their design has to be classic while at the same time expressing modern luxury. They must be soft to the touch, wear-resistant, and sporting luxury.
The first military watches were used in World War I and II. The watches were fixed most of the times on leather straps. Leading into WWII the Army Trade Pattern (ATP) watch was issued to soldiers and was supplied to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) by 17 Swiss suppliers. In the mid 1940s they also started to used canvas straps. Leather straps often perished in tropical conditions and canvas straps were used, particularly in Asia and the Pacific. Military issued canvas straps were olive drab green or tan cloth The date of the introduction of the AF0210 strap is unknown, but it is probably about 1944/5. The strap had no pre - punched eyelets, and the tongue of the buckle pushed through the canvas allowing it to fit any wrist. The strap fitted quickly and easily under the fixed bars of the watch.
The NATO strap as we know them today was first specified by the British Minstry of Defense (MoD) in 1973 also known as the G10 strap.
In 1973 (30, November to be precise) the MoD issued the following standard: Def Stan 66-15, (Part 1) Issue 1 – Strap (Nylon). The G10 name supposedly comes from the original NATO requisition number for this type of watch strap used in the military, the G1098. For soldiers to obtain a NATO strap, they had to fill out a form. Subsequently, they could retrieve the strap at their unit’s supply store of the same name.
Though DefStan’s name for the strap was decidedly nondescript, its specifications were distinct and specific. MoD-issued G10 straps were nylon, only made in “Admiralty Grey” with a width of 20mm, 280mm long and had chrome-plated brass buckle and keepers. As it stands, the official G10 spec calls for a 280mm long strap, 20mm width (now 18mm) and 12 heat sealed adjustment holes. The space where the watch head sits is 60mm and the space between the keepers 25mm. The buckle, prong and loops (keepers) were originally brass, (chromium plated), but these are all now stainless steel. The nylon used is a straight cross weave, colour Admiralty Grey (BS 4800, Card 3, Ref 18B25), joints heat sealed/welded as opposed stitched. Another key trait was a second, shorter piece of nylon strap attached to the buckle. Since the strap was to be used by the military, it needed to be functional and fail-safe. The extra nylon had a keeper at its end through which the main part of the strap passed through after it had been looped behind the watch. This created a pocket, limiting the distance the case could move. As long as the strap was passed through properly and snugly on the wrist, the case would stay exactly where it was needed. The bonus feature of a strap that passes behind the watch is there so that in the event that a spring bar breaks or pops out, the case will still be secured by the other spring bar.
Nowadays these kind of NATOs are still made by Phoenix in the UK. These are the originals they can look really cool on issued watches.
Many big Swiss brands and other companies people have tried their best to make a nice NATO strap, but there was still room for improvement.
The best premium seatbelt NATO straps are not perfect according to my opinion. I have worn and reviewed a lot of NATO straps. There are enough NATO straps available. But what are really good NATO straps? I have always used a lot of NATO straps myself. I thought it would be nice to see if there is something to improve, and to make a line of NATO straps that meet the highest requirements.
I have looked at the straps of the well-known Swiss brands and many other straps known as premium seatbelt NATO straps. Let’s have a look at our offer and what makes it so special.
As a watch lover, don't we all love these details! We love our NATO straps to look nice also after years of wearing them. Most of the thin fabric NATOS straps tend to get frills or start to get torn at the holes. Therefore they should be durable and made from strong materials. The WRIST ICONS premium seatbelt NATO straps design consist of:
When you attach a NATO strap on your watch case, your watch is more secure than any other type of strap. This extra security comes from the fact that your watch case will be attached to two different points; also known as the springbars which are fixed in the lugholes of your watch case. Suppose your watchband sticks to a certain object such as a fence and as a result should one spring bar fail then the second spring bar will keep the watch attached to the strap.
With the extra length that these straps offer it means you can wear your watch over a your flight jacket, diving or astronaut suit. This may be also handy when you participate in activities such as flying a Concorde, sailing the America’s Cup, skiing the Harakiri, golfing at Sint Andrews, fly-fishing in Patagonia or if you want to look cool just like Gianni Agnelli