By Mark Wisdom Phillips
Nylon NATO Straps
There really isn’t much to be said about nylon NATO straps overall. They are very simple and easy to understand and that’s part of why I think they are so great. Please remember that Crown & Buckle is not the only company that sells these types of straps, but that they sell some of the best for some of the best prices. I will first offer general information and then discuss the actual straps I got from Crown & Buckle.
• 24mm nylon NATO (orange)
• 24mm Harbor (black with white stitching)
• 22mm nylon NATO (navy blue)
• 22mm nylon NATO (purple)
• 20mm Lotus (creme with white stitching)
Here is what you need to know about NATO straps (these are universally true of all companies that sell NATO straps…that I have used):
• They are very easy to install
• They are cheap
• They come in just about every color and design imaginable
• They prevent you from dropping or losing your watch face if a spring bar were to break (this
is due to the two layers of the strap that go around the spring bars)
• They fit any wrist size
Who came up with these things? It’s my understanding that somebody in Britain thought up NATO straps to be used in the military. NATO straps are long enough to work over the top of a jacket, wetsuit, etc. They are also unaffected by water, snow, mud, anything. And if they do get messed up…they are super cheap to replace and require no tools to do so.
To me…that’s a really cool backstory and a great idea.
Now for all of us, NATO straps are a cheap way to get a new look on many different watches. They typically cost around ten bucks and are very easy to change out. Some give a preppy look and some give a bit more of a serious look. A lot of people love nylon NATO straps due to their versatility and price and a lot of people don’t like them because they can make a watch look cheap.
I love nylon NATO straps. I don’t think that they look bad or make you or a watch look cheap. Maybe if you put one on a gold Rolex…but come on, were all smarter than that. I hope were smart enough to not buy a Rolex to begin with…but that’s a topic for a different day.
Making excellent NATO straps is not hard and it doesn’t take much, but if something is overlooked then it’s detrimental to the whole experience. Let me discuss those things and let you know how Crown & Buckle did by giving a standard followed by a yes or no (yes if they met or exceeded my standard and no if they did not – some explanations to follow). It needs to have plenty of holes so that sizing works for any wrist.
-Yes. Sizing is absolutely no issue with these straps.
It needs to have well polished hardware that is both glued and sewn into place.
-Yes, Yes, No. The hardware is very well polished and almost feels soft although, it is only glued into place which makes me nervous about its lifetime.
It needs to be very soft, almost cloth like.
-Yes. The nylon was woven very nicely and is very comfortable. I’ve seen better and I’ve seen worse, but this is at the top half of my list for sure.
The buckle MUST be rounded and as thin as the nylon.
-Yes. Thank goodness…if this isn’t done then the strap is very uncomfortable and itchy.