THE COOLEST WATCH STRAP EVER
The NATO strap is without question the coolest watch strap going around. Colourful, affordable and easily interchangeable, you can turn one watch into three simply by choosing a few different colour schemes. They also happen to be extremely durable and super comfortable on the wrist, not to mention the fact they look super cool. What more could you ask for?
The humble NATO strap is much more than a simple fashion accessory, however. As its name suggests, it was originally created for military use, although surprisingly, not specifically for NATO soldiers. In fact, the NATO name is something of a misnomer. According to the history books, the term “NATO strap” only came into use as a shortened version of NATO Stocking Number (NSN), which is about the only connection with the strap that now carries its name.
In reality, the NATO strap originally came to life with a much more boring name. The incredibly non-descript “Strap, Wrist Watch” first appeared in the British Ministry of Defence Standard (DefStan) 66-15 in 1973. It couldn’t sound less sexy, right? For British soldiers to get their hands on one, they had to fill out a form known as the G1098, or G10 for short, which quickly became the new nickname for the straps. Still not as cool as NATO, but a step closer at least.
Mind-numbing names aside however, the specifications for the new strap were significantly more descriptive. All Ministry of Defense issued G10 straps had to be made from nylon, they could only be “Admiralty Grey” (yawn), with a width of 20mm, and had chrome-plated brass buckle and keepers.
Another key trait was a second, shorter piece of nylon strap attached to the buckle with a keeper at its end through which the main part of the strap passed through after it had been looped behind the watch. This ensures the watch sits snugly on the wrist and doesn’t move about.
While the general specifications haven’t changed much over time, the NATO straps did thankfully became more colourful as British military regiments began wearing straps that showed off their regimental colors, with stripes of all colors and combinations. Nowadays there are tons of different colour schemes available to suit just about all tastes and occasions.