After wearing our admiralty grey NATO strap for a month now, I have fallen back in love with it. At Enoksen, we have introduced a number of new straps and bracelets recently, which has made us forget about the humble NATO strap…
Humble it may be, it is nonetheless extremely comfortable to wear, robust, elegant, secure, and as relevant in the surf as it is in the board room. Perhaps most of all - a great companion to any tool watch, and a strap that doesn’t try to upstage the timepiece it’s attached to.
Even though the NATO strap has been the choice of professionals for more than 40 years, it has taken some time for it to capture the imagination of the masses and to achieve mainstream popularity.
Enoksen Watch Company offers at least one NATO strap with most of our watch models. We believe that nothing beats a NATO strap. It is ideally suited for an active lifestyle, yet retaining an elegance and suitability for everyday use.
The straps are made from fast drying ballistic nylon webbing that allows it to be easily washed and dried within minutes, living up to its low maintenance reputation. This means that the NATO strap will not rot or break like conventional leather and silicon straps, straps that have been the more popular choice in the past.
The admiralty grey NATO strap was the first colour chosen by the UK Ministry of Defence in 1973. All subsequent NATO straps trace their origins back to this particular variant. The original specification of what we today term "the NATO strap" was laid down by the UK Ministry of Defence and was called Defence Standard 66-47 Issue 2 Publication Date 30 March 2001. The specifications which preceded this were Def Stan 66-47 Issue 1 dated 13 November 1992 and two earlier standards, Def Stan 66-15 (Part 1) Issue 1 – Strap (Nylon) dated 30 November 1973 and Def Stan 66-15 (Part 2) Issue 1 – Strap (Leather/Nylon) dated 31 January 1974.
Nearly 50 years on, this choice has since expanded from grey to RAF Blue, Black, Navy Blue, and then to the iconic James Bond dark grey/light grey pattern strap as well as Olive Green. Following these, a large number of variants in regimental colours, such as Search and Rescue SAR (bright orange) and different designs in national colours, police unit colours and various camouflage options for specific situations. The high-tech, ballistic nylon webbing is ideally suited for use in military watch straps due to its robustness, comfort and resilience.
With credentials like this, the NATO watch strap is perfect for all extreme activities. The design characteristics reduce the total risk of losing a watch to virtually zero thanks to its clever yet simple design. These straps are held securely at two different points, making it very difficult for it to come off the wrist.
Beyond the UK, NATO straps are frequently used by military units around the world, having a large fan base among serving military to use on a wide variety of military watches.
When I first came in contact with a Nato strap was when I bought a CWC watch in early 2000s (MoD issued divers watch for British Navy/SF) They have fixed lugs for the straps that you can´t take off, simply because the watch always should be secure and never come off due to rough situations. BUT, I see on almost every picture with a watch that sports a Nato strap has the end part just folded in behind the two metal loops. On the CWC the end part was first led trough the two loops, then over the last loop and turned back under the second. That way the strap is almost locked and secured. That is the purpose of the two metal loops, to extra secure the strap. The Nato strap is the only strap you can have on a CWC watch with it´s fixed lugs, that´s probably why it was invented;-) One problem is that many of the Nato straps today is too short to do the securing loop…