Battle of the Bands: Deciding Between NATO and Perlon Straps for Your Watch


Have you ever found yourself confused about which strap to choose between NATO and Perlon? Well, fear not, we are here to help you make an informed decision. In this article, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of NATO and Perlon straps, so that you can choose the right one for your watch.

Brief Overview of NATO and Perlon Straps

NATO strap is a one-piece strap made from woven nylon material that passes behind the watch face and loops through the spring bars on either side of the watch. It originated in the British military during World War II as a way to secure watches to soldiers' wrists while they were out in the field.

A Perlon strap is similar to a NATO strap in that it is also made of synthetic material, but it has a braided design that provides flexibility and breathability. It is believed to have been invented in Switzerland in the 1960s as an alternative to metal or leather straps.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Strap for Your Watch

The right watch strap can make all the difference when it comes to aesthetics, comfort, and functionality. It can transform a plain-looking timepiece into a stylish accessory, or make an already-great-looking watch even better by drawing attention to its unique features. In addition to appearance, choosing the right strap for your watch can affect comfort levels - some materials such as leather can be more comfortable than synthetic materials like nylon or rubber - as well as durability - certain materials will last much longer than others depending on how you use your watch.

Overall, both NATO and Perlon straps offer unique characteristics that make them popular choices among collectors and enthusiasts. However, before making a decision on which one is right for you, consider factors such as style preference, occasion suitability, material durability, and watch size and shape.

Pros and Cons of NATO Straps

Durable and long-lasting

One of the key advantages of NATO straps is that they are incredibly durable and long-lasting. Made from high-quality materials like nylon, these straps can withstand wear and tear without showing signs of damage.

They are also resistant to water, which makes them ideal for sports or outdoor activities. Additionally, NATO straps can be easily cleaned with soap and water, making maintenance simple.

Available in a wide range of colours and patterns

Another advantage of NATO straps is their versatility when it comes to style. Available in a wide range of colours and patterns, these straps offer options for every occasion or outfit.

From bright neon colours to classic stripes or camo prints, there's a strap for everyone's taste. This variety also allows watch enthusiasts to mix and match their NATO straps with different outfits or moods.

Easy to change out for different looks

NATO straps are designed with quick-release spring bars that make them easy to change out without the need for any tools. This feature allows watch owners to switch up the look of their timepieces quickly and easily in just a matter of seconds. It also means you don't have to take your watch to a jeweller every time you want to switch out your strap.

Can be bulky on smaller watches

While there are many advantages to NATO straps, one potential downside is that they can be bulky on smaller watches due to their thickness. This makes them less suitable for more delicate timepieces or those with smaller faces as they can overpower the watch itself.

May not fit all watch styles or sizes

NATO straps may not be compatible with all watch styles or sizes due to their design. For example, some dress watches may require thinner bands that enhance the watch's sophistication. Additionally, thicker straps may be too big for some wrist sizes or shapes.

Not as breathable as other materials

NATO straps may not be the best option for those who prefer highly breathable watch bands. While nylon is a durable material, it is not the most breathable. This can lead to discomfort or sweat buildup under the strap, which can make wearing a watch uncomfortable over time.

While NATO straps are an excellent option for those looking for a durable and versatile strap that doesn't require any special tools to change out quickly and easily, they may not be the best choice for everyone. In particular, those with smaller watches or who prefer highly breathable materials may want to explore other options.

Pros and Cons of Perlon Straps

The Lightweight and Comfortable Perlon Straps

Perlon straps are beloved by watch enthusiasts for their lightweight, comfortable feel on the wrist. Made of woven nylon, Perlon straps conform to the shape of your wrist, creating a perfect fit that won't slide around as leather or metal bands might.

The flexibility of the material also means that it can be adjusted to fit a variety of wrist sizes without any hassle. Another key benefit of Perlon straps is their breathability.

Unlike leather or metal bands, which can trap sweat against your skin, Perlon's open weave design allows air to circulate freely, keeping you cool and comfortable even in warm weather. This makes them an excellent choice for sports and outdoor activities when you want a strap that won't get heavy or soggy with sweat.

The Cons: Less Durable and Limited Color Options

While there are many benefits to choosing a Perlon strap for your watch, there are also some downsides to consider. One issue is that they are generally less durable than other materials like leather or metal.

While they can hold up well over time with proper care, they may not last as long as other types of straps under heavy use. Another potential downside is the limited colour options available for Perlon straps.

While there are certainly plenty of colours and patterns to choose from, you may not find as wide a range as you would with NATO or leather bands. Additionally, since their casual look doesn't lend itself well to more formal occasions like weddings or black-tie events, it may be necessary to switch out your strap if you need to dress up your watch.

While Perlon straps have many benefits that make them an attractive option for watch wearers who prioritize comfort and breathability over formality or durability concerns; they may not be the best choice for everyone. Be sure to consider your own needs and preferences when selecting a strap for your watch, and weigh the pros and cons carefully to make the right choice.

NATO vs Perlon: Which One Should You Buy?

Choosing between a NATO and a Perlon strap ultimately comes down to personal preference and the occasion. Both straps offer unique advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to consider your style, watch size and shape, as well as the occasion for which you will be wearing your watch.

Style Preference

If you enjoy sporting a more casual look, then the NATO strap may be the better option for you. The wide range of colours and patterns available in NATO straps can add a touch of personality to any outfit. On the other hand, if you prefer a more unassuming look that still retains an air of elegance, then Perlon may suit your style better due to its simplicity and lightweight feel.

Watch Size, Shape, Color

The size and shape of your watch should also be taken into consideration when choosing between these two materials. For example, smaller watches may appear bulky with a NATO strap while larger watches might benefit from its robustness. Additionally, colour coordination is essential when making a choice between these two materials.

If your watch has vibrant colours such as red or blue on it already or if it’s made from stainless steel or titanium, then a NATO strap with colourful stripes would enhance its look. If on the other hand, your timepiece is more subdued in colour such as black or white or it's gold plated then Perlon's plain colour would complement its design better.


The occasion for which you plan to wear your watch is another significant factor that can help steer you towards either material. If you are attending formal events such as weddings or corporate meetings that require an executive dress code then leather or metal bands are the most appropriate options for you due to their sophistication while on casual occasions such as brunch with friends, a bike ride or a picnic in the park then NATO straps are perfect for their durability and colour options which can express your personality better.

Considerations before making a choice

When choosing between NATO and Perlon straps, you should consider a few factors. Firstly, think about your daily routine; if you have an active lifestyle, a NATO strap might be better suited for you due to its durability and water-resistant qualities. On the other hand, Perlon straps are lightweight and breathable, making them ideal for those who value comfort. 

Secondly, think about the style you're going for. NATO straps come in a range of designs and colours, while Perlon straps are typically available in solid colours. If you're looking for a more subtle look, Perlon might be the right choice for you. 

Which one is right for you? Ultimately, the choice between NATO and Perlon straps comes down to personal preference. Try both types on and see which one feels more comfortable on your wrist. Consider the factors mentioned above, as well as the price point and availability in your area. With the right strap, your watch will not only look stylish but will also feel like an extension of your personal style.


Choosing between NATO and Perlon straps ultimately comes down to personal preference and occasion. Both materials offer unique advantages that can enhance the overall appearance of your watch. It is important to consider factors such as style preference, watch size and shape as well as occasion when making this decision so that you choose what suits your needs best.

No matter what choice you make between these two materials in terms of comfortability and style both have their benefits over traditional metal bracelets or leather bands. With either NATO or Perlon strap options available to match every colour outfit under the sun - each having its unique charm - one thing is certain: You will elevate your style game by switching up from wearing just one type of band all year round!

Watch Straps Australia have a wide range of NATO straps for you to choose from. Shop the entire collection today to find the perfect strap for you.

Posted on 28 June 2023 by Brad

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