How to wear a NATO watch strap

NATO watch straps are one of the most loved watch straps on the market today. Whether you’re an avid watch enthusiast or unaware of what exactly a NATO is, we’re sure you’ve crossed paths with one at least once. But even the most loyal owners can stumble when it comes to styling a NATO for specific outfits. Here’s how you can perfectly match your NATO strap to your chosen outfit.

What is a NATO watch strap?

Firstly, what exactly is a NATO watch strap? NATO watch straps are based on the standard watch strap issued by the British Ministry of Defence back in 1973. They’re called NATO because they have an official Nato Stock Number (NSN), which is used to identify standard material items of supply for all NATO countries. 

Since the late 70s, the strap has seen little modification and has stayed true to its military roots. Nowadays, the NATO has become one of the most in-demand watch straps thanks to its timeless design. So if you’re looking for a fun yet functional strap to show off your watch, then NATO is definitely the way to go. 

How do NATO straps differ from a "normal" watch strap?

There are several key differences between a NATO watch strap and a “normal” watch strap. These differences can be seen as what makes the NATO stand apart from other straps. These include: 

  1. Added comfort: NATO straps are made from a durable nylon material that slides underneath the case so that skin never has to touch the metal. By using a breathable nylon, which wicks moisture away from the skin, the NATO won’t make your wrist feel uncomfortable or sweaty.
  2. Easier to swap over: While most “normal” straps come in two parts and are fixed to the watch face with two small pins (spring bars), NATO’s slip-through straps are a single piece of fabric which threads through the watch strap, between the spring bars and then around your wrist (like a belt). 
  3. Easier to secure: NATOs have a trademark extra strap and buckle, which is used to help secure the watch around the wrist. Each one attaches separately to each of your watches spring bars, which means that the strap will stay on your wrist if a spring bar pops out. 
  4. Easier to install: Once you’ve removed the original strap, interchanging between NATO slip-through straps only takes a matter of seconds. Plus, no special tools are required. Click here to check out our easy-to-follow installation guide.

How to wear a NATO watch strap

How to install a NATO

The great thing about a NATO strap is its versatility. With so many designs to choose from and how easily our NATO straps are compatible with your Daniel Wellington and other watch brands (check your watch here), you’re guaranteed to find the perfect NATO to suit any type of outfit. Here’s two completely different ways you can wear a NATO strap:

Classic leather watch strap

1. Tailored look

If you’re wanting to go extra formal with a neat shirt and blazer look and need a watch strap to match, a traditional nylon NATO strap is the way to go. If your watch has a clean face and a tailored, elegant finish a nylon strap with the trademark coloured stripes is a great way to emphasise a classic look. 

However, if a nylon strap feels too laid back, you can always opt for a classic leather NATO strap instead. With a darker toned suit, a black, dark brown or matte brown leather strap is a perfect pairing. This will bring out the intensity of your sleek, formal look. Another classic combination is a navy blue suit with a tan leather accessories. A tan leather strap is a great way to show off your personal style and add a bit of interest to your outfit. 

Women's NATO strap

2. Casual look

NATO watch straps are fantastic for formal looks but of course, they work with casual outfits as well. So if you’re looking for something to wear day-to-day, a simple nylon strap in a solid colour is perfect. The extra security of the NATO will ensure you can run for the bus, zigzag through a busy supermarket or squeeze onto a packed train, never worrying your watch will come loose.

Or if you’re the type who likes to keep their clothing simplistic and let the accessories speak for the outfit, then you might like to try a striped coloured strap. Some versatile colours include navy, black or brown to ensure things are easy to match up.

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 17 August 2018 by Watch Straps Australia (Brad Farleigh)

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