NATO strap compatibility guide

What are NATO straps?

Let's get the important stuff out of the way first! NATO straps were developed by the British Ministry of Defence shortly after World War 1 and offer a few key benefts over 'standard' watch straps.

The main difference between 'standard' straps and 'NATO' straps is that they are one single 'belt' of nylon that threads behind the watch face - unlike a 'standard' strap which is usually two separate pieces.

The graphic below shows the MOD specifications for their G10 NATO strap.

NATO straps g10 specifications

This design feature adds extra security, and means your watch will stay on your wrist in the case that one of the watch pins comes undone. This is why the "NATO strap" style is popular with divers, and was even used by NASA astronauts.

NATO straps are made from ballistic nylon - which makes them breathable, washable and can won't tear or break (it's the same stuff bullet proof vests were made out of!).

As nylon is easily dyed - NATO straps soon became a way for the military personnel to showcase their regimental colours, and in turn - they become a fashion statement and entered the public arena.

Here at Watch Straps Australia we have 1.2mm thick - 280mm long nylon NATO straps (true to the original G10 NATO specification), and we also have leather NATO straps which come in at 1.4mm thick and 280mm long.

You can read more about the history of the NATO strap here.

NATO straps compared to standard 'two piece' straps

How to determine if your watch will work with a NATO strap

Good news is most watches will work with a NATO strap, but we recommend using the guide below before making your purchase.

First thing to check - spring bars

"Spring bars" are small metal pins which are the standard connector for watch straps.

Can you remove the current strap and re-insert the ‘bare’ spring bars (as shown below)? If so, your watch can use our NATO straps.

Daniel wellington watch replacement
Daniel wellington replacement strap

Second thing to check - strap connection

If you can't work out how to remove the current strap the next thing to check is if your strap finishes in a straight line. If so - this is a good indicator that your watch uses 'spring bars' and can use after-market straps.

This includes watches such as the Tomas Sabo "Glam Spirit" and "Divine" and "Code TS", the Marc Jaobs "classic" range, Rotary "Buckingham" range, and watches from MVMT, The Horse and Daniel Wellington.

Metal Watch Strap Replacement

NATO straps will cover heart rate sensors on smart watches

NATO straps thread through the back of the watch like a belt and unfortunately because of this - NATO straps will cover the hear-rate sensor on all smart watches.

This includes any watch with a heart-rate sensor, such as the Apple Watch, and Garmin smart watches.

If you would like to continue to use the heart-rate sensor, you will need to purchase a non-"NATO" (two-piece) strap like our two-piece leather watch straps here, or our rubber straps here.

Smart watch nato strap
Smart watch nato strap

Quick Release spring bars

Do you have "Quick Release" spring bars?

Some watches (such as MVMT and Garmin) have "quick release" spring bars embedded with in the strap.

Quick-release spring bars allow for the quick removal of the strap - but the downside is that they can't be re-used on other straps.

You can tell if you have 'quick release' spring bars by looking for a small toggle at the connection point of your strap and watch face.

If you have "quick release" spring bars

If your watch has 'embedded' quick-release spring bars, you need to purchase an additional set of spring bars before you can use any after-market straps.

Click here to view our range of spring bars

Metal bracelets

If you have metal strap which connects to the watch like the examples below - it's more than likely that our straps will work with your watch.

This includes watches such as the Rolex Submariner, Tag Heuer Careera, Seiko SKX007 and Rotary "Henley" range.

Rolex replacement NATO strap
NATO strap for metal watches

Watches that won't work

The following types of watches will not work with "NATO" straps.

If you watch has a band listed below you will need to purchase a replacement strap specific to that watch.

This includes (but is not limited to) - Timex Ironman, Swatch and Skagen watches.

Timex Ironman

Plastic straps that seem to mould to the watch

Straps that have a ‘inset’ or protruding section.

Straps that are glued/screwed in to the watch

Still unsure?

Review the the table below to see if your watch is compatible with NATO straps.

* Please note that NATO straps will cover the heartrate sensor on smart watches.

  Brand Comments Compatible
  Armani Most models supported
* Apple Watch* Our watch straps will work* with Apple watches, however first you will need to purchase an adaptor (there are plenty of options on eBay and etsy such as this). Also note - as Compatible - but single-piece NATO straps cover the back of the watch face it will cover and disable the heart-rate monitor on all smart watches
  Alessi Will only work with our standard Compatible - but single-piece NATO straps (our leather straps are too thich to go through the loops in the watch)
  Brietling Compatible
  Bell and Ross Compatible
  Casio Most models supported
  Casio G-Shock Gshock watches require adapters for most models
  Citizen Compatible
  Cluse Compatible
  Daniel Wellington Compatible
  Fossil Compatible
  Fossil Q Smart Watches* Compatible - but single-piece NATO straps will cover the heartbeat sensor
* Garmin* Most Garmins will use our 26mm strap*
  Guess Most models supported
  Hamilton Most models supported - including Hamilton Jazzmaster, Hamilton Field and Hamilton Khaki.
  IWC Most models supported
  Kapten & Son Compatible
  Kate Spade Most models supported
* LG G* Compatible - but single-piece NATO straps will cover the heartbeat sensor*
  Mimco Compatible
  Michael Kors Compatible
  MVMT Compatible
  Nixon Compatible
  Nomos Compatible
  Olivia Burton Compatible
  Omega Compatible
* Pebble* Compatible - but single-piece NATO straps will cover the heartbeat sensor*
  Rotary Watches Compatible
  Samsung Gear Compatible - but single-piece NATO straps will cover the heartbeat sensor*
* Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 Compatible - but single-piece NATO straps will cover the heartbeat sensor on these watches*. Uses a 20mm strap
  Seiko Compatible
  Skagen Partial support - after-market bands are not usually supported on most models.
  Swatch Not compatible - please contact Swatch for a replacement band
  Tag Heuer Compatible
  Ted Baker Compatible
  The Horse Compatible
  Thread Etiquette Compatible
  Thomas Sabo Compatible
  Timex Weekender Compatible
  Timex Marlin Compatible
  Timex Waterbury Compatible
  Timex Fairfield Compatible
  Timex Expedition Compatible
  Timex Marathon Click here to read more about the Timex marathon watches.
  Timex Ironman Most models are not supported - click here to read more about the Timex Ironman watches.
  Tissot Most models supported
  Ticwatch E Ticwatch E uses a 20mm strap*
  Tudor Includes Tudor Black Bay, Tudor Pelagos and Tudor Submariner

Comments (30)

Galaxy Watch3 (45mm) mystic silver

Hey mate, Im looking for a strap which I can switch out for the leather strap that comes with the watch. Im worried about sweat damage on the leather strap when working out or even when its a bloody hot day. So could you recommend some straps for me. Im pretty sure the galaxy watch 3 has a replaceable strap, not sure if it works with the NATO straps though. The watch has 22m straps, just in case you are wondering. Thanks once again -Tony


Watch Straps Australia Response

Hi Tony, Thanks for reaching out. Because of the way "NATO" straps work they will cover the heart-rate sensor, so if that's a non-negotiable unfortunately you'll need to look for a "two piece" strap (rather than a NATO). I'm also confident that the spring bars will be embedded in your current strap - so to use an after-market strap you'll need to pick up a new set (which you can find here - With all that out of the way, I'm confident that all of my straps will look great on that watch, but you really can't go wrong with my black NATO's (even the ones with the black buckles will look good). Alternatively you could grab this set which has 3 of my most popular seatbelt straps for $70 with free express shipping: Cheers, Brad


Should i use a 18 or 20mm strap for my grandads swiss army watch which measures 19mm between the lugs


Watch Straps Australia Response

Hi Chris, Thanks for reaching out. I would recommend a 20mm strap - you can find more information here: Please note that this only applies to our nylon straps, and if you try squeezing a 20mm leather strap in a 19mm lug width you may end up damaging the sides of the leather. Cheers, Brad

Citizen pro master BN0190-82 and Seiko 5

Hi, it is Brandan, I wills like to ask that I have that 2 watchs which I have already written on title. So I would like to buy 20 mm watch straps for both of them but I am not sure about my citizen. Do you think 20 mm watch strap is working with it? Thanks.


Watch Straps Australia Response

Hi Brandan, You will be able to use the 20mm strap on your Citizen, but because the Citizen has a 22mm lug width you will end up with a gap like this Thanks, Brad

Garmin Fenix 5X

What size for Garmin Fenix 5X?


Watch Straps Australia Response

Hi Geoff, That one will take a 26mm wide strap - however please note that my straps thread behind the watch face so will cover the heart rate sensor. If you would like to continue to use the heart rate sensor you will need to source a 'two piece' strap as shown on the Garmin site - Thanks, Brad

Do casio f91w watches work

Do casio f91w watches work with any of these watch band replacements?


Watch Straps Australia Response

Hi David, My 18mm nylon straps will work with the F91w. Please note that you'll need to choose from our 'standard' nylon range (which is 1.2mm thick) and not our seatbelt or leather straps (which are a lot thicker). Thanks, Brad

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