Have you also pimped up your new and old wristwatches with colourful NATO straps in the last years? I did and I will continue doing it even though the NATO strap now becomes original equipment of a watch.
I started to take of the original straps from my watches and to replace them by NATO straps some years ago. In the very beginning I bought them through the Australian website www.natostrap.com and today I buy them in Paris at “MisterChrono” located at 23, Rue Danielle Casanova near Place Vendôme or online at the shop´s website www.misterchrono.com.
I do not want to claim that I influenced some of the product managers of well-known brands but it might be. In the last years they only saw me wearing watches with a NATO strap and believe me I had to take off my watch quite often to show them the strap. Some said “that´s pure junk”, others attested me to have stile and found the straps as cool as I found and still find them.
For Blancpain I can claim that it is my responsibility that the brand now uses NATO straps or offers them as an alternative to their different others. Marc Hayek saw me wearing my beloved NATO straps all the time and then at a meeting he spontaneously decided that Blancpain watches should get them officially.
Where does the NATO strap come from? Here is a little bit of history for you:
The original NATO watchstraps were created by Great Britain’s Ministry of Defence in the early 1970s and in 1973; they became part of the standard equipment available to British soldiers. They took their name not from the Treaty Organisation but rather from the 13-dig it stock number recognized by members of NATO (it is also referred to as the NATO Stock Number or NSN). The soldiers could requisition a strap by filling out a form known as G1098, which was usually shortened to G10. Thus a member of the military who wore it did not call it a NATO strap but G10. These first NATO straps were made of grey woven nylon and its buckle and keepers were made of chromium-plated brass. One of their defining benefits was that the watch had a fixed pin ensuring that the strap would not break and that the watch would not be lost. The great length of the strap made it possible to f it the strap comfortably around a uniform.
I can´t tell who was the first one to use them officially, but I assume it was Tudor. The Tudor ones just look like NATO straps, but they are fixed to the watch in a different way. If you want to change them you need to take out the spring bars, whilst with a real NATO strap you just thread the strap through the mounted spring bars.
The video shows you how Tudor is making its Nylon straps and you clearly see that the strap is attached through the two spring bars.
There is one strange thing I have noticed: None of the SIHH-brands has presented a NATO-strap in January in Geneva. Did they ignore that trend? It looks like! Let´s now see how long it takes until Audemars Piguet, Baume & Mercier, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Panerai, Richard Mille or Roger Dubuis will jump on the bandwagon.
Now let´s have a look at the various brands all the sudden using OEM* NATO straps for their watches as original equipment.
(*Original Equipment Manufacturer)
Blancpain & Chopard …
>>> Discover the most exclusive NATO strap for the time being from Chanel