What is a NATO Strap?

1:17 PM

Arguably one of the most popular wristwatch accessories, the NATO strap is commonly seen on Rolex watches in place of the metal bracelets provided by the watchmaker. These long nylon replacement straps find their origins in the British Ministry of Defense and have become very popular with watch enthusiasts.
Admiralty Gray NATO Strap Available at monkeyswag.com (photo: Monkey Swag)
The name 'NATO' comes from the 13 digit North American Trade Organization (NATO) Stock Number that was used by NATO countries to identify this item when it was issued by the British Ministry of Defense in 1973. They also go by 'G10' straps, which refers to the form used to order the original straps.

The first NATO or G10 strap was issued in Admiralty Gray, like the one shown in the photo above from Monkey Swag, a producer of watch straps based in the UK. It was 280 mm in length and 20 mm wide with 12 holes and a chrome plated brass buckle. Now, they are available in many colors and styles. These straps have been seen on James Bond and celebrities like David Beckham in the past and are popular with members of Rolex Forums as well.

In terms of aesthetic, there are differing opinions on how these straps go with luxury timepieces. While some appreciate the vintage military look, others find them too casual. Nonetheless, they are the most common and widely available replacement watch straps on the market. These straps are priced at less than $30 US from most manufacturers.

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