One of the fastest growing ways to give your beloved timepiece a new look is to swap your bracelet for a NATO watch band. These watch bands/straps are also commonly referred to as NATO’s, NATO straps, G10 straps and military straps. NATO watch bands come in an array of styles, colors and sizes allowing the wearer to change them with ease.

NATO bands are created from a synthetic woven polyamide material. The straps have proven to be durable, moisture resistant and ultra comfortable alternatives to standard bracelets and leather straps.

A premium NATO-style watch strap can allow you to match your watch with nearly any attire, and any occasion.

But curious minds want to know…

Where did these watch straps originate?

If you’re like most people, you immediately think about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization but like most people, you’d be mistaken! The original name for these types of watch straps is “G10” and trace back to the British Military as early as 1973.

In order to get a strap, a solider would need to complete a G1098 form, which is where the “G10” reference was born. These original NATO bands were 20mm in width and featured chrome plated brass hardware. The straps were extra-long so that soldiers could wear their watch over their uniform. Unlike the many styles and color variations available today, the original G10 straps were issued in only a single color – admiralty grey.

The straps were soon modified to uniquely represent different British military regiments. The British MoD used an alphanumeric code to identify all standardized items in supply. This number was known as the NATO Stock Number (NSN). This where the term “NATO watch band” derives from.

Why did British soldiers want NATO watch bands?

The original NATO straps were designed with practicality and dependability in mind.

  • The nylon material could stand up to the cold, wet conditions they often faced
  • The double-passthrough design eliminated single points of failure that could result in a lost watch. If one spring-bar breaks, the watch will remain attached to only a single bar.
  • Off-duty soldiers would typically hang their watch in their barracks. The third strap-keeper would stop watches from sliding off the strap and crashing to the floor.
rolex explorer on a bond style nato watch band

Who else wears NATO watch bands?

The earliest and most iconic person to wear a NATO strap is none other than James Bond! Sean Connery wore a Rolex Submariner on a NATO watch band in the feature film Goldfinger in 1964. This was 9 years before the NATO strap was officially established in 1973 by the British military. This combination was so iconic that these black, green & red striped NATO straps are now referred to as the “Bond NATO”.

NATO straps also became a staple for divers. The extra length allows them to secure their dive watch over their wetsuit. The pass-through design ensures that they don’t lose their watch into the abyss of the ocean.

Today NATO watch straps are a staple for any watch enthusiast. They’re comfortable, durable and practical. With the amount of colors and variations available, they are as stylish as they are functional.

At MORA, we offer premium NATO-Style nylon watch straps. We’ve spent years developing a superior woven nylon material that’s extremely comfortable, yet durable. Our straps feature uncompromising solid 316L stainless steel hardware.

Author MORA