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Hate it all you want, NATO is the best watch strap there is


When you're sick of terrible watch straps, NATO always answers the call.

NATO straps are cheap. For a while I avoided these things, but now I basically won't use anything else on my watches.

I will use a NATO strap on everything from my Casio F105W to my Orient Tristar because they just work so well.

This is what I've found out to be true concerning other watch strap types.

Stainless steel bracelet

I have hair on my arms because I'm a man. I've had watches with lightweight and heavy stainless steel bracelets on them. No matter what I use, they always pull arm hair, and it's really annoying.

In hotter weather, these things are awful because when sweat happens, the bracelet sticks to the skin.


There are various grades of leather out there. Most of them are terrible. The only one I found that was really nice was very thin, but it fell apart in less than a year because that's what thin leather does with regular use.

Leather straps do not age well. The edges fray, the strap holes stretch almost too easily, the stitching always comes apart regardless of how much you spent on it... it's just terrible.


These actually hold up quite well, but with regular use they discolor quickly, and in hotter weather they stick to the skin even worse than stainless steel does even when the strap is worn loose. And when that happens it leaves nasty marks on the skin, similar to the kind you see on the forehead when you wear a baseball cap for too long on a really hot day.

I will give the resin strap a nod for the fact they are the easiest to clean, but that's its only perk.


A Velcro (i.e. hook-and-loop) strap on a nylon band does work well, but there's simply no way to make Velcro look good. It always looks cheap, and makes cheap watches look even cheaper.

The NATO nylon strap is the best thing going

This strap doesn't stick to the skin in hotter weather, doesn't pull arm hair, takes a long while to wear out, doesn't discolor easily, doesn't leave marks on the skin, and looks better than Velcro because of the buckles and loops.

In addition, because NATOs are so cheap, they're easily replaceable.

Why do watch snobs hate NATO straps?

They hate them because they're cheap and also because a $5 NATO is more durable than their $100+ leather strap. Snobs always brag about "paying for quality" with their overpriced leather. Nylon is better than leather. It just is. There's simply no arguing that point.

There are even NATO straps now made from seat belt material that are even stronger and more durable than the original nylon, which is already highly durable to begin with.

NATO is the best watch strap there is, period.

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