About ten years ago, the popularity of antique watches made the forgotten accessory, the NATO strap, the focus of attention. The prototype of this strap is a woven nylon strap worn by NATO air force fighter pilots. Thin, simple, affordable, and has all the benefits of any fabric. The similarities between these straps and clothing are obvious: stylish, colorful, washable, skin-friendly, and unlikely to cause a rash.
Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph with NATO Strap
Although popular, it has been downgraded to a ‘spare’ strap for a long time. Newer watches often come with leather straps or metal bracelets instead of NATO straps, and brands are used to treating them as cheap accessories. So far, NATO straps have not completely shaken off the stereotype of the low-end market, so consumers often buy them individually through professional watch accessories retailers. The same is true for umbrella straps, which are woven from thin nylon ropes and are another product with military background.
OMEGA Speedmaster ‘Ultraman’ Watch with NATO Strap
Some brands have understood the benefits of providing customers with a high quality NATO strap in addition to the standard calfskin or crocodile strap. Omega even adopted the NATO strap as a feature and launched a limited series of high-end products. Montblanc recently joined the 1858 series with high-quality French-made straps. Some models in the TAGHeuer range also come with fabric straps. Anonimo makes the NATO strap a signature feature of the Nautilo series.
The RICHARD MILLE RM 50-03 McLaren F1 watch and RM 67-02 sprint watch are paired with elastic straps.
RICHARDMILLE is interested in the technical properties of materials. The brand is some special models, such as the carbon fiber flyback tourbillon watch, equipped with a colored elastic strap without buckle, in pursuit of extreme lightness. The price of watches and accessories is quite different, but the task of reducing weight by a few grams has been successfully completed.
TAG Heuer Calibre 5 watch with fabric strap
The NATO strap was very successful and now faces competition from other fabrics. The recent trend continues to accelerate for obvious reasons. Materials, colors, thicknesses, knots, textures, patterns, and textiles offer almost unlimited possibilities. In 2017, Chopard launched the L.U.CXP watch with a blue cashmere strap. Other color schemes are now available.
Bronze Anonimo Epurato watch with Roderne strap; Hublot classic fusion ‘independent Italy’ chronograph with Rubinacci wool strap; Chopard L.U.C XP watch with cashmere strap
Hublot collaborates with independent Italian and Naples bespoke master Rubinacci to launch the collection of the same name and equip it with a strap made of suit fabric, including Houndstooth, Prince of Wales and other classic models. Sometimes these materials are even used to make dials. Anonimo paired the Epurato bronze watch with a roden strap made of green wool. However, there is a disadvantage. These fine wools are very delicate, so they are usually sewn on a stronger lining made of calfskin, crocodile or rubber. This may result in less comfortable wearing, but style is guaranteed. (Photo / text watch home compiled by Xu Chaoyang)