Home » Blog » A Brief History of the NATO Watch Strap

Without a doubt, the best-selling types of replacement watch straps within the Clockwork Synergy inventory are the so-called “NATO” straps.  It isn’t hard to imagine why that’s the case.  Clockwork Synergy NATO watch straps are made of a durable, yet flexible, high-quality nylon blend.  These characteristics give our NATO straps an exceptional level of performance, demonstrating an uncanny resistance to dirt, water, and wear without compromising the strap’s classic style or versatility with any type of watch.  In short, the fact that people want a strap that is equal parts utilitarian and fashionable makes it pretty hard to keep them on our shelves for long!

nato watch strap

Something we have observed over the years is that the people who seek out NATO watch straps tend to be worldly and have discerning taste.  For many worldly people, the “NATO” moniker may conjure up an immediate association with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a political-military alliance comprised of some of the world’s most powerful and influential nations.  It would be a fair assumption that a NATO watch strap might be the standard issue watch strap for the military forces of the NATO nations, and that the label would have been derived from that.

In actuality, however, the NATO designation has very little to do with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.  The sturdy-yet-flexible nylon straps that we’ve come to call NATO straps were actually a distinctly British invention.  The British armed forces needed a standard issue watch strap for their service members.  The military brass chose a nylon weave because it exhibited both durability and flexibility without sacrificing performance in wet or otherwise dirty conditions.  The strap came to be known at the “G10 strap,” so named because of the simple form a service member would have to fill out to be issued one.  Throughout much of the Cold War era, the strap was as much a part of the standard British military uniform as the boots or the helmet.  It was so ubiquitous in British military and defense circles that Sean Connery’s James Bond character can be seen sporting a NATO strap in several of his movies.  And if it was good enough for the Queen’s suave secret agent, it was certainly good enough for regular folks.

NATO straps began popping up in military surplus shops toward the end of the Cold War, where the NATO designation seems to have first appeared in the form of a NATO Surplus Number attached to each strap.  The general public soon became hooked.  It was the kind of strap that could excel equally in the business world, at social gatherings, and in the outdoors on the weekends.  When surplus stores ran out, many manufacturers discovered that they could make money recreating the original military-grade straps.  And thus, an industry was born.

Nowadays, Clockwork Synergy NATO style straps are made from much more advanced nylon material and enhanced with higher quality hardware.  Our straps can take a beating on the weekends and still last for years as a fashion statement at the office.  They are compatible with almost any kind of watch face, and in fact many of our customers trust our NATO straps to fasten their most prized and expensive watches.  Take a look at our inventory, choose from our wide array of colors and patterns, and join the NATO phenomenon today!