If you sometimes get bored of your watch, here is an inexpensive way to change the look by adding a NATO strap option. NATO straps are an inexpensive and functional alternative to conventional leather and stainless steel straps. With a small collection of straps you can change the look of your watch in a few seconds.


The strap that collectors call “NATO” (not to be confused with the Rhino, Waterborne, or Maratec Zulu straps) is based upon the standard watch strap issued by the British Ministry of Defense (MOD). Called the “G10” by members of the British military because of the form used to requisition the strap (and other items) from inventory, the reason it got its “NATO” name is because the strap has a NSN or NATO Stock Number which identifies this type of strap. Incidentally, the actual military spec strap comes in only one color (Admiralty Grey) and one width (20mm). The hardware specs have not changed (chrome plated brass), though at least some of the straps currently issued have stainless steel fittings. And there are actually TWO NATO stock numbers for the straps: Army/Navy (6645-99-124-2986) and RAF (6645-99-527-7059).

Here are 8 steps that should take you under 10 minutes:
1.Place your watch face down on flat, soft surface.
2.Place the strap removal tool in between the strap and base of the watch. Carefully pull the pin inward toward the strap. The pin should retract enough to be pulled away from the base of the watch. Remove the strap and repeat the process with the other strap.

3.Remove the pins from both straps and place off to the side. Move the old strap out of the way.

4.Using the strap removal tool we need to reattach the pins to the watch without a strap. Start by placing one side into the empty hole and holding that in place. With the top of the tool, retract the other side and carefully insert it into the hole on the opposite side. Be cautious not to scratch the watch. If you retract the pin too much before you set the pin, it could spring out and be difficult to find.  Repeat on the opposite side.

5.Once you have both pins in place without a strap it is now time to place your NATO strap into position.

6.Start at the top of the watch with the watch face toward you. Feed the strap through the pin and across the back of the watch looping back through the bottom pin. Pull the strap until all the slack is gone.
7.Take the bottom of the strap and attach it to the remaining loose piece. This piece will have a metal loop for you to feed your strap into. Make any slight adjustments needed so that your NATO strap is now flat.
8.Fasten your watch as normal and take the excess and tuck it into the top metal loop.

You will need to do some research on the size of your watch. If you have multiple watches that vary in size, you can get away with a slightly smaller width (20mm will work on a 22mm watch).  These straps come in various sizes from 18mm to 24mm. A useful guide can be found here from Strap Freak. The watch shown above is from Spinnaker Watches.

We have linked to the strap removal tool and a few NATO strap options below.

History of the NATO strap Via wristwatchreview.com

Ryan Sprance is the Founder and Chief Strategist of Kaihatsu Media, a Digital Marketing agency focused on developing brand awareness and sales growth through social media, optimizing digital marketing spend and developing Influencer Marketing programs. He is also the Creator & Editor-In-Chief of TheStylishMan.com, a men's lifestyle media company focused on Fashion, Fitness, Grooming, Gadgets and Guy Stuff and a Contributing Editor at Julius, a data driven Influencer Marketing platform.