As with so much men’s wear (and as the name suggests) the NATO-style watch strap traces its casual yet utilitarian roots to military use.
Its cold-war debut came in 1973 as the standard-issue strap of the British Ministry of Defence (MoD). Soldiers first dubbed it the G10 after the form used to requisition it. However, the more popular term NATO, referencing the strap’s NATO Stocking Number (NSN), stuck.
The original 20-mm-wide woven nylon straps were rather sober, coming only in Admiralty grey. They evolved with stripes as soldiers adopted their regimental colors. The common element was that rather than attaching to the case with spring bars between the lugs, NATO straps passed through the spring bars and under the case, so if one bar failed the watch stayed on the wrist. Extra security came from an additional piece of nylon attached to the buckle. It passed through two metal keepers and then folded back over and tucked under a keeper.
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March / April 2017