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4 Ways To Wear A NATO Watch Strap

NATO Watch Strap

Aside from keeping track of time, wristwatches accentuate your overall look. Nothing says ‘ready to do business’ like a black analog watch to go with your tux and tie, or ‘ready for the gym’ like a bright-colored digital watch complementing your workout clothes. But, sometimes, they wish they could swap out the default strap for something more unique.

NATO Watch Strap

Enter NATO watch straps, a somewhat peculiar choice to hold your timepiece. Despite the name, these straps have less to do with the North American-European alliance and more with the stocking number the said alliance uses for its supplies. NATO countries, like the U.K., stocked up on such straps during the Cold War, but soon found a surplus of them afterward.

Today, you don’t have to go to a military surplus to get one. Many manufacturers create them for the civilian market, still made out of nylon, as first issued by the British military. The straps weigh more in pros than cons as nylon is a sturdy and water-resistant material. Its rugged look may not fit a sophisticated style, but it has its charms.

Another huge advantage—and the subject of this article—is the many ways of wearing these straps. You’ll probably need a few materials to pull off some of these.

1. Without The Under Keeper

A new strap at natostrapstore.com or other manufacturers typically has two layers: the upper layer that holds the timepiece in place and the so-called ‘under keeper’ that runs below it. A feature that dates back to its military use, the under keeper acts as a failsafe if the lug or spring bar fails. While practical, it doesn’t sit well with some who prefer the metallic feel brushing against their wrists.

Fortunately, you can do away with the under keeper with just a pair of scissors and a lighter. Snip off the part of the strap that runs underneath the timepiece, then heat the snipped ends with a lighter to prevent fraying. Now, your watch will feel just like any other.

2. Single Or Double Loop

If you want to keep your new watch strap intact, then the ways from this point forward are for you. The loop is the most common way of wearing one, either single or double.

A single loop needs you to insert your wrist after threading the longer end of the strap, but before tightening it. Meanwhile, a double loop involves tightening the strap before wearing it. The latter is more common among enthusiasts because it adds an extra safeguard from the former. But, if you don’t like a raised look for your watch, a single loop works better. 

These methods also apply to other nylon-based watch straps, like a Perlon strap. It only differs from aesthetic as Perlon straps have a woven appearance, unlike their rugged NATO counterparts. Other than that, they share the same sturdy properties.

3. Reversed Tuck

Learning the single or double loop (or even better, both) allows for more secure strapping, such as the reversed tuck. This method works for those who wear watches while using their laptops.

To allow enough strapping for the reversed tuck, position your timepiece at a far lower orientation. After performing either a single or double loop, tuck the remaining strapping into the metal loop. With a snug fit, the strap won’t be in a position to scratch your gadgets when using them.

4. Outward Or Inward Tail Tuck

Lastly, you can restrict the tail end from standing out too much with an outward or inward tail tuck method. The outward option involves bending the tail outside, helpful for making taking off your watch easier. But, for a cleaner look, consider the inward option and hide the tail in its own shadow.

The inward tail tuck is ideal for events like a cocktail party or job interview. It won’t be an eyesore to people who love paying attention to every detail. Meanwhile, the simpler outward tail tuck is better for casual settings.

Final Thoughts

However you want it, NATO watch straps offer enough versatility to pull off these wearing styles. But, as a parting tip, when shopping for one, do your due diligence and choose a design that you’re comfortable wearing most of the time. It’s ill-advised to wear bright strap colors when wearing a dark-colored suit to work; the contrast will look absurd.

Nevertheless, it’s incredible how a piece of military hardware has ended up in the wrists of every avid watch wearer worldwide. It goes to show an inevitable fact of life: given enough interest, anything a soldier uses or wears will have a civilian version.

What do you think?

Written by Mark Greene

Mark Greene is writer and life coach dedicated to helping men to perform at peak level. He shares dating advice, style tips and strategies for building wealth and success.