Learn About NATO Straps
Here at Crown & Buckle, we offer a variety of NATO strap styles. No matter what your personal preference is, we've got you covered with the perfect NATO strap.
CHOOSING A STRAP
With an endless array of watch styles on the market and varying preferences for features and materials, we have four core lines of NATO straps to fit any need. You may already have a favorite, but if not, this guide will help you get started.
Our Standard and Premium NATOs are great starting point for most users. Standard NATOs are durable, inexpensive, and have a wide variety of colors & patterns. Premium NATOs have upgraded features, and cover the essential colors & patterns. The 3-ring Heavy Duty is a nice option for a robust, simplified design, with the 5-ring Heavy Duty being the thickest, bulkiest nylon strap that we carry. When in doubt, we suggest starting with a Premium NATO.
Our Supreme NATO straps take things to the next level. The Supreme NATO straps feature plush "seat-belt" style nylon, expertly finished machined/beveled hardware, exceptional sewing, and perfect ultrasonic sizing holes and tips. These are easily the nicest NATO straps we've ever sold.
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Common Traits Across All Options
One thing shared by all NATO straps is that they are a long one-piece strap, that passes underneath the watch itself. By passing "through" the spring bars and underneath the watch, you are protected against the watch falling off your wrist if one of your spring bars fails. As covered below, most of the straps have a second "flap" or layer under the watch as well. The original intention for that extra layer is to keep the strap from being able to slide up and down the strap. In practice this layer typically isn't essential, and it can optionally be removed to reduce bulk and make the NATO strap a bit more subtle (see our Modification section on the Strap Changing page).
Standard NATO Straps
Medium weave 1.25mm thick ballistic nylon. Slim rectangular hardware features a shiny polished finish, and is made exclusively from 304L stainless steel. Ultrasonic cutting of the strap and sizing holes leaves a sealed edge that protects against fraying. High-frequency welded construction fuses the nylon material to itself, creating a strong bond. Standard NATO straps have a second "flap" of nylon as explained in the Common Traits. These straps are a great option due to their comfortable nylon, breadth of color options, and affordable price point. Click to shop.
Premium NATO Straps
Premium (tighter) weave 1.25mm thick ballistic nylon. Slim rectangular hardware is made exclusively from 304L stainless steel. Shiny polished, matte brushed, black PVD, and yellow gold plated hardware options to select from. Ultrasonic cutting of the strap and sizing holes leaves a sealed edge that protects against fraying. The strap is both sewn together and high-frequency welded for strength. These straps are set apart from our regular NATOs mainly due to the higher quality nylon weave, hardware finish options, and stitched construction. These have the second "flap" under the watch. When new, they are slightly stiffer than a regular NATO due the tighter nylon weave. On the wrist, they are just as comfortable as Standard NATOs. These are our most popular nylon strap option, since they span the essential colorways, and have great features for just a few dollars extra. Click to shop.
Heavy Duty NATO Straps
Heavy weave 1.6mm thick ballistic nylon. Large rounded hardware is made exclusively from 304L stainless steel. Matte brushed or black PVD hardware options to select from. Ultrasonic cutting of the strap and sizing holes leaves a sealed edge that protects against fraying. The strap is both sewn together and high-frequency welded for strength. These straps are about as thick as possible for a one-piece strap. They are the way to go if you are looking for something sturdy, stiff, and bulky to combine with a large tool watch, or to help a small watch wear larger. They are available with or without the second "flap" (see below). Click to shop.
3-Ring Option: On these straps, the second "flap" is simply omitted from the strap. The strap is just one strip of nylon, with no extra materials. It wears more slim than the 5-ring option.
5-Ring Option: This is the most bulky NATO strap that we offer. It retains the second "flap" of nylon, like a regular NATO strap, but using the larger hardware and thicker nylon of the Heavy Duty straps.
Supreme NATO Straps
"Seatbelt" weave 1.4mm thick ballistic nylon. Machined, angular hardware is made with 316L stainless steel, and available in finely brushed or matte black PVD-coated finishes. The top-grade ballistic nylon is incredibly dense, but devoid of any perceptible ridges like in traditional NATO nylon weaving. This means the nylon surface is completely smooth, and the feel in your hand is similar to an automotive seat belt. The nylon is cut with a state of the art ultrasonic machine, leaving perfectly sealed tips and sizing holes that have no irritating bumps/burrs. These are, hands-down, the nicest NATO straps we've ever sold. Click to shop.
Leather NATO Straps
Our Leather NATO variants are available in 2 styles: traditional NATO, and 3-ring. Traditional Leather NATOs feature 1.2mm thick leather, slim rectangular 304L stainless steel hardware, and have the second "flap" underneath the watch. Conversely, 3-ring Leather NATOs feature 1.6-1.8mm thick leather, large rounded 304L stainless steel hardware, and are a single layer strap without the second "flap" underneath the watch. Both options include a construction that is both sewn and glued for added strength. There is no noticeable comfort difference between the two options, so pick whichever appeals to you best from an aesthetic perspective. Click to shop.
INSTALL & WEAR
Swapping nylon NATO straps is quick & easy, and doesn't require tools. With their ease of use, inexpensive price, and supreme comfort, you'll have a killer rotation of NATO straps in no time. See also our How-To section (which includes Leather NATO instructions as well).
Click images to enlarge. The far right photo shows the NATO and Heavy Duty hardwares.
From left to right: Standard NATO, Premium NATO, Heavy Duty 3-Ring, Heavy Duty 5-Ring.
Maintaining Your NATO
Keeping your nylon strap fresh is quite easy! It can be hand washed with mild hand soap and warm water. Whenever you wash it or otherwise get it wet, let it air dry. After swimming, rinse the strap with fresh water to wash away any chlorine or salt.
Being a densely woven fabric with hundreds of nylon strands, it's normal to have some fraying on the strap throughout its lifespan. To repair a fray, simply pass the flame of a lighter close to the nylon (without directly touching it). A couple of seconds of radiant heat is all it takes to seal the fray up, good as new.