Today buying a watch can be quite the investment. Between servicing your watch and buying additional straps it’s a downright commitment. In my opinion buying straps is a much better and more affordable option than buying a new watch. The right strap can totally change the look of your watch and breath life back into it.
NATO straps have been all the rage in the last 5-10 years. These are straps made out of nylon or leather that make a watch more military or utilitarian . For those of you who are unaware, the NATO strap whose real name is actually the G10 made its debut in the British Ministry of Defence Standard (DefStan) 66-15. For soldiers to get their hands on one, they had to fill out a form known as the G1098, or G10 for short. Subsequently, they could retrieve the strap at their unit’s supply store of the same name.
MoD-issued G10 straps were nylon, only made in “Admiralty Grey” with a width of 20mm, and had chrome-plated brass buckle and keepers. Another key trait was a second, shorter piece of nylon strap attached to the buckle. Since the strap was to be used by the military, it needed to be functional and fail-safe. The extra nylon had a keeper at its end through which the main part of the strap passed through after it had been looped behind the watch This created a pocket, limiting the distance the case could move. As long as the strap was passed through properly and snugly on the wrist, the case would stay exactly where it was needed. The bonus feature of a strap that passes behind the watch is that in the event a spring bar breaks or pops out, the case will still be secured by the other spring bar.
Since 2013, after the return of Tudor watches back onto the watch scene, NATO straps have never been more popular and in demand. Today we can buy a plethora of NATO straps in different sizes, colors and textures. Tudor pays homage to those vintage models made in the sixties and seventies by including hand woven nylon NATO straps with most of their professional sports models. As far as I am concerned Tudor makes the best nylon NATO straps in the business. The hardware is awesome and totally compliments and adds to the quality of the product.
The only thing is that Tudor NATO straps are between $100-$200 and they don’t make a leather NATO strap option which would probably be more like $300-$400 if it was available. I own the Tudor Black Bay Red & NEW Tudor Black Bay Black. I wanted a leather NATO strap that would look good on both watches. I recently went on Ebay and bought one for under $22 with shipping. I thought it’s cheap enough to try, so why not?
I ordered one in worn saddle leather. I wasn’t expecting much. I wasn’t even sure if it would be real leather. I just wanted the look of a more casual and vintage aesthetic in a light brown/tan color. The company’s name that makes these straps is known as Clockwork Synergy. The strap came in a padded envelope in this very sturdy box. I was impressed with the packaging. Once I opened the box, the strap was in this cool translucent sleeve with a sticker that folded over with the size 22/22 written on it.
Once I lifted the sticker I was able to pull out the strap. The first thing I noticed was how soft and supple this strap is. This is indeed made out of 100% genuine leather. The buckle and keepers are made out of stainless steel. The buckle was wrapped in plastic giving the impression of a quality product.
The strap is very easy to put on. Luckily I had spring bars but in case you don’t you can order a pair for $1.95 and $4.95 for quick release ones as an option on their website separately. I must say the watch sits fairly snug and flush on the wrist and is quite comfortable. You can check out the official Clockwork Synergy website here. They have an incredible variety of straps in different materials, colors, sizes, and much more. For under$22 for genuine 100% leather how can you go wrong? I highly recommend because it doesn’t only look and feel good, it’s well made!