Rolex Submariner-Bond NATO strap-Wrist shot

Rolex NATO Strap Guide [Best Rolex NATO Straps]

The NATO strap is one of the most popular strap options on the market today. The nato strap is stylish, practical, and is easy to mix and match with your timepiece. When many Rolex owners consider which type of strap they should use on their Rolex watch, they end with the NATO strap. But with so many different Nato straps on the market to choose from, it can feel a bit overwhelming to know which you should choose. In this article, we are taking a look at some of the best nato strap options for Rolex watches. But before that, let’s go into the details about nato straps and what you should think about when making your pic.

NATO strap – background and history

NATO Watch Strap British Ministry of Defence Standard 66-47

Specifications and dimensions of a classic “G10 NATO” strap

The nato strap has its beginning in 1973 when they become a British Ministry of Defence Standard. Unlike what many people believe, the name NATO has nothing to do with the intergovernmental military alliance known as The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, usually abbreviated ”NATO”.b Instead, the NATO straps were issued to soldiers who requested one. To request receiving one, the soldier had to fill out a requisition form known as a G1098. The straps were originally nicknamed and known as ”G10” straps, but eventually acquired the name NATOb With this said, the NATO strap has a close connection with military use, which obviously has a lot to do with its performance. NATO straps are tough, durable, can handle water, and ensure the watch remains on the wrist even if one spring bar fails. If you want to know more and in detail about NATO straps, their history and different examples check out our in-depth article All you need to know about NATO straps.

NATO straps for Rolex watches

One of the reasons why NATO straps are so popular today is that they are so versatile. They work exceptionally well for most types of watches and also for most occasions. Whilst NATO straps have, by nature, a slightly sporty style and personality and thus naturally tend to work best for sports watches, the fact that they come in so many different styles and designs have made it possible to wear them with virtually any type of watch. Whilst a NATO strap will work extremely well together with a Rolex Submariner (which is one of the most iconic NATO strap pairings there is), it will also work well with a Datejust or a Yacht-Master if you want to achieve a more casual and versatile look. Two huge benefits of the NATO strap are that they are affordable and come in an endless selection of designs. This is great news because it means you can build a collection of NATO straps and then change them depending on your mood, watch, outfit, and occasion. As a matter of fact, switching to a NATO strap is one of the most effective ways to give your watch a new style and look if you’re ever starting to get bored of your watch.

The classic Bond NATO strap

Rolex Submariner-Bond NATO strap-Wrist shot

Rolex Submariner 116610LN paired with a Bond NATO strap

The NATO strap has, as you can see, existed for a long time. But the NATO strap wasn’t widely used by the public until some decades later. It is only in the last decade or so that the NATO strap has become a go-to strap for watch brands and watch enthusiasts looking to give their watch a versatile and stylish look. One major event in the history of the NATO strap that helped popularize it was when James Bond, played by Sean Connery wore a NATO strap on his Rolex Submariner reference 6538 in the movie Goldfinger in 1964. However, it’s worth pointing out that this wasn’t a true NATO strap, instead it was a Nylon strap/cord without the signature ”double fold” function of a NATO strap.  The original James Bond NATO strap was black and had 2 green stripes with Burgundy borders. Today, the NATO strap with the same design is referred to as a ”Bond strap” or ”James Bond NATO”. Other NATO straps have also been used in the James Bond movies, and in recent times, another strap that is associated with James Bond is the black NATO strap with two grey stripes. This strap was also used for the Omega Seamaster 300 Spectre Limited Edition watch that was also seen several times in the movie. Today, all NATO straps with two lines, with or without borders are often referred to as Bond straps. The NATO strap works absolutely best on a Rolex Submariner but is also a great choice for a sporty look regardless of which Rolex watch you have.

Single-color straps

Rolex Submariner-Brown insert-Brown NATO strap-Wrist Shot

Rolex Submariner 16610 with a brown bezel insert paired with a Heavy Duty Nato Strap – Brown | WB Original

You can never go wrong with a single-color NATO strap for your Rolex watch. Single-color NATO straps are available in essentially any color you can think of. Here, the colors are rather self-explanatory and don’t need much of an introduction, but if you want a more toned-down and sporty look, opt for a classic and toned-down color like black, grey, or dark blue. At the same time, you also get the opportunity to give your Rolex watch a bold and eye-catching look if you decide to go for a colorful and bright strap such as yellow, red, pink, or orange. The color of your strap depends, to some extent on which watch you have, but also its purpose. For example, a bright orange strap on a Submariner when you are at the beach can be a really nice combination. However, a bright red strap may not be an ideal combination on a blue-dial Datejust that you wear with a suit. Therefore, always think about your watch and how the strap will pair with it, as well as the purpose and occasion. It’s always a nice pairing to match your strap with the color of your dial. Or, a colorful detail of the dial of your watch, for example, a red strap matched with a red seconds hand.

Military green NATO straps for a sporty look

Rolex Submariner-Green NATO strap-Wrist shot

Rolex Submariner 116610LN paired with a Premium Nato Strap Green – Brushed | WB Original

Military green NATO straps tend to work particularly well for vintage Rolex watches as well as Rolex sports watches. If you have a vintage Rolex watch and want to put it on a NATO strap that goes well with its personality, a military green NATO strap is a great choice. The same goes for if you have a modern Rolex sports watch, such as a Submariner or GMT-Master 116710LN. The military green strap will tone down its elegant look and give it a much more sporty and casual occasions which can be an ideal style for certain occasions.

Grey Rolex NATO strap for a true original look

Rolex Submariner-Grey NATO strap-Wrist shot

Rolex Submariner 116610LN paired with a Premium Nato Strap Grey – Brushed | WB Original

The original G10 straps were only available in one color – grey. With that said, grey NATO straps are a great choice for creating a connection to the past and giving your Rolex watch a classic, military-inspired vintage look. Similar to military green straps, Grey NATO straps tend to make the watch look really tool-like which is, therefore, a great pairing when you have a vintage Rolex watch or a sports watch. But the benefit of grey NATO straps over military green ones is that they are true to the original, which is appreciated by watch nerds and those who enjoy the historical connection it brings.

Rolex GMT 116710ln-Grey two piece NATO strap variants

Rolex GMT-Master II 116710LN paired with a Two-Piece Nato Strap Grey | WB Original

Consider the lug width of your Rolex watch

Rolex GMT Master II lug width 20mm

The lug width of the Rolex GMT Master II 116710LN is 20mm

The good news is that most Rolex watches have a lug width of 20mm, which is also the standard size of most straps, including NATO straps. But some Rolex watches have other lug widths, where the most common are 21mm and 22mm. With that said, check the lug width of your watch and then choose a NATO strap in the same size for a perfect fit.

How do I take the oyster bracelet off my Rolex?

To take the bracelet off your Rolex watch, you’ll need a spring bar tool with a special 1 mm fork that fits in the openings of the Oyster bracelet, for example a Spring-Bar-Tweezer or the Bergeon 6767 spring bar tool. In the pictures below you can see how the Bergeon 6767 is used:

In the picture on the left you can see, how you hold the watch during the change between your thumb and your finger. Hold it tight and with tension, so that when you’re done with one side of the spring bar, it does not slide back, when you’re working on the other side.

On the right picture you can see, how to use the fork of the Bergeon 6767 spring bar tool best to get to the spring bar in the openings of the end-links. It is best to place a soft microfiber cloth underneath, for example.


How to change the Rolex Oyster bracelet: How you hold your watch (left) and how to use the spring-bar tool best

How to install a NATO strap on your Rolex

How to install a NATO strap on your Rolex watch

The picture below shows you how a the NATO strap is installed on your Rolex. In the picture you can see, that the watch lies with its dial down. Starting to install the strap, the buckle is always at 12 o’clock. From there you take the longest part of the strap and pull it underneath your watch through the spring bars. Then you pull the strap through the last stainless steel loop and finish the installing process.

How to install a NATO strap on your Rolex watch

Thank you for reading!

Discover the WB original strap collection now!

Photos were taken by our brand ambassadors @gulenissen, @swisswristshots and @gmtfanatic. Thank you for the awesome pictures of our NATO straps on your Rolex watches!

Please note: Any watches pictured in this blog post are for illustration purposes only and the watches are not included in our strap offers. Straps may vary slightly from those pictured.

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3 thoughts on “Rolex NATO Strap Guide [Best Rolex NATO Straps]

  1. Vinnie Bapat says:

    What is the lug width of Explorer 2 and Submariner with date 2021 model

    1. Mick says:

      Should be 20mm

  2. Julian says:

    My GMT Master II Pepsi rides on a distressed leather NATO. I have had one Rolex lover tell me it “hurts his eyes,” but by and large the comments I’ve heard have been positive. Still and all, I made the choice because it pleases me, not because it may please others. A grey NATO is on the way in the mail. Eventually I plan to have 4 or 5 in varying colors.

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