What’s in a Name? The Origin of the NATO Strap

If you’re into watches, you’ve definitely heard of the NATO strap before. This type of replacement watch strap is one of the most popular types on the market today, and you’ll see men showing them off on everything from sporty watches to dressy luxury timepieces like Rolex watches.

What you might not know is how this watch strap got its name. Many people assume that the NATO strap is named after the North Atlantic Trade Organization (NATO). As a result, the common story is that the watch was once worn by NATO forces, but that’s not technically the case.

In actuality, the name is just short for NATO Stocking Number, a term that simply refers to the fact that the strap could be purchased from the NATO supply store.

The NATO watch strap’s history is linked with military history, though. Originally, the straps were designed for British troops. When they debuted in 1973, they were available in just an Admiral Grey colour, and they all measured 20 millimeters in width. The straps were made out of nylon. Because they were designed to be worn by troops during battle, the original watch straps had to be extremely strong and capable of resisting ripping and tearing in the field.

Today, WatchBandit offers a wide selection of NATO watch straps available to bring that touch of rugged military style to any timepiece. Not only do we offer the straps in the original nylon, but we also have a selection made out of genuine leather.

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