Straps, straps and more straps. As a strap-fanatic, I am very strict when it comes to which straps I use. You might see me wear a pink perlon, an acid-green neon nato or just a classic, black leather strap.
I will never put on something without having a plan. The strap must match the watch, my outfit and my mood. As you might understand, straps are almost as important as the watch itself and I can guarantee you that I use more time sorting out the perfect strap for the trip to the grocery store than some ladies, or men, use in front of the mirror before heading to town.
The straps I’m going to have a closer look at this time, is the Khaki/Brown/Black Trilogy Nato Straps from Watchbandit. You can buy these as single straps, but I think these bundles are a great option, containing classic, must-have colors that fits most watches.
Before I tell you why the Watchbandit nato watch straps are almost perfect for me and my collection of watches, I’ll point out some measurements that are of importance when choosing a nato.
The first thing is, of course, the width. Choosing the wrong width, the strap won’t fit you watch. You might be able to squeeze a 22mm nato onto a watch with a 20mm lug-width, but I can assure you that you will be irritated by the bulky looks. The same irritation will haunt you when using a narrower strap than supposed. You don’t want that gap between the lugs and the strap, it looks terrible.
Most of the natos out there comes in a standard length of 280mm. This will suit most wrists, and have enough “spare” strap left to be tucked away nicely.
The thickness is one of the measurements that people forget to think of. Most nylon strap has a thickness that measures from 1,2mm to 1,6mm. Leather straps tends to be a bit thicker. You might think that these decimals are of little importance, but I can tell you that they are not. Learning by failing has made me very aware when it comes to the thickness. My Fortis Marinemaster is a perfect example why. Having screwed pins and a narrow space between the pin and the case, I have broken the screws several times, due to too much pressure from a thick strap. When unscrewing, the pin is slightly bent, and the screws jam or break. 35 euros for a set of new screws is not cool when they break again next week, caused by the ignorant owner with no short time memory… The strap that was too thick was 1,6mm, just 0,4mm more than the strap that was meant to use. The other thing with thickness is the amount of fabric that will lie beneath the watch when using it. It lies in a double layer, making the watch rise a bit from the wrist.
The last measurement is quite geeky and probably not the most important. But being a perfectionist, the length between the two rings closest to the buckle is important when it comes to the tuck, the part of the strap you flip backwards and insert through the rings a second time. If it’s to long, you will end up with an annoying tip that sticks to your sweater or shirt. For me, that is out of the question…
How do the natos from Watchbandit perform? The first word that occurred when I received them was “quality”. I would put these in the top three section, regardless of price or brand. Being in the “seatbelt” category, they are both incredibly tough and smooth as silk on the wrist. I would go as far as saying these straps could be used to pull a small car without snapping. The buckle and rings are made of high-quality, brushed stainless steel that completes the solid appearance of the straps.
The length is 280mm, the width is 20mm (chosen to fit my watch) and the thickness is between 1,4-1,5mm. This is were the almost-part comes in. The thickness can be an issue to some watches, as I mentioned earlier. I know which of mine that can’t be fitted with these straps and if I decide to try, it can end up in broken screws or missing springbars. When they pop out, you probably won’t find them again.
The length between the rings close to the buckle is approximately 15mm, a length that will allow me to make the perfect tuck. The straps have 13 holes, giving you an adjustment span of about 85mm. That is enough to cover most wrist sizes, from a chickenwrist to a more human size.
As mention earlier, these straps are of very high quality. The fabric is both solid and soft, the stitching is very professionally done with no sharp ends. The buckle and rings are solid and firm, keeping everything together properly. The holes are rectangular with melted front and back walls. This increases the durability and makes the straps last for a long time. Compared to the finish on most nylon/ballistic nylon straps, these seatbelts are a bit glossier, reflecting the light very smoothly.
So, if you are new to straps, lost in the nato-jungle or an experienced “natoist” looking for some new, superb straps, I will definitely recommend you head over to Watchbandit.
The straps were sponsored by Watchbandit, but this review reflects my own opinions. Nothing more, nothing less.