How To Install A NATO Watch Strap

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Step 3: Thread the NATO strap through the top spring bar...

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...and pull through until you've threaded about three quarters of the strap through.

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Step 4: Thread the strap through the other spring bar...

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...and pull through.

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Step 5: Take the shorter end of the strap...

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...and thread the longer end through.

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Step 6: If you haven't got it exactly perfect, adjust the watch so it's equidistant between the two buckles.

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Like so...

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Step 7: Thread any excess through the extra buckles.

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And then marvel at how awesome and different your watch looks.

A step by step tutorial on how to put a NATO strap on your watch

NATO straps are a great way to give your watch a completely different look and laid-back, casual feel. Available in a plethora of colors, textures, patterns and materials, the sky is pretty much the limit when it comes to styles. And as NATO straps are relatively inexpensive, it’s possible to own a wide variety of options to pair with a wide variety of outfits.

Important: Before buying a NATO strap, be sure you know your watch’s lug width so you buy the correct size.

Here’s a guide to installing a NATO strap. Instructions below and also included with visuals in the slideshow above.

how to install nato strap watch

How To Install A NATO Strap

Step 1: Remove your watch’s regular bracelet and reinstall the spring bars. You’ll need a spring bar tool to accomplish this.

Step 2: Turn the watch over, crown on the left, and grab your NATO strap. Make sure the longer end of the strap is on the bottom and the shorter end is on the top.

Step 3: Thread the NATO strap through the top spring bar and pull through until you’ve threaded about three quarters of the strap through.

Step 4: Thread the strap through the other spring bar and pull through.

Step 5: Take the shorter end of the strap and thread the longer end through.

Step 6: If you haven’t got it exactly perfect, adjust the watch so it’s equidistant between the two buckles.

Step 7: Fold the excess over and thread it through the extra buckles.

Step 8: Marvel at how awesome and different your watch looks now.

how to install nato strap watch

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Stylishly Yours,

Brian Sacawa
He Spoke Style

Photography by Rob McIver Photo

Chime In

  • Forrest Howe

    Why does anyone think these look nice? As the little boy said in the Emporer and His New Clothes “He isn’t wearing any clothes!”

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      Suit yourself, my man. Many people out there are fans of the look. A great way to add versatility and a casual touch to your watch.

  • Drew Anderson

    I love the idea of a light strap for the summer, but I think the extra material on a NATO just looks messy and awkward. Perlon is a great alternative- it’s just as easy to change but looks much neater. You can’t get quite as many interesting color combinations as with a NATO, but for solid colors they can’t be beat.

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      Thanks for the comment, Drew. I think the guy who likes a NATO strap is totally fine with the extra fabric. I know I am. For me, it’s a part of the strap’s heritage.

      • Drew Anderson

        I totally get that, and I seem to be in the minority on this. Maybe I’ll give them another try.

        • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

          I definitely recommend that.

  • Nathan

    I dig the look of the NATO especially for heading out on the boat for the weekend.

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      Totally perfect for that!

  • Jyoti Singh

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  • Tom B

    Brian:

    Thanks for the neat little article and sure looks like NATO straps are either love ’em or hate ’em. I have several, including a leather one (very versatile), they’re a great way to subtly change up your look.

    For those who object to the extra fabric, note that you are modeling a “double” NATO strap (with the extra loop across the back), the single NAto strap has less extra material. Likewise, you CAN cut the NATO strap to length if you want – use a coin as your guide and a soldering iron to cut with. These straps are meant to be rugged and “MacGyvered”!