Best NATO Watch Strap: Let’s Rock the Military Look, Properly!

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Having a NATO strap on your watch is a mainstream fashion trend these days. These straps were first introduced as rugged and cheap solution for the military. Plus, NATO straps could withstand the extreme environmental conditions.

However, the military-themed style became so popular among the young in the last few decades. Youngsters love wearing camo T-shirts, dog tags, and military-standard watches.

It’s a fashion statement now.

Also, the expendability of these NATO straps is also another big reason behind the popularity. For example, no one buys a single NATO strap, they buy in bundles. We often match them without watch face, belts, or shoes.

Stylish, fashionable, and trendy – these three words can justify the popularity of the NATO or Zulu watch straps perfectly.

So, if you are shopping for a quality NATO strap (or collection of straps), I can help you. Here’s the list you’ve been waiting for –

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS  rating price
Best NATO StrapRitche NATO Strap with Black Heavy Buckle Watch Band Ritche NATO Strap with Black Heavy Buckle Watch Band
  • Ballistic Nylon
10
BluShark - The Original Premium Nylon Watch Strap BluShark – The Original Premium Nylon Watch Strap
  • Ballistic Nylon
10
INFANTRY NATO Watch Strap Nylon Canvas Fabric Watch Band INFANTRY NATO Watch Strap Nylon Canvas Fabric Watch Band
  • Nylon Canvas Fabric
10
Barton Jetson NATO Style Watch Strap Barton Jetson NATO Style Watch Strap
  • Seatbelt Style Nylon Weave
9.5
Carty Replacement Watch Band Strap Vintage Handmade Crazy Horse Leather Zulu NATO Carty Replacement Watch Band Strap Vintage Handmade Crazy Horse Leather Zulu NATO
  • Crazy Horse Leather (Full-Grain Cowhide)
9
Ritche NATO Watch Strap with Heavy Buckle Premium Seat Belt Nylon Watch Bands Ritche NATO Watch Strap with Heavy Buckle Premium Seat Belt Nylon Watch Bands
  • Ballistic Nylon Seatbelt Weaving
9
Barton Leather NATO Style Watch Straps Barton Leather NATO Style Watch Straps
  • Top-Grain Leather
9

Top 7 Best NATO Watch Strap in 2020

Ritche NATO Strap with Black Heavy Buckle Watch Band – Best NATO Strap

Ritche NATO Strap with Black Heavy Buckle Watch Band

When it comes to NATO or Zulu straps, a handful of brands dominate the market. Ritche is one of the bigger players.

A good NATO strap has to have military-grade ruggedness. Even though we are using it as a fashion accessory, a proper NATO strap should differ from the main characteristics.

From that perspective, Ritche NATO Strap with Black Heavy Buckle Watch Band would be my favorite choice.

Of course, the strap is durable, dirt, and water-resistant. Plus, the strap is breathable. So, you will not have to deal with sweats while wearing on a hot day.  

People are so concerned about other features that they don’t put enough emphasis on the breathability.

Please, don’t make that mistake!

Plus, it’s a true NATO strap, which means extremely sleek strap width. The 1.5mm strap is quite sturdy. Thanks to the use of ballistic nylon fabric. The fabric is so durable that it can support the watch even if one of the spring bars break off.

Product Specification

  • Strap Material: Ballistic Nylon
  • Hardware Material: Matte-brushed Stainless Steel
  • Thickness: 1.5mm
  • Width Variety: 18mm, 20mm, 22mm
  • Length: 280mm (11-inch)
  • Hole Type: Laser Sealed Circular
  • Clasp Type: Buckle
  • Color Variation: 8

Pros

  • High-quality strap and hardware
  • Holes are laser sealed so less chance of fraying
  • Suitable from 6.25-inch to 9.5-inches wrist size
  • Comes in eight color options including James Bond 
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • The spring bars that come along the packaging are prone to bending

BluShark – The Original Premium Nylon Watch Strap – Offers Maximum Number of Design Variety

BluShark - The Original Premium Nylon Watch Strap

Very few brands are so confident about their products that they offer lifetime guarantee!

And, BluShark is one of them!

BluShark says that if you ever receive any defective strap from them, they will simply replace it with a new one.

BluShark has a wide collection of watch straps now such as Orca, Piranha, or AlphaShark. But their BluShark Original Premium Nylon Watch Strap collection is still the most popular among the watch enthusiasts. In fact, BluShark Original is the first luxury NATO strap manufacturer in the US.

The best feature of the BluShark NATO straps is the offering of abundance of choices. Their original collection comprises of thirty-four design variety, including James Bond and vintage Bond.

I haven’t seen so many varieties in a single collection in the market. Plus, you can choose the finished quality of the hardware too.

Product Specification

  • Strap Material : Ballistic Nylon
  • Hardware Material: Brushed, Polished, or Black PVD Stainless Steel
  • Thickness: 1.5mm
  • Width Variety: 18mm, 20mm, 22mm, 24mm
  • Length: 280mm (11-inch)
  • Hole Type: Sealed Rectangular
  • Clasp Type:Tang Buckle
  • Color Variation: 34

Pros

  • Superior material choice
  • Very sturdy
  • Lifetime guarantee against manufacturing defect
  • Wide variety in collection

Cons

  • The spring bar is comparatively weak

INFANTRY NATO Watch Strap Nylon Canvas Fabric Watch Band – The Most Comfortable Option

INFANTRY NATO Watch Strap Nylon Canvas Fabric Watch Band

Infantry is a brand fully dedicated to the military-style wearables and accessories. In the early years, Infantry only made watches and didn’t enter the accessories market.

But they were so disappointed with the quality and durability of the NATO straps that they decided to make NATO straps themselves.

Thus, the INFANTRY NATO Watch Strap Nylon Canvas Fabric Watch Band came to being!

This strap is different in many angles.

For example, most of the other brands use ballistic nylon as the strap material. Ballistic nylon very durable and can withstand more damage. But it lacks the plush softness. So, you can feel irritated with the harshness of the nylon in many cases.

On the other hand, the nylon canvas fabric is less durable or sturdy but it offers the level of comfort that the ballistic nylon can’t offer.

Also, the material is breathable and suitable for underwater usage.

However, the fabric is thicker than the regular 1.5mm thickness. So that might be a concern for you. Plus, you are not getting spring bars with this strap.

More: Check our review of Swiss Precimax Here

Product Specification    

  • Strap Material: Nylon Canvas Fabric
  • Hardware Material: Stainless Steel
  • Thickness: 1.5mm
  • Width Variety: 20mm, 22mm
  • Length (Buckle Excluded): 280mm (11-inch)
  • Hole Type: Sealed Circular
  • Clasp Type: Tang Buckle
  • Color Variation: 8

Pros

  • Softer and more comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable and sweat-absorbent
  •  Durable and sturdy

Cons

  • No spring bars included
  • Slightly thicker

Barton Jetson NATO Style Watch Strap – Best Material Choice

Barton Jetson NATO Style Watch Strap

Barton boasts of being a true American watchband manufacturer based in Austin, Texas. Barton is a well-known name in the industry for their better choice of materials.

For example, Barton Jetson NATO Style Watch Strap uses ballistic nylon but uses the seatbelt weaving. This weaving offers better breathability offer more smoothness.

Plus, the hardware is made of 316L surgical-grade stainless steel – the best material to use.

One of the unique features of the strap is that it uses a thick fabric ring instead of a thin SS ring. You can see Daniel Craig wearing exactly the same design in 2008 with his Rolex 6538 Submariner.  

Also, some of the NATO straps are guilty of bearing the foul stench of sweat.

Not this one!

Barton claims that with proper wash the stink of swear goes away.

More: Stuhrling Watches Review: Are Stuhrling Watches Any Good?

Product Specification

  • Strap Material : Seatbelt Style Nylon Weave
  • Hardware Material: 316L Surgical-Grade Stainless Steel (Brushed)
  • Thickness: 1.4mm
  • Width Variety: 18mm, 20mm, 22mm, 24mm
  • Length: 262mm (10.3-inch)
  • Hole Type: Laser Sealed Oval-Shaped
  • Clasp Type: Tang Buckle (Heavy)
  • Color Variation: 19

Pros

  • Smooth seatbelt weaving
  • Superior material choice
  • Very sturdy
  • The sweat smell goes away easily

Cons

  • The original color varies slightly from the pictures

Carty Replacement Watch Band Strap Vintage Handmade Crazy Horse Leather Zulu NATO – Best Vintage Leather Strap

Carty Replacement Watch Band Strap Vintage Handmade Crazy Horse Leather Zulu NATO

Okay, I’ve reviewed some great nylon NATO straps. What about the leather NATO strap?

So, the leather band fans, here I am.

Carty Vintage Handmade Crazy Horse Leather strap is probably one of the better leather NATO straps in the market.

How so?

The answer lies within that “Crazy Horse Leather” tag!

No, the leather doesn’t come from a mentally-ill horse!

Basically, it’s full-grain cowhide that was used for horse saddles in the past. Hence, the name crazy horse!

It’s considered to be the best grade of leather on par with the top-grain variant. The leather is hypo-allergic too.

Oh, one more thing, the leather strap will scuff over time. Don’t worry, it’s a feature to offer the vintage look.

More: Citizen Watch Reviews: Are Citizen Watches Good?

Product Specification

  • Strap Material : Crazy Horse Leather (Full-Grain Cowhide)
  • Hardware Material: 316L Surgical-Grade Stainless Steel (Matte Brushed)
  • Thickness: 2mm
  • Width Variety: 20mm, 22mm, 24mm, 26mm
  • Length (Approx.): 280mm (11-inch)
  • Hole Type: Circular
  • Clasp Type: Buckle (Heavy)
  • Color Variation: 3

Pros

  • Great vintage looks
  • Premium quality leather
  • Sleek strap, despite being a leather variant
  • Includes spring bars

Cons

  • Doesn’t fit thin watches
  • Limited color variation

Ritche NATO Watch Strap with Heavy Buckle Premium Seat Belt Nylon Watch Bands – Highest Durability

Ritche NATO Watch Strap with Heavy Buckle Premium Seat Belt Nylon Watch Bands

Another masterpiece from Ritche!

Ritche NATO Watch Strap with Heavy Buckle Premium Seat Belt Nylon Watch Bands offers the same great looks but made with better materials.

For example, they have used the ballistic nylon but chose the premium seatbelt weaving. Plus, the hardware is made of the 316L Surgical-Grade Stainless Steel.

So, build-quality wise, it’s a superior product.

However, the spring bar is missing in this one!

More: The Best Automatic Watches Under $200: Watches with Highest Value

Product Specification

  • Strap Material : Ballistic Nylon Seatbelt Weaving
  • Hardware Material: 316L Surgical-Grade Stainless Steel
  • Thickness: 1.4mm
  • Width Variety: 18mm, 20mm, 22mm
  • Length: 270mm (10.5-inch)
  • Hole Type: Laser Heat Sealed Rectangle
  • Clasp Type: Tang Buckle (Heavy)
  • Color Variation: 15

Pros

  • Smooth seatbelt weaving
  • Superior material choice
  • Very sturdy
  • The sweat smell goes away easily

Cons

  • No spring bars

Barton Leather NATO Style Watch Straps – Best Leather NATO Strap

Barton Leather NATO Style Watch Straps

If you are planning to buy a leather strap, I would suggest you to choose Barton Leather NATO Style Watch Straps.

Compared to Carty, Barton is a superior brand that promises better quality.

Barton Leather NATO Style Watch Straps choose better materials. For example, the top-grain leather is the finest and softest leather known to us. It’s made of calfskin.

Plus, they have selected 316L Surgical-Grade Stainless Steel for hardware.

The strap thickness is only 1.4mm, which is a great feature.

More: Glycine Combat Sub Review: The Best Rolex Submariner Homage

Product Specification

  • Strap Material : Top-Grain Leather
  • Hardware Material: 316L Surgical-Grade Stainless Steel (Glossy)
  • Thickness: 1.4mm
  • Width Variety: 18mm, 20mm, 22mm, 24mm
  • Length: 280mm (11-inch), 254mm (10-inch)
  • Hole Type: Circular
  • Clasp Type: Tang Buckle (Heavy)
  • Color Variation: 5

Pros

  • Softer and more comfortable
  • Higher quality materials
  • Lightweight
  • The leather adjusts automatically, the straps don’t feel loose
  •  Durable and sturdy

Cons

  • The watch rides occasionally

Buying Guide: What to Consider When Buying NATO Strap?

You might not think of it, but choosing a NATO strap for your watch is not so easy.

There are certain things to consider.

The material selection of the strap is the most important of them all. Typically, the NATO or the Zulu straps are made of nylon or similar kind of strong fabric.

As the two layers of strap goes underneath the lugs or the spring bars, the thickness must remain low. Ideally, lower than 2mm.

Then, the hardware material should be strong enough. The 316L SS is the best option to go for here. You can also choose another type of steel.

Finally, you need to give importance to features like breathability, water and dust resistance.

Also, make sure that the strap syncs withs the width of the lug.

But avoid straps with plastic or zinc alloy hardware.

More: WeWood Watch Review: Worth the Money?

Conclusion

Considering all the facts, what is the best NATO watch strap?

I can’t deny the opinion of so many users and that’s why Ritche NATO Strap with Black Heavy Buckle Watch Band stands on top. However, there are some other straps with better technical specs on the paper.

Then, BluShark – The Original Premium Nylon Watch Strap claims the second spot. Finally, I would place INFANTRY NATO Watch Strap Nylon Canvas Fabric Watch Band in the third place.

What do you think?

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