The History of the NATO Strap

Have you been noticing all the nylon, striped military style straps popping up on watches, lately? From very cheap brands, to expensive diving watches, these NATO straps are all the rage. But where did NATO straps come from? What is there history? In this article, we will trace the history of the NATO strap. We will discuss misconceptions about the strap, as well as the actual origins of this type of strap. Lastly, we will tell you more about how these straps are used by today’s wearers.

Not What You Would Think

By NATO, we do not mean the North American Treaty Organization. Although this is what many people associate with the acronym, that group has nothing to do with these fashionable watch straps. We can understand why people might think this, however. With NATO being a military association, and the strap itself having a military style, people may mistakenly associate them with one another. The NATO strap did, indeed, have military origins, but was not around by 1949, the year that NATO (the organization) was formed. Troops in this organization do not normally wear these straps, nor are they standard issue in that organization.

British Origins

Believe it or not, the NATO strap originated in Britain. It was not until the 1970s that this term first came into use. More commonly, before that time, soldiers knew them as the G10. The G10 was aptly named after the form number that soldiers had to fill out in order to be granted their standard issue wrist watch strap. These straps looked just like the NATO straps that we all know and love today, but without the straps and various colors. They were made from nylon, and featured chrome plated hardware. Colors were later added to signify regiments.


Today, NATO straps are widely available. You can purchase them in many different colors, with many different colors of stripes down the middle. The hardware on these straps may be steel, chrome plated, or other metals. You can see these straps being worn nearly anywhere and everywhere. They are certainly no longer limited to military use, and can even be found on watches that are not military in style. Some wear them as a fashion statement. Others, as a practical piece of gear. We offer several watches featuring NATO straps. Among them are the E-8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 models.