A Quick and Easy Guide to How to Put on a NATO Strap

Aug 31, 2022
A Quick and Easy Guide to How to Put on a NATO Strap

One of the easiest parts of a timepiece to replace is its bracelet. Given the wide variety of options available in the market, folks who want to change their watch bracelets have a great deal of freedom in terms of choosing band replacements. 


One especially popular watch strap offering is the NATO strap. With this band, buyers are given the opportunity to opt for a NATO strap that is crafted entirely in nylon or in leather. Nylon NATO straps, as the original, have a highly-regarded reputation amongst watch enthusiasts and are frequently used by those who enjoy more casual, laidback, or sporty styles. NATO straps also come in a broad range of patterns and colourways, providing loads of choices for its buyers. 


In this article, we will guide you on how to put on a NATO strap. As long as you have the proper tools, you will find that learning how to put on a NATO strap is a very easy process indeed, which you can even carry out at home. 

Materials Needed for Putting on a NATO Strap

1. Spring bar tool

First of all, when learning how to put on a NATO strap, you will need a spring bar tool. This spring bar tool is used to remove and adjust the spring bars of the watch’s original bracelet. You can easily get one online, from watch shops, or from hardware stores. 


Folks who do not own a spring bar tool can also use a small, flat screwdriver as an alternative. 

2. Spring bars

When putting a new NATO strap onto a watch, you also need two spring bars. These spring bars help keep the NATO strap in place on the watch. Typically, the original bracelet of the watch will already have two spring bars attached to it. Hence, you do not need to buy a new set.

How to Put on a NATO Strap: A Step-By-Step Guide

1. Remove the bracelet using the spring bar tool

First, remove the watch’s original bracelet or strap using the spring bar tool. Insert the tool into the end links and apply pressure for the spring bar to pop out. Set aside the two spring bars that come with the original bracelet. 

2. Attach the spring bars between both lug ends of the watch case

Next, attach the two spring bars back between the two lug ends of the watch case. Make sure the spring bars fit well, to avoid them accidentally slipping off when the NATO strap is being installed. 

3. Insert the end part of the NATO strap through the top spring bar at 12 o’clock and under the watch 

At 12 o’clock, insert the longer end of the NATO strap between the spring bar and under the watch case. Continuously slide it under the watch case until the desired length is reached.

4. Slide the strap into the bottom spring bar at 6 o’clock

Once you have slipped the longer end of the strap in, continue sliding it into the bottom spring bar at 6 o’clock. Make sure to insert it between the spring bar and the upper part of the watch case. The strap should go in an upwards direction.

5. Once you have completely inserted the NATO strap, take the longer end and insert it into the buckle of the small strap

The NATO strap comes with an extra small strap attached to its back. This serves as another layer of security and provides the watch band with the perfect fit. Insert the longer end of the strap into the buckle or keeper of the small strap.

6. Continue to slide the longer side of the strap into the small strap to tuck it in place

Pull the longer end of the strap to make sure it is nicely tucked into the buckle or keeper of the small strap. Once done, you have completely installed a NATO strap in your timepiece. At this point, all you need to do is make sure the watch band fits on your wrist comfortably.

Why Choose a NATO Strap

NATO strap on a Seiko watch
Image by: Paul Cuoco on Unsplash

There are several reasons why you might want to replace your watch’s bracelet with a NATO strap. Here are some of the biggest ones: 

1. Lightweight

Due to its nylon composition, the NATO strap weighs extremely lightly and wears very comfortably on the wrist. Compared to traditional watch bracelets made from metals like stainless steel, NATO straps are not too bulky and do not come with much heft.

2. Waterproof

The NATO strap is essentially waterproof. Hence, you can wear it on all sorts of water adventures. It also dries out easily, allowing you to wear your watch again after a few minutes even if it gets wet from any kind of liquid.

3. Great fashion piece

Designed in countless patterns and colourways, NATO straps provide an immense set of options to choose from. You can choose a design that matches your style, your look, and mood.

4. Caters to all watch and wrist sizes

NATO straps also come in different sizes and lengths, allowing it to be paired with any timepiece effortlessly. No matter what the measurement of your wrist is, you can certainly find a NATO strap that fits perfectly on your wrist.

5. Affordable

The prices of NATO straps can go as low as $10 USD. NATO straps are some of the most budget-friendly aftermarket straps available. So, if you want a replacement for your damaged strap, you can easily get cheap yet reliable NATO straps. 

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to put on a NATO strap is actually very easy. All you need are the proper tools, all of which are easily accessible, and the finest NATO strap of your choice. There are also various advantages to using a NATO strap. These include its affordable price, waterproofness, availability in various sizes and styles, and more. All in all, the NATO strap is one of the best picks for many watch connoisseurs, so learning how to put on a NATO strap is an important skill that collectors should have. 


Photo credits: Guy Sie on Flickr and Paul Cuoco on Unsplash.


Want to learn more about watch movements? Read about one of the most popular and affordable Japanese movements to grace the watch industry: the Miyota 9015 movement.

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