With approximately 8 billion options, and seemingly constant change in the market, it can be hard to decide which NATO strap you should buy for your newest (or oldest) watch. Many (many) of the available NATOs look great on paper, but turn out to have shoddy stitching, sloppy un-welded cuts, crummy hardware, or are just plain uncomfortable. In this edition of Watch Clicker Recommends, we asked our staff for their favorite go-to NATO. Each of the options below come from great companies, and are made with superior fabrics, construction, and hardware. Buy with confidence!
Everett: BluShark AlphaPremier
First me, and as far as I am concerned BluShark is the best in the game, and this is their finest work. For anyone who wants the Omega strap experience, without spending $150, this is the only choice. Great structure, but still soft; sliding keeper; way more refined than a G10, but not too shiny; dresses up, dresses down; killer hardware (BluShark’s hardware is seriously second-to-none): I could own nothing but these and be totally happy.
$36 – BluSharkStraps
Mike: ADPT Strap
I prefer a more traditional NATO, when I wear one, which is exactly what the ADPT is. Made and sold by Worn and Wound / Wind Up, the ADPT is (as far as I know) the only “Made in the USA” NATO style strap on the market, meaning that “all or virtually all” significant parts and processing of the strap are of US origin. In this case, that means that not only is the strap put together here, the ribbon and hardware are manufactured in the US, and the raw materials are locally sourced. or those of you that are afraid of bulk,the ADPT is quite thin. And, although stiffer than many of the seatbelt NATOs on the market, it softens up considerably with wear.
$46 – WindUpWatchShop
Andrew: BluShark AlphaShark Slim
Bottom Line: this is my favorite NATO material ever! Trying to compare NATO materials in writing, feels sort of like a written wine tasting: it’s hard to tell where the facts stop and the BS starts. With that said, Blushark has managed to make a perfectly thin and supple strap (1.2mm!), that wears perfectly out of the box and still feels great after many (many) wears, and with just enough sheen to pull off the dress-sport vibe while wearing a tie. The topmost keeper is adjustable, and all the hardware is spot-on. If you want a beefy strap, this may not be the one (but I can’t imagine why you would ever want that).
$32 – BluSharkStraps
Will: Crown and Buckle Supreme NATO
Easy. Crown and Buckle Supreme NATO. Period. “Everett – please write 100ish words.” For over a decade, Crown and Buckle has been making the best straps on the market. The Supreme NATO is C&B’s premium offering, and it does not disappoint. The fabric is incredibly durable but thin enough that it wears as well as anything else on the market (including the insanely overpriced swiss options). Also – If you don’t want a shiny seatbelt, C&B just introduced its “Matte Supreme.” All of the hardware is fully machined and substantial, with beveled corners for comfort. Add the fact that C&B’s prices are always incredibly competitive, and you have my favorite NATO strap on the market.
$28-34 – CrownandBuckle
Hamilton Khaki Field NATO: more of a passthrough than a true NATO, Hamilton’s OEM Khaki Field strap is super comfortable, comes in several colors, and has leather accents that make it significantly more interesting than the average NATO strap. $55 – Hamilton
Phenomenato: one of the OG’s in the premium NATO strap game, Phenomenato has a bit of a cult following. All of their straps are handmade to order, so plan a few weeks for processing. $40 – Phenomenato
Haveston: Not a true NATO, Haveston’s military-inspired straps utilize a repositioned buckle and sliding keeper, which eliminate the need for the folding the tail back on itself. $28 – Haveston
Nick Mankey Designs: One of several companies currently making a “pajama” elastic strap, Mankey’s unique configuration eliminates the need for any fabric between the watch-head and your wrist, allowing the watch to ride all the way down on your skin. Oh – did we mention Nick makes all of the straps himself in his California workshop? $29 – NickMankeyDesigns