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Watch Clicker Recommends: The Ultimate Nylon Strap Guide

Trust the one watch guy to help you find your next nylon strap

How each of us decides to strap our watch to our wrist is undeniably a subjective matter. What we find comfortable and aesthetically appealing is purely personal taste. Being a one watch guy, straps are an essential part of my watch. A solid strap collection is a must-have for anybody wanting to slim down their collection. A new strap is like a subtle new flavor to your favorite dish.

I’ve tried all manner of options. From the solid metal link bracelet to vintage feeling mesh, thick padded leather to rustic bands with tied-off ends. I’ve worn my fair share of rubber straps, too, from the heavy-duty Seiko and Citizen straps to slimmer tropics. Occasionally, when the moon is full, and the wind blows right, you’ll see me sporting a two-piece Cordura strap from time to time. But nothing feels more like home than a trusty military-style pass-through strap. Below, I take an in-depth look at my go-to straps, each cool in its own way. Now, it’s worth mentioning that I’ve worn all of these straps on my one watch, a Lorier Neptune Series 3 in navy blue. As I write this, a few days shy of wearing my Neptune for two consecutive years, my watch has spent most of its life on any of these straps below. Therefore, I know their ins and outs reasonably well at this point. So, sit back, lock in those spring bars, and join me on a deep dive into all things NATO.

CWC Straps – Affordable, robust – beautifully simple

I will start with a little talked about, but an absolute favorite of mine. The ‘CWC NATO Watch Strap Current Issue.’ This is an absolute barebone, hardy, honest pass-through strap. For the princely sum of £10.99, you can get the kind of strap you can strap on and forget about. On my Lorier Neptune, this combination creates an easy-wearing lighter than light on wrist experience. While the nylon is not quite as soft as another popular brand (which I’ll get to below) and can feel slightly stiffer in hand, these straps do not fray, have solid yet basic hardware, and are long enough to cinch down nicely and snuggly.

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The hardware is heat sealed into the nylon (rather than stitched or spring bar held) as requested by the Military of Defense. If it’s high craftsmanship that you’re after, you might want to look elsewhere, but if what you want is a simple, tested-in-all-conditions NATO that won’t fray under pressure, CWC has you covered.

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While a little more expensive than the ‘NATO Watch Strap Current Issue,’ there’s a second, well-priced, ultra-comfy CWC strap worth mentioning. This is the ‘CWC Natostretch Watch Strap.’ For £17.99, what you’re getting here is an absolute bargain, I own two (a grey with a black stripe and a green with a yellow stripe – the green is my favorite), and both have been worn well. The Natostretch strap by CWC is made using elastic nylon, similar to what you might expect on a Marine National strap.

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The real bonus here, however, is the traditional hardware which makes slipping these onto your watch quick and easy. These straps produce an almost ‘cuff-like’ feeling; they’re best worn a little snug, as the elastic nylon allows for good stretch and movement. Unlike the more basic issued CWC straps, these elasticated straps have stitched-in hardware rather than being heat-sealed. Stitched in hardware is my absolute favorite; there’s no concern about spring bar failure with these buckles, as the metal loop is stitched into the loop of fabric at the north end of the strap. I can see that some might complain about the added height the Natostretch adds, but on a slim skin diver like my Neptune, it just does not factor as a problem. For a strap under £20.00 – this is my top pick for value for money.

Check out CWC’s straps here

Lorier Straps – Pure utility, oozes coolness.

Lorier sells three military-style nylon straps – I own the regiment, with the grey and black stripes. As is a theme you will likely notice, I appreciate a simple strap, and that’s precisely what we have here. The nylon is slim but strong, with a tight horizontal weave and an excellent matte texture. The buckle is sewn in (again – my favorite) and nicely rounded, and the vintage appearance just vibes perfectly with the Neptune. If I feel like there is a need for absolute cohesion between the watch and the strap, this is my strap of choice.

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P.S: The spring bar tool that Lorier sells is also a winner. It is a great size, durable, and comfy in hand, and it’s the only one I use.

Check out Lorier’s straps here

UTE Nato Strap – The hands-down winner for comfort

I think the UTE Nato takes the cake when it comes to pure comfort. The nylon is incredibly soft, and the hardware is uniquely shaped and solid. The keepers, in particular, are simply the best around and have a hexagonal shape. The buckle is kept by a spring bar, which, as I alluded to above, isn’t my absolute favorite, simply because my love for the pass-through strap is partly down to not having to think twice about spring bars. However, that is just my taste; the buckle is perfectly sized, slim, tapers, and has an easy-going matte finish.

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The only downside to the suppleness of the nylon on the UTE straps is that I have found this strap quicker to fray at the holes. This can easily be solved with the quick flash of a lighter to singe those ends. The border and tail end of the strap has remained perfectly intact. Like the CWC straps above, these UTE straps have just the right amount of holes to find the perfect fit. If you’re larger wristed or wish to wear your strap over a wetsuit or flight jacket, the UTE strap has just a little extra length which might be the cherry on top.

Check out Ute’s straps here

Zuludiver – A solid and underrated all-rounder

Suppose the CWC Military Issued strap has you humming, but you wanted something that didn’t feel like it fell straight out of a military surplus store. In that case, I’d recommend looking at Watchgeckos’ /Zuludivers’ ‘Classic ZULUDIVER Military Colour NATO Watch Strap.’ These straps are a middle ground between the CWC-issued and UTE straps. They’re well priced at around £18.00, are soft (not quite as soft as the UTE), and feature stitched seals with a sewn-in buckle. If you’re after a thin, soft option without the fancy hardware, this should be the strap of your choice. While the holes show a little stretch, it is hardly noticeable. As the fabric is so soft and slim in density, I don’t feel that these straps hold their shape as well as something like the CWC NATO. What you get in return is a little added comfort and a more matte texture overall.

Check out Zuludiver’s straps here

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Being a one watch guy, this is how I utilize my watch roll.

ADPT – Tough as nails

The folks over at Worn and Wound have recently expanded the ADPT line to include more than watch accessories, and it now includes watches themselves. And up until recently, I felt these straps did not get enough attention. If I’m in the mood to treat myself to a strap that costs a little more, the ADPT strap is my top choice. ADPT stands for All Day Purpose Terrain, and the build quality of ADPT straps evokes that mantra. All components of ADPT straps are made in America, from the 420D nylon to the 316L buckles.

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They feel like no other pass-through strap and are among the very best for absolute toughness. Where something like a UTE Strap feels like pure quality in the suppleness of the nylon, the ADPT straps charm contrasts that. With a tighter, harder weave in hand, the ADPT strap definitely has its own character. And then you strap it on. Where some nylon straps might flounder and lose their shape, the ADPT strap seems unwavering under any circumstance. They beat off moisture with ease and wear extremely light.

The buckles, while not as rounded as something you might find on a CWC or Zuludiver and not as shapely as the hardware on a UTE strap, are sewn in and feels like a pair of pliers couldn’t pull it apart. The metal hardware has a more industrial vibe, roughly hewn from a metal-workers workshop, and I love it. I own two of these, one in navy blue of the traditional double pass variety and one in rust (a deep orange) in single-layer form. While I love the contrast keeper on the single-layer format, I prefer that the double-layer version has a little more length, allowing for a perfect fit on the wrist. I’ve been drooling over their forest green variant for some time now, and it’s only a matter of time until I find an excuse to bag one to call my own. Also, you get free stickers.

Check out ADPT straps here


Bark and Jack – Traditional nylon taken to a new level


Over the last couple of years, I’ve owned a few straps from Bark and Jack, the shop run by Youtuber and podcaster Adrian Barker. I’m a big fan of Adrian’s content. He has an honest voice. I started with the Nato 2.0, which is of the seatbelt variety. Seatbelt straps were to 2020 what the ribbed strap is to 2022. These were the absolute go-to a couple of years ago. This strap has done well to avoid fraying, and the holes have stretched only a little. The hardware, as on all B&J straps, is just lovely. The buckle is squared-off and chunky. It feels like a solid hunk of metal. The same goes for the keepers, which are milled and smooth in texture – no sharp edges here. Bark & Jack straps also employ the floating keeper trick, which is great for locking down the tail end of a strap. Despite my love of the hardware on these straps, I prefer a traditional sewn-in buckle. My only reservation with seatbelt-style straps is the long-term comfort. Due to the bulk (I find seatbelt straps to be a little thicker generally) and the slippery nature of the strap, I tend to find my wrist can get a little hot under there, especially when you compare this to a traditional nylon strap. But we’ll get to that.

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If you’re after a nylon strap with just one piece of fabric to lay low under your watch head, then the Broad Weave could be the one for you. Bark & Jack’s Broad Weave straps have an almost diagonal weave and are a comfortable weight and density at 1.4mm thick. The angle of the weave combined with the blend of colors creates some cool light-play. These straps feel more ‘special’ than what I prefer for every day, and while I wouldn’t consider them a staple, they do add some nice variety if you’re slinging a quiver of regular ol’ nylon straps.

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Simple done well. This is my mantra for most things in life. And certainly, for watch straps. If it’s a simple nylon strap you’re after, with that trademark horizontal weave, stitched ends, and heat-sealed holes, you must try a Bark & Jack Tubular Nylon. The Tubular (as well as being a simply awesome name) comes in at 1.2mm thin, includes those mentioned above solid as nails hardware, and wears like a dream. I have it in deep ocean blue – which is just bright enough to be an incredible contrast against the blue of my Navy Neptune.

Check out Bark and Jack’s straps here

Erika’s Originals – Incredibly well made

For as long as I’ve been into watches, I’ve wanted an Erika’s Originals MN Strap. Based on color options for the consumer, these elastic straps have it all. From the Trident (which I own) to the Sahara – a lovely dusky tan, to the Black Ops (imagine it on a Carbon Doxa), there is so much choice and variety. Holding an Erika’s in hand oozes that feeling of quality. The elastic weave is tight and robust, the boarders are neatly sealed, and the hardware feels thick and indestructible. This is the best I’ve tried for the pure quality of craftsmanship.

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Above, I discussed how I appreciated the CWC Natostretch strap due to the traditional hardware it utilizes. With an MN strap, fastening the buckle can take a little bit of getting used to – and even though I’m hardly removing my watch during the day (I admit, I sleep with it on), I do feel like I need to allow a little extra time to fasten the buckle. This, alongside the broad weave, lands in that ‘special’ category for me. That could also be down to the price, as these, simply put, are not affordable.

Check out Erika’s Original straps here

Final Thoughts

Straps can get expensive. And they don’t need to be. I’ve demonstrated how you can grab a well-made and durable strap for under 11 Great British Pounds. If you’re lucky enough to shell out a little more on some nylon for those wrists, there is plenty of choices depending on your style and color preferences. Most importantly, it’s essential to find what you like. Find a watch you love, and treat it to a few straps.

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Comments 4
  1. Hey! Thanks for commenting! Great question. I really like both. The UTE is the softer of the two straps which makes it feel really unique. The buckle on the Bark and Jack has a really nice weight to it though!

  2. Reading this is 2023. Thanksgiving Day to be exact. I am looking for a decent strap for my Uranus Moonswatch. I have a light blue NATO and a AliExpress 60s Military Strap (which is actually great quality). Your choice of bands here is just what I needed to make more choices.

  3. Crown and Buckle is another option. Personally my favorite Nato, especially their slate grey matte supreme. However, Erika’s MN strap is what I’m usually using.

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