The NATO strap wasn’t developed by the defense alliance of the same name but rather the British Ministry of Defence. (The NATO name came from its stock number.) The design of the strap is perfect for rugged conditions. It’s a one-piece strap that slides underneath the case so that the skin never touches metal. It’s great on hot days because the nylon wicks moisture away from the skin. It also means the strap will stay on the wrist even if a spring bar pops out.
The real beauty of the NATO is its simplicity. It’s inexpensive (though we have fancier leather variants ), infinitely adjustable, available in dozens of colors and patterns, and is extremely comfortable on the wrist.
Whether it’s an Aston Martin, a vodka martini, or a Rolex—an association with the James Bond franchise makes a product all the more desirable. And how did the most iconic Bond (Sean Connery) in his most iconic movie (1964’s Goldfinger) wear his Rolex? On a NATO strap, as any self-respecting British naval commander would.
The strap only features in the movie for a split-second but it was enough to cement the diver’s watch/NATO combination as a classic look.