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How to Fit a NATO Watch Strap

How to Fit a NATO Watch Strap

NATO Straps are renowned for being light, breathable and affordable. With such a large range of colours and styles available, there is no reason you can’t have one of these comfortable straps for every occasion. After all, a watch strap allows us watch enthusiasts to express our individual style, and match our watch to our outfit and mood. And why not do this with the strap introduced by The British Ministry of Defence and made famous by none other than James Bond! 

What this does mean is that you will need to know how to remove and fit a NATO watch strap. The great news is that, if you don’t know how to do it, we’re here to help! And once you’ve got the hang of it, a watch strap change can take mere seconds. Without further ado then...

To fit a NATO watch strap, you will need a spring bar tool. This tool enables you to remove your spring bars and current watch strap if you have one, and then refit your spring bars and new NATO strap with ease. This works with all NATO straps, regardless of if they are made from nylonleather or rubber

Once you've got your hands on a spring bar tool then, follow the steps below to fit your strap. 

1. Remove Current Watch Strap 

If you have a watch strap on your timepiece, remove it with a spring bar tool. To do this, connect the fork end of the tool with the spring bar and, with a small amount of pressure, pry the spring bar out of the hole. You might need to wriggle the tool around a bit, but it will detach with a bit of time and patience. Keep the spring bars safe, as you will need them to fit your NATO watch strap in just a moment. You should now be able to remove your current watch strap. 

2. Replace Spring Bars

Now you need to repeat the previous step in reverse and fit the spring bars back in place with the spring bar tool. To do this, position one end of the spring bar in the lug, with the spring bar tool on the other end, and push it into the hole until it clicks. Repeat this process for the spring bar on the other side. 

If you own a quick-release watch strap, all you need to do is press the pin inwards on both ends and then replace each lug with the new strap, no tools needed. 

3. Thread and Secure NATO Strap

Next, thread the non-buckled (and longer) end of the NATO watch strap under the spring bar and pull it tight. Make sure that it goes under the bottom of the watch, and not on top of it. You should then thread the non-buckled end through the other spring bar and attach it to the shorter end. 

Pass the non-buckle end of the strap through the buckle and the remaining loops, and you’re done! If you have excess material, it looks neater and stylish to fold it backwards and then tuck the remaining tail under one of the keepers. 

This can be difficult to visualise so, for additional help, watch this process in real-time with our video on how to fit a NATO watch strap. 

Although the NATO is designed so that if a spring bar were to pop out from the case it would not result in the watch falling off your wrist, it is still important that your NATO is the right size to keep you comfortable and your timepiece secure. It is therefore important that you purchase the right size NATO watch strap. To do this, you need to measure the strap length and lug width on your watch which we have detailed how to do in this guide.

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Written by Holly, for WatchObsession.