06 March 2017

The James Bond NATO Strap

Being a guy, you kinda default into being a 007 fan.  Being a watch fanatic, you kinda get into straps, as well.  Among the many James Bond gadgets and accessories is his watch, and of course, the watch strap.  In the films, Bond has worn Rolex, Breitling, Hamilton, Seiko, TAG Heuer, and currently, Omega.  In the books by Ian Fleming, Agent 007 wears a Rolex.  But we are not talking about the watches, just one of the straps.

Sean Connery as James Bond wearing a Rolex Submariner on a NATO strap
While most watches come on either a metal bracelet or leather strap, the Bond character chooses to wear their watches on a nylon NATO strap, mostly likely due to his military background.  Sean Connery can been seen wearing a nylon strap with a Rolex Submariner in many of the James Bond films.  Connery's strap is a black strap with two olive stripes, on either side of the olive are thin red stripes.  

Daniel Craig as James Bond wearing an Omega Seamaster on NATO strap
Daniel Craig's NATO strap, as seen in some of his Bond films, is a black strap with two grey stripes.

These straps are widely available from many manufactures and in different colour combinations.  Most important, they are available in the Bond style.  Some are great, some are not so great.  I have a purchase a few at different price points to compare.  

NATO straps by Phoenix (top), Cincy Strap Works (middle), and Omega (bottom)
I should mention that of the many versions out there, these are the best ones I have found so far based the tightness of the nylon weave, via images.  Others out there have a looser weave and have cheaper look, based on images.  When looking for nylon straps, I recommend ones with a tighter weave.

The images below will show the Phoenix strap on the left, Cincy Strap Works in the middle, and the Omega strap on the right.  These are all 22mm wide.

Strap ends
The Phoenix strap (left) is the least expensive of the three, at $10-15.  This is also the thinnest of the three straps at 0.8mm. Although the Phoenix strap has a tight weave, it feel stiffer than the other two straps.  It also feels a little flimsy, especially if you are wearing on a large or heavy watch. 

Nylon straps are usually finished by melting the ends to prevent fraying.  Notice that the Phoenix cut and sealing is not as smooth as the other two.  All straps reviewed have sealed holes.

The Cincy Strap Works strap (middle) retails for about $24.  Great strap for a great price.  It is slightly thicker than the Phoenix at 1.25mm.  The version I have is the "Seat Belt" version, feels a lot like a seat belt and also has a glossy-like finish.  It has a silky smooth feel and wears really comfortable on the wrist.  

Looking at the hardware, the Phoenix and CSW are rounded.  The Omega has squared hardware, and Omega logo on the bottom loop.  

You can see that the colour on the straps are slightly different from each other, something you really cannot see and compare when ordering via images.  It really does not bother me too much.  I personally like CSW's tone of grey.

The Omega strap is the most expensive of the three, it can set you back around $250-300.  That price gives you a thicker 1.5mm strap and noticeably smoother finish that you can feel.  

Each buckle displays the company name.  The Phoenix and CSW have etched logos on the left side of he buckle, while the Omega has an embossed logo on the center of the buckle.  The hardware on the Phoenix is locked in by (I assume some sort of) sonic welding.  The other two locks their hardware with stitches.


Obviously, you get what you pay for.  

At $15, the Phoenix is a great strap.  Why not get two or three at that price?  It does feel thin, especially compared to other similar type straps out there.  I got my Phoenix strap through GasGasBones.

The Omega strap, some might say, is over priced.  But, the quality is superb.  After all, this is the Official James Bond strap. You can get the Omega strap at an Omega Boutique or Omega Authorized dealer.  I got mine through eBay.  

By far the best bang for your buck is the Cincy Strap Works strap.  At only $24, you get quality very close to the Omega strap without the Omega price.  Check out the CSW website to order yours and view their other items.

Now, go out there and save the world.

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