Omega Watches and the revolution in NATO watch straps.
Omega as a brand have had a huge influence in not just watch design, think Speedmaster, Seamaster, Planet Ocean as iconic models, but also revolutionising watch strap design. In particular Omega have massively popularised high end NATO watch straps. Variously called seatbelt NATOs, dense twill NATOs or premium NATOs.
These are thicker NATO straps that feature a dense weave and are made from polyamide. These watch straps have huge advantages. They are soft and therefore extremely comfortable to wear. They are incredibly strong - your watch will be staying right where you want it…on your wrist. They are also great for wearing in water as they resist rot although if you go into to the sea it is recommended you rinse the strap to take off most of the salt.
In terms of style and design Omega have recognised that the colours of these NATO straps can pick out and complement colours and accents on the watch itself. This has led to some wonderful combinations of NATO and watch. Check our the examples below showing how well a NATO can work with a Seamaster or Speedmaster watch for instance. The dark blue NATO works extremely well on the Seamaster, working with both the dial and bezel colour to provide a strong aesthetic appeal.
Not all NATO watch straps have the same fittings, either in terms of quality or style. These can alter the visual appeal of your watch and change its style. The Speedmaster is one of our all time favourite watches, not just because of its iconic role in history with the Apollo 11 mission, but because it is simply so versatile. A Zulu NATO watch strap in either black or green really changes the visual appeal of the Speedster away from refined dress watch to uber cool military style watch.
Look at the examples below and see how the Speedy is changed by the Zulu NATO strap. Yes, colour of the strap is important here but it is really the style of those steel fittings that changes the look and feel of the watch so much. Black PVD coatings have proved hard and durable and are increasingly popular with luxuwatchstraps customers.
The NATO strap has a fascinating history in itself. It would be easy to assume that its military origins came from being supplied to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) troops. It did not. Instead its origins lie in being supplied or available to British Ministry of Defence soldiers who could fill out a form to obtain one. The form’s identity came through its number G1098 which was then shortened to G10 - hence the origin of itself of a G10 NATO. Originally only available in grey soldiers started to adapt their strap to regimental colours and different colours were worn. A new style of watch strap was born.
How far the NATO, essentially a fabric watch strap, has come is probably no better demonstrated than major watch brands like Tudor releasing their watches on fabric straps and my word don’t they look amazing on those straps! Brands like Omega and Tudor have demolished the idea that watches have to be worn on steel bracelets, that they are only “proper” watches if married with an appropriate stainless steel band. Instead buyers have loved the quality, visual appeal of and sheer range of choice of these high end straps. Take a look at our Tudor style fabric straps here.
We simply cannot talk about Omega watch straps and NATOs in particular without talking about the connections of the brand with the James Bond film franchise. Daniel Craig has very much got involved with actual styling of the latest Seamaster offering with the new Bond release “No Time to Die”. Currently this film has suffered numerous delays due to Covid19 and the resultant global pandemic. When the film is eventually released there will doubtless be a massive increase in demand not just for the watch but for the NATO strap it can be worn on (there is also a new style mesh strap for this incarnation of the Seamaster).
It has to be said that of all the Omega NATO watch straps available they really do seem to have for something quite perfect with this particular strap. It has a military feel but is refined, the colours are wonderfully styled but share that visual versatility of the Speedmaster - it can be all things to all men. Wear it with a suit to an evening function. Wear it in the sea keeping your divers watch firmly in place. Wear it to the pub for your friends to admire your sartorial elegance and your uncanny resemblance to James Bond. Well, the former, probably not the latter.
It was Sean Connery in Goldfinger, though, who established the fanchise’s links with both watches and by extension the strap that the watch was worn on. Connery wore a Rolex 6538 Submariner on a fabric strap, not the steel bracelet that we would expect. Look closely at the image below and you will see that the strap is very badly fitted - far too narrow for the watch! Of course spectators of the film were wrapped up in Bond’s daring do and shenanigans and were not quibbling about wardrobes poor size of watch band. What Connery and Bond did was to massively popularise the fabric strap, the G10 or what morphed into the NATO strap itself.
The Bond franchise’s links to the NATO watch strap probably reached its height with the release of “Spectre” and the now iconic three grey, two black striped NATO watch band. This is often now simply referred to as the “Bond” NATO. Sales of this strap instantly went through the roof as men clamoured to be like screen star Craig’s Bond. A man of action, few words and impeccable taste. Of course, we know that the Bond franchise has popularised far more than just watches and watch straps, like the humble NATO. Anything Bond touched would lead to huge sales increase from cars to phones to clothes. A fact not lost on advertisers and marketers who would then pay large sums of money for their product to make its way into one of the films. Indeed, such is the huge influence of Bond on men that a recent survey of briefcase owners in the UK showed that over 87% had their pass code set to 007. Men rushed to change their codes whilst quietly telling themselves they really were still Bond like in some way. A much safer way of expressing their Bond like qualities was to buy a watch or a NATO watch strap to express their secret agent like nature. Sales of Bond watches and straps sky rocketed with the watches always having a featured spot in the film. Who can forget the wonderful exchange between Bond and Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale where she notices his watch on the train and the following exchange takes place;
Vesper Lynd : Rolex?
James Bond : Omega.
Vesper Lynd : Beautiful. Now, having just met you, I wouldn't go as far as calling you a cold-hearted bastard...
James Bond : No, of course not.
Vesper Lynd : But it wouldn't be a stretch to imagine. You think of women as disposable pleasures, rather than meaningful pursuits. So as charming as you are, Mr. Bond, I will be keeping my eye on our government's money - and off your perfectly-formed arse.
Omega as a brand have done much to revolutionise the popularity of the humble NATO G10 strap. Not least because of their shrewd marketing through the Bond franchise. We see not only watch taste changing with Daniel Craig but Bond himself as the world has evolved progressively. While we hope for the much awaited release of “No Time to Die” and postulate as to what the next Bond will wear, take some time to browse our site to see which NATO strap will suit your watch.
Here are some suggestions to start you off below;