Creating A New Old Inexpensively With NATO Straps


Chopard Mille Miglia with NATO leather strap

I toyed with the idea of using NATO straps late last year. It's one of the easiest {if not the easiest} and most inexpensive ways to freshen up old wristwatches. 

Actually, the idea of changing my watch's straps came to mind due to an unfortunate incident. The rubber straps of my husband's watch broke apart. I called the store to have it replaced. I palpitated heavily when I found out that the straps' price is equivalent to a decent brand new watch!

Even though I'm a certified watch whore, I still keep an ounce or two of practicality. If the new straps are guaranteed to last forever, I'd go for it. But, since it's made of the same material, there's a huge possibility that it will have the same fate.

I was told that rubber straps harden and become brittle when not in use. That may be, but I have other wristwatches {some of lesser value} with rubber straps that I don't use but are still in good condition. The Chopard Mille Miglia watch {above} originally has rubber straps. Despite being rarely used, the straps remain intact. 

Chopard Mille Miglia

NATO straps are originally known as G10.  They come in varied hues, textures, and sizes or lug width {18-24mm} nowadays. The original military issued strap, however, was available in one color and one size only: 20 mm nylon straps in admiralty grey.  

I chose a 20 mm cowhide leather strap for my Chopard Mille Miglia. I actually like leather straps better than the nylon ones. First off, I love how they smell; secondly, leather ages really well {the good ones at least}. They also add a discreet elegance and an instant vintage vibe. 

My quest for an alternative strap became a primping project for my other wristwatches! I bought different straps and changed them myself! Dummy-proof! 

Here's how:

1. Push the watch's spring bars with a watch spring bar tool. If you don't have one, you can use whatever small, sharp tool you have at home. If you break a spring bar, don't die! You can always buy new ones. They're cheap. 

2. Once you've removed the old straps, put the spring bars back and slide the new NATO strap from one spring bar to the next. The buckle of the strap should be above the number 12.

That's it! 

NATO straps are available at J.Crew

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