Beginning in 1973, British military-spec NATO straps, also called “G10” were introduced for use on wristwatches. The ubiquitous NATO strap features a pragmatic design consisting of a single piece that is pushed through the springs bars as opposed to having the spring bars going through it, like most two-piece watch straps or metal bracelets. It’s relatively inexpensive and made from nylon, and the clever design will keep your watch on the wrist, even in the event that one of the two spring bars fails (breaks or pops out). And you can switch between different straps, without the needing the steady hand of a watchmaker, or a spring bar tool. Originally sold in just Admiralty Gray, they are now available in a multitude of colors and patterns.
The original nylon NATO straps are still sold under the trademarked “NATO” name, however, a plethora of companies make their own versions, some nearly identical to the original, others with blackened or matte hardware instead of chrome, or unique colors, stitching, and patterns.
Most I’ve ever tried, if they are made from nylon – there are also low-grade straps on the market, made from plastics, you should avoid – are soft and feel great on the wrist, especially on hot or humid days.
The stitching has almost an artisanal feel, like premium handmade leather watch straps.
ADPT Straps, however, have a totally different feel. They’re much harder wearing than most of the nylon Nato-style straps on the market. They are more rugged, if you will, which is to say a lot considering the original Nato is perhaps the most rugged watch strap ever made.
According to WornandWound, who makes the ADPT Strap, the name is pronounced “adapt” and the acronym stands for All Day, Purpose and Terrain. This exclusive line of straps took three years to develop and is currently the only American made strap of its kind. All ADPT Strap components, including the shuttle loom woven nylon ribbon, 316L stainless steel hardware, bonded nylon thread, sewn-in label are sourced and manufactured in the United States of America.
Depending on how you wear your strap, the foldover on these straps is quite unique. You have to really fold the end very firmly to get it to stay, and the makers even suggested making a hard crease. (My wrist is 7-inches in circumference, to give you an idea of how much material will be left at the end of the strap.) After getting it worn in, the difference from the softer straps is apparent but you get used to it. And on the wrist, they look and feel great. Plus, the coloring and stitching, distinguishes this line of nylon straps from virtually every other strap out there. And the majority of the others, are also made outside the US.
ADPT straps come in eight color variations: Black, Coyote, Forest, Navy, Sage, Thalo Blue, Mai Tai, and Admiralty Gray. They come in 18 mm, 20 mm, and 22 mm interlug widths, which are the three most common sizes for watches. The nylon is 420D grade, the hardware is 316L stainless steel, and the thread is Tex 70 Bonded Nylon. Dimensions are 280 mm (or 11 inches long). Each strap is laser cut, assembled, and sewn in the USA.
For this review, I tested two versions for over three months: Admiralty Gray, a darker more bluish version of the gray seen on original Natos, and Forest, a dark olive military-green shade that differs from most of what’s on the market.
The retail price of $42 per strap is relatively high considering single-piece nylon watch straps can be had for under $10 a piece – but these are premium quality, American made, and are particularly stylish. The gorgeous contrast stitching has an almost artisanal feel, like premium handmade leather watch straps. Best of all, each strap has minor imperfections in the sewing and cutting of the nylon, which give it character.
If you’re tired of the typical military Nato-style nylon straps, or just want to give your watch a new look, I highly recommend checking out ADPT.
Learn more at ADPT.