You’ve all heard of strap monsters, watches that work so damn well with just about any strap. For those who get bored of stock bracelets and like to change things up – strap monsters are great buys. But we want to dig into this concept a little bit deeper. We did some reasearch to identify watches that look good with just about any nato strap. Here’s what we discovered.
The common theme for nato strap monsters is that the watch tends to be black or dark grey. Those flat and neutral dial colour tends to fit universally with a wide strap colour range. A watch head like the hulk submariner looks good on a stainless steel bracelet, and can look good on a strap that is specifically made to match the dial colour, but generally looks off on any other strap.
1. SKX 007
The skx007 needs no introduction, it’s ubiquitous amongst all watch entusiasts and has been the goto watch for all true watch collectors since it’s release is 1996. Seen here sporting a light grey nato, a colour that’s difficult to match well. It proves how versatile the skx is. the matt black skx007 can work just as well on a bond nato, classic bond nato, black nato or even an army green nato.
The skx009 (the pepsi variant) is also quite versatile and is a good option if you prefer a splash of colour on your watch.
2. Tudor Black Bay
For a long time the tudor black bay heritage was my favourite watch, that was until the black bay 58 came out. After trying it on at the tudor dealer I had to order it and to balance the books I had to reluctantly sell my 41mm black bay heritage.
Tudor Black bay would have been a total strap monster, the classic diver has the look, proportions and styling to work with any strap. The problem with it is that the lug holes are drilled too far away from the main watch head. This leads to an unsightly gap between the strap and watch head. You can see the gaps below. Once you see it, it cannot be unseen and it will bug you.
While the tudor black bay does not work so great with regular 2 piece straps, it works brilliantly with nato straps as they’re able to plug the gap. Tudor have their own nato straps called fabric straps that have a vintage tweed like appearance. They also look good on our nylon and 1.4mm herringbone straps.
The gaps between the strap and watch head are completely gone on a nato strap. The tudor black bay looks far better on a nato than the submariner which can look a bit disproportionate with the maxi lugs.
3. Timex Weekender
The weekender needs no introduction, a starter watch for so many watch enthusiasts and much better value than the spate of minimalist watches you see on instagram today. The classic design, minimalistic aesthetic and perfectly rounded case design make it a much better proposition than the likes of Daniel Wellington, Fifth, MVMT. The Timex weekender comes natively on a nato strap and boy does it celebrate the nato strap.
Arguably the timex weekender was responsbile for introducing nato straps to the mainstream.
The only limitation with the weekender is that it’s a bit small, so it does require a single pass nato, the classic double pass nato may cause the watch the sit a bit taller than ideal.
The timex weekender is so versatile they can work with pretty much any nato strap. It’s also cheap enough to buy one in each colour. In the US they retail for $32. For some reason they tend to be a lot more expensive in the UK commanding £40-£50, they’re still worth the price point and look more expensive than they are.
Just one tip, timex weekenders are fun watches, they like colourful and outlandish straps.
Sinn 856 & 556i
Photo credit: AntonisCh
The Sinn 856 is such a simple and charming watch. The dial and hands are the same style as found in Seiko Spork and many Bell&Ross watches. But it works so well in this field style case that Sinn has used.
Sinn is a relatively unknown watch brand, collected by enthusiasts. They began watchmaking in 1961. Sinn remain true to the fundamentals of watchmaking, building stylish and understated watches.
The beating heard of the Sinn 856 is a highly tuned Sellita SW-200 movement
Vostok Amphibia 710
Vostok is the watch you own when you go deep down the watch collecting rabbit hole. When you’ve watched a few thousand youtube videos on watches you’ll find someone raving about Vostok. Vostok is a marmite watch, it’s garish, bold, doesn’t conform to conventional watch styling. Most will hate it, but a few diehard will love it.
They come in various styles you’re bound to find one style you love. I like the pepsi bezel & blue scubaman version myself. It’s a tremendous beater watch with genuine scuba diving water proofing. You’d be hard pressed to find a real diving watch for £70.
image credit: khrisnasrussianwatches
Seamaster & Submariner
Whether the seamaster or submariner looks better on nato is subject to a lot of forum and reddit debates., both were made popular by James bond, all the way from Sean Connery’s goldeneye to more contemporary bond strap by Daniel Craig.
Both are iconic watches that look good on a variety of different natos.It is almost a shame to list these two iconic watches together – both pull off different natos in their own way.
My preferred submariner for wearing with nato straps are the pre-ceramic versions before the maxi case. I feel as though the chunky lugs on the maxi case submariners doesnt look as good as the previous thinner lug models.
Here you can see the submariner on a maxi case, sporting the vintage bond nato strap