Thou shall not wear Nato straps. Last year, Nato straps were everywhere. Always a popular fashion accessory, replacing leather, rubber, or steel straps, it became standard practice among watch collectors during the past few years, after a few brands such as Tudor and Omega encouraged the trend by making models for Nato straps.
Now, we won’t deny it: Nato straps are a lot of fun. For a few extra bucks, they can turn one watch into, two or three, or more pieces. Our horological companions become chameleons, able to look just as good on the beach as they do in the boardroom. However, this year, we shall not fall to temptation. We shall try to stay away from Nato straps for as long as possible, and look into alternative – brand made – straps.
Velcro is the new Nato: Having suffered from cuts and bruises from his Richard Mille, Rafael Nadal asked the brand’s namesake CEO to add a custom Velcro strap to the line. Now available for most models, the Velcro strap proves that luxury doesn’t have to be rare, or refined for that matter. If it’s good enough for Rafael Nadal, it’s good enough for us.
Returning to steel: Cartier turned the table on enthusiasts of modern straps when the brand started offering a steel strap to the Calibre de Cartier Diver, in place of the infamous rubber strap. This came after huge demand from early adopters of the Cartier’s first diving watch, who no doubt wanted to hold on to their timepiece long after they returned to the surface. The addition transformed the look of the aquatic watch into an all-purpose sports watch.
Hublot adopted a different approach to the issue of strap-swapping by introducing a range of interchangeable options for limited editions models. Models such as the “Big Bang Ferrari,” the “King Power 66 Hodgson,” and the Las Vegas came with three alligator and rubber straps, in red, white, and black with a deployant buckle. Unlike Cartier, each model comes with the three straps included, so you don’t have to pick “the one,” if you fancy all of your options.
You don’t change a winning team, as the saying goes. And there’s no reason to change a winning design. While we often focus on the case design when reviewing watches, most are in fact made after the lines of the strap.