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About “NATO” and “ZULU” Watch Bands. A Little History Lesson

Posted by Momentum Watches - March, 11

Are you curious about the history behind the iconic NATO and ZULU watch bands? Dive into the fascinating story of these legendary straps and learn how they've evolved over the years to become a staple accessory for watch enthusiasts worldwide.

The Origin: A Bond Connection and Military Standardization

Dating back to the 1960s, the NATO watch band gained fame when Sean Connery sported it in the classic film "Goldfinger."

It is interesting to note that the one-piece band on Bond’s watch was not the correct size. (It was too narrow for the watch, with big gaps between the band and the case lugs!) However, its military roots trace back to the 1970s when the British Ministry of Defense standardized the nylon strap for military use. Originally designated by the DEF STAN 66-15: PART 1, these straps were requisitioned using a “G10” form and were famously known for their simplicity and durability. They were only available in one colour: "admiralty grey".

There is some debate as to whether the name “NATO” strap originally had anything to do with NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization), or was derived from the fact that it was a standard issue with a “National Stocking Number”, shortened to NATO. Some purists insist that these bands should be named “G10” bands, after the G10 requisition form.

Evolution and Innovation

Over the years, NATO and ZULU straps have undergone significant evolution, with improved nylon weaves, upgraded hardware and laser cut holes to avoid fraying. While the classic NATO features a second nylon piece creating a pocket to help “lock” the watch in position, the ZULU strap offers a slimmer design, without the extra nylon piece. Both offer advantages like security, (so you do not lose your watch if one springbar breaks); easy installation, (pull through to fit, usually without any tools), and versatility, (quickly switch out bands to change the look of your watch), making them popular choices among watch aficionados.

Modern Adaptations for Enhanced Performance

Today, companies like Momentum offer high quality “WEB” NATO-style bands, with solid 316L steel hardware, but are pushing the boundaries of innovation with rubber NATO-style bands. These new “CONVERTIBLE” versions offer quick-drying and easy maintenance, perfect for active lifestyles. Plus, as these new rubber options are not stitched together, you can effortlessly convert your rubber “NATO”-style band into a single-pass, “ZULU” style, using only a simple strap tool.

Experience the Difference

Discover the versatility, durability, and style of NATO/ ZULU watch bands today. Visit our website to explore our wide selection and find the perfect strap to complement your timepiece. With easy installation, secure fit, and timeless appeal, it's time to upgrade your watch with a one-piece strap.

Ready to Dive In?

Don't miss out on the opportunity to enhance your watch collection with our legendary WEB (NATO) and CONVERTIBLE rubber straps. Shop now and experience the perfect blend of tradition and innovation in every strap.