What Is A NATO Watch Strap in 2019? - Marine Nationale Straps & NATOs

What Is A Military Nylon Watch Strap in 2019? - Marine Nationale Straps & Military Nylon Straps

3 min read
Tim Vaux




Tim Vaux




The humble Military Nylon strap has evolved since 1973, but what do they look like in 2019?

There is a huge selection of watch straps available nowadays. Today we briefly take a look at one type of watch strap that has seen a huge rise in popularity recently, the Military Nylon watch strap.

The Seiko SKX fitted to the ZULUDIVER Desert Sand Swiss Style Military Nylon - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine 

What is a Military Nylon Strap?

Military Nylon straps are typically one piece watch straps that are lightweight, quick drying, durable and very simple to use. They were designed by the British Ministry of Defence in 1973. Originally the Military Nylon design consisted of a single piece of nylon with a pin buckle, and keepers to thread excess nylon through one attached to the wrist. A second piece of nylon is commonly attached to the strap as well to ensure the watch is secure once on the wrist.

The idea is if a spring bar on the watch fails, then the second piece of nylon will keep the watch safe and secure.

And if you weren't already sold on Military Nylon straps, James Bond (Sean Connery) wore a version of a Military Nylon in Goldfinger on his early Rolex Submariner...

What is the Marine Nationale?

The Marine Nationale is a part of the French Armed Forces. Over the years. the French Navy has been treated very well when it comes to official watches to use when on duty. The ZRC Grand Fonds 300, the Tudor 79227924 and Submariner references such as the snowflake 7016.

The Tudor Snowflake Submariner - Image Credit: Tudor Watches Press

Above is an original Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner fitted to an elastic Military Nylonstyle watch strap. Notice the recognisable design with the stripe running down the middle of the strap...

Marine Nationale Watch Straps.

The Omega Speedmaster fitted to ZULUDIVER Marine Nationale Military Nylon - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Since 2017 we have stocked our very own Marine Nationale strap which looks to take inspiration from the original elasticated parachute webbing material the French Marine Nationale used. They started off in a simple army green in colour, with a single pinstripe colour running down the middle.

ZULUDIVER Elasticated Military Woven Watch Strap available here! - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Now in 2019, the original Marine Nationale Military Nylon has expanded the range of colours. Also in 2019, we introduced the Elasticated Military Woven Watch Strap which takes the inspiration of the paracord to a whole new level. These feature traditional Military Nylon hardware.

The evolution of the Military Nylon strap.

Since its sharp rise in popularity, the expansive range of different Military Nylon available has followed suit. Combat Military Nylon, ZULU straps, Seatbelt Iridescent Military Nylon, Leather Military straps, Velcro Military Straps, 2 Piece Military Straps, Rubber Military Straps. The list is almost endless with the types of Military Nylon available today.

The Tudor Black Bay Harrods on ZULUDIVER 328 Rubber Military Strap - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

It has hit a stage where either one-piece strap or straps that feature simple 'Military style hardware' than get classified and called 'Military Strap'. Purists may argue this is incorrect, however to me, I see it more of an evolution of the phrase. Military Nylon have become bigger then what they first were when introduced back in the 70s. They have been made more stylish with fashion brands picking them up and running with the 'quick, easy, unique' aspect of them.

The use of colours means they can create strong looks when picking out similar colours on watches dials. The likes of Omega, Tudor, Oris, Tag Heuer and NOMOS all have offered new watches purchasable on Military Nylon straps or, an evolution of the Military Nylon.

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Tim Vaux

About the Author: Tim Vaux

I don't think I can remember a time in my life when watches weren't in my life. I've been writing about watches online for a handful of years now, enjoying every moment of it. I'm passionate about experiencing the world of watches and translating those experiences via articles and images for the wider audience to consume.

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