Posted on

How To: Fit a NATO Strap to your Watch

Fitting a new strap is a fun way to change up the look of your watch. One of the coolest and most affordable options is a NATO strap, and in this post we will show you how to fit one to your watch!

Step 1: Take off the old strap

In order to fit a NATO strap to your watch you must first take off the old one. Please note that for this post we’ll stick to straps – we’ll talk bracelets some other time. The strap is fixed to your watch through a set of bars. In general these are the so-called push pins, though other variations such as Panerai’s screw bars also exist. A push pin looks like this:

It’s basically a hollow pin with a collared pin on each end and a spring inside.

To take off the current strap you need a tool which allows you to get in between the lug and the strap, and push down the collar of the push pin. Ideally this is a tool dedicated to this task, but often a small knife will also do the trick. If you want to avoid scratches you might want to apply a bit of tape underneath the lugs.

Once the strap is off you might take the opportunity to clean off any accumulated dust and dirt between the lugs and / or measure to double-check the width of the NATO strap you’ll need.

Step 2: Refit the spring bars

Now you want to reapply the spring bars – yes, without a strap! To do this you put one end in the lug hole, and then gently push down the collar on the other end until it’s narrow enough to go in between the lugs and slide into the opposite hole. Again ideally you use the tool, though this can be done with nearly anything – but watch your nails! Apply tape if necessary to avoid scratches, and always do it from the backside.

Step 3: Put on the NATO strap

Now it’s time to fit the NATO strap. Usually it looks like this when purchased:

You see there’s two layers, three metal loops, and one buckle. What you need to do first is get the upper part loose from the metal loop on the left in the picture above, like this:

Get it out all the way, so it will look like this:

Now slide on the watch head, and make sure the buckle is at the 12:00 side.

Now zip the upper part of the strap through the metal loop again, and you’re good to go!

Voila; you now have yourself a watch with a whole new look. Easy right?