Why are NATO Straps so long? How to Shorten a NATO watch strap without ruining it

NATO straps are the most popular watch strap for men, but many people don’t know how to shorten them or why are NATO straps so long. There’s a lot of confusion out there about this topic and it also has a lot of misinformation. The biggest problem is that many websites offer bad advice on how to shorten your strap and what tools you need. You can easily ruin your watch in the process if you don’t know what you’re doing! 

We’ve created an article with all the information you’ll ever need on shortening your nylon NATO watch strap correctly, including pictures, videos, and step-by-step instructions. It will save you time and money while making sure that nothing goes wrong with your expensive new accessory!

What are NATO straps?

NATO straps are the most popular watch strap for men, and there’s a good reason why. They’re versatile, affordable, and durable – perfect for everyday use.

But what many people don’t know is that NATO straps come in different lengths, and not all of them are created equal. The standard length on a NATO strap is 10″ or 24 cm, but it can be shortened to fit any wrist size.

The standard size for a NATO strap is 10″ and is used for wrists that are 5″ to 7 1/2″ across and is available in measurements of 18mm, 20mm, or 22mm. The ‘long’ version of a NATO strap is 11″ is commonly worn by individuals with wrists measuring 6″ to 8 1/2″. It’s available in 20mm and 22mm widths.

If your NATO strap is too long, you will find it flapping around and it looks ugly and is annoying. Your options are to either tuck it in and deal with this problem every time you take your watch on and off or you can cut it and heat seal the end.

I’m not about tucking it in so let’s go into what you need to do to shorten a NATO strap and do it properly.

How to shorten a NATO strap without ruining it

  • If your NATO strap is too long, you’ll need to cut it to size. Make sure you have sharp scissors or a knife so that you don’t damage the fabric.
  • Fold the excess fabric over so that it’s even with the end of the strap and then use a heat sealer, lighter or matches to seal the end. Don’t hold the flame too close to the fabric as it will melt and ruin your strap.
  • You can also use a sewing machine to stitch the end of the fabric if you want a more secure finish.
  • Check out the video below on how to shorten a NATO strap.
  • Shortening a NATO watchstrap is an easy process, but make sure you do it correctly so that you don’t damage your watch!

Why are NATO straps so long?

The NATO strap was created for military use and the original straps were much longer than the ones we see today.

The reason why NATO straps are so long is that they were designed to be worn over a jacket or parka. This way, the watch would be more visible and accessible if needed in an emergency.

Today, most people wear NATO straps on watches that have a case diameter of less than 42mm, which means that you don’t need as much excess fabric. If you have a larger wrist, you can still shorten your strap but not shorten it by much.

The difference between leather and nylon straps, which is better for you?

If you have a larger wrist, nylon NATO straps offer more comfort. Their elasticity is very beneficial on the wrist and not having to worry about them being too tight or loose can be great for some people.

The downside of this material is that it may wear out faster than leather if exposed to water frequently. Leather will age beautifully over time whereas NATO tends to keep its shape but lose color over time. The problem with a leather NATO strap is that you will damage the leather in salt water and most leather is not water treated properly these days so it will end up going hard and crack.

Common mistakes when buying a new NATO strap

There are a few common mistakes when buying a new NATO strap. These are:

  • buying too short
  • not matching it to your watch case when you buy the strap
  • buying a cheap NATO that stretches out quickly once worn for a while
  • buying a good strap with cheap metal buckles and rings that break easily.

Wrap up

I hope you found “Why are NATO Straps so long? How to Shorten a NATO watch strap without ruining it” a useful resource. Feel free to check out my other NATO strap articles now.

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