If your watch needs a bit of variety on a budget, it’s hard to go wrong with a NATO strap. These simple nylon bands have been a wristwatch staple for decades, ever since the world saw one on the wrist of none other than James Bond. Easy to swap out and easy on the wallet, NATO straps make it easy to customize a watch or match it to an outfit. With the Apple Watch, strap makers have jumped on the NATO bandwagon to create some very nice options to customize your Watch.
Now, as long as you have proper adapters for your Apple Watch, you can throw any NATO strap on there and be good to go. Well, mostly: the traditional NATO style that wraps under the watch case would cover the heart rate sensors on the bottom of the watch. For some people, this will not be a big deal, and if that’s the case, adapters are available from several sources. Clockwork Synergy sells some nice ones for $19.95, or you could hunt around on sites like Amazon and see what you can find. It might not be a bad idea to pick up a pair of these anyway, if you want the widest variety of bands possible, since you can use these to put any traditional watch band on the Apple Watch. The NATO straps themselves are available from almost any company that makes watch bands; the aptly named NATO Strap Co. has an extremely wide selection of styles and colors available.
However, If you want all of your Apple Watch’s functions and features available, and you probably do, you’re going to have to look at either two-piece NATO bands or bands designed specifically for Apple Watch; there are several nice options to choose from here. For a standard two-piece strap, NATO Strap Co. offers the Classic Bond. This is a two-piece ballistic nylon strap with black and light gray stripes running the length of the band. As the name implies, it is modeled after the watch strap worn by James Bond in Goldfinger. The strap is available in four different widths and with a choice of two colors for the hardware: a light, brushed stainless steel that would match well with an aluminum or stainless steel Apple Watch, and a darker PVD stainless steel that would match well with a Space Gray or Space Black Apple Watch. This high-quality strap costs just $15.00 and there are discounts for buying in bulk, highlighting one of the advantages of a NATO-style nylon strap: they’re dirt cheap, so you can pick up a variety of colors and styles without breaking the bank. The one downside to this option is that it does not include any sort of adapter, so you’ll have to grab one from one of the aforementioned sources.
If you want a band designed specifically for your Apple Watch, accessory maker Incipio has you covered. Incipio is well-known for making quality smartphone cases, so you get the advantage of a reputable company here, instead of taking a chance on one you may have never heard of. Their NATO strap for Apple Watch aims to combine utility and style, and features heat-reinforced woven nylon in a choice of three colors: black, navy blue, and olive green. The buckle and loops are available in either polished stainless steel or space gray to match your Apple Watch case, and the whole package is available for either 38mm or 42mm Apple Watches, so there’s something for everyone here. This strap is a little pricier than the previous option at $39.99, but, like most straps designed for Apple Watch, it does include adapters, so if you don’t already have some it may even out.
Lastly, we have a NATO-style strap from Clockwork Synergy. Their Classic NATO Band comes in a very wide assortment of colors and patterns. Solid colors, stripes, camo, you name it. Each band can then be further customized with a choice of adapter and buckle color. There are adapters to match every color of Apple Watch. Just be aware that not every strap is available in every size: some are only made for the 38mm watch. The straps feature a two-piece design and are made from quality nylon that is comfortable and durable. Prices range from $26.95 to $29.95. There is also a line of Heavy NATO Bands that are thicker than the Classic, 1.8mm vs 1.25, for extra durability. These are $29.95.
As you can see, there are quite a few quality options out there for adding a little NATO style to your Apple Watch, and we’ve only scratched the surface. These bands are cheap enough to splurge on, so grab a few and have fun!