And Now I’m a Watch Band Geek

Pebble Time Steel

Howard, this is all your fault…

You’ll recall that he posted last month about how to clean up scuffs on a smart or dumb watch. Shortly thereafter he showed up for lunch with yours truly sporting his “dumb” mechanical watch affixed to a NATO strap. What’s a NATO strap, you ask? Well, it’s exactly what you see here.

It’s not to be confused with a ZULU strap, no no no no no. See, the NATO style features an additional strap that slides through the two lugs, and also squared-off buckles. ZULU straps have just the one long strap, are made of thicker ballistic nylon cloth and have thicker rounded buckles—either three or five and OH MY GOD I’M A WATCH BAND GEEK!!1!

If you’ve got Android Wear or Pebble smartwatch, becoming a watch band geek is relatively easy. First, find the correct width for your replacement strap (for my Pebble Time Steel that would be 22mm). Next, you’ll most likely have to invest in one or two additional accessories—a set of spring bar pins and possibly a spring bar jeweler’s tool. This is only because most of the Android Wear and Pebble smartwatches I’ve seen have quick-release pins where the pins stay on the band, rather than on the watch.

With your new pins in place you are now ready for any NATO (or ZULU) band that fits your watch. I found a big selection of them from this Amazon seller. An immediate benefit of switching to a NATO strap was a better fit on my wrist—the strap I got has 12 holes, versus 10 on the strap that came with my Pebble. And since the straps are relatively cheap you could conceivably get one to match every outfit, or at least every watch face.

If you have an Apple Watch there are some third-party straps out there. But as we all know Apple loves to reinvent the wheel, so to use a NATO strap you’ll have to install a generic band adapter.

Any other watch band geeks out there? For those in Canada, below are some links to get you started.

Amazon (Canada) links: NATO Bands, Spring Bar Pins, Spring Bar Jeweler’s Tool

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