Making a NATO-Style Watch Band

Taking a break from work to make something for myself…

I don’t wear a watch every day but when I do, I like it to be comfortable and not at all flashy.  I was never a fan of wearing a watch when I wasn’t working but having a crew who expect regular breaks and a lunch hour made sure I owned one most of my adult life.  Now we live in an era of cell phones with fancy clock features, timers, and alarms which makes the humble wrist watch an anachronism at barely 100 years old.

NATO Watch Strap
My inexpensive but excellently serviceable watch.

I don’t desire or need an expensive watch and have always considered them to be somewhat disposable.  I bang them up pretty badly so it is rare that I ever have one costing more than about $40.  If you’ve ever changed a modern band and don’t like to fidget around with the little pop-off axles that hold the strap on you should consider this simple and elegant design long-favored by the military.  A quick search on the internet will yield you plenty of cheap and interesting versions of this type and they can be changed in a matter of seconds.  It’s even fashionable to have several styles and interchange them regularly.  Imagine that… I’m a fashionista.

NATO style leather watch band
I made this one before dinner.

I considered making an extremely simple tutorial for this style but it is so incredibly simple, I think actual words would only confuse the matter.

NATO style leather watch band
Threaded onto the watch.

The real genius of this design is that it is a single belt that goes behind the watch, keeping the metal mostly off of the skin.  It should be clear from the photo above that there is really no trick to attaching it to the watch itself.  I have rather thick wrists, so I add about an inch and a half to my bands when I make them for a better fit.

NATO style leather watch band
Completed strap.

And finally (I know, you shouldn’t start a sentence with a conjunction but we all do it) you don’t have to even limit this design to leather.  You can make it from cotton or nylon flat webbing or could even branch out to making your own cloth band.  Just save back the buckles and keepers from any old watch and sew them to your own creation.

Time for me to get back to work.



6 thoughts on “Making a NATO-Style Watch Band

  1. Nice, I haven’t worn a watch in almost 50 years but if I ever do….now I can have a fine and
    very practical band.
    How about more like this? These little quick and easy projects are fun and practical.

  2. Hi George, I like the wristband. It looks like you didn’t burnish the edges. Are you doing that on purpose, is the leather to thin or do you just feel like you don’t need it? Keep up the writing, I really appreciate it.

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