For some hesitant watch wearers, the prospect of cold, clunky stainless steel bands weighing down their wrists can be a dealbreaker.
Of course, you could always rock a leather strap, or stick to checking the time on your iPhone like a schlub. But there's a cool, lightweight alternative in the ever-popular nylon NATO strap, which punches up any timepiece courtesy of a variety of colorful designs.
The origins of NATO watch straps lie in, where else, the military. The name is a reference to NATO Stock Numbers, those 13-digit code that identify standardized goods of NATO countries and their militaries.
The first examples cropped up in the British military, but they didn't become a hit until Sean Connery rocked a Rolex Submariner with one in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger. The rest, watch geeks say, is history.
These days, you can't swing a double chronograph without hitting a popular model outfitted in a nylon strap. Timex was an early adopter of this style deviation, but plenty of other brands—some high-priced—have begun experimenting with militaristic nylon, likely encouraged by the recent surge in athletic and military-inspired menswear.
Here, some of our favorite new nylon strap watches:
If none of those watches suit you, there are plenty of straps available on their own—that can be mixed and matched with whatever timepiece you already own.
Some of our favorites, below.