THE UK PATTERN NATO STRAP
The history of the so called NATO strap goes back to a specification from the UK Ministry of Defence called Defence Standard 66-47 Issue 2 Publication Date 30 March 2001. This specification superseded Def Stan 66-47 Issue 1 dated 13 November 1992 and two earlier standards, Def Stan 66-15 (Part 1) Issue 1 – Strap (Nylon) dated 30 November 1973 and Def Stan 66-15 (Part 2) Issue 1 – Strap (Leather/Nylon) dated 31 January 1974. The current specification data sheet can be downloaded at NATO Strap Current Spec
The strap which many serving and ex military personnel refer to as the NATO or G10 strap got its name because of the form which UK military use to requisition the strap (and other items) from the stores, most likely the term NATO strap is because it has a NATO stock or NSN number, there are actually two NATO stock numbers allocated to the item: Army/Navy 6645-99-124-2986 and RAF 6645-99-527-7059 These numbers are applied to most NATO issue items and identify a product that meets a narrow range of specifications and requirements. NATO straps are now available in a wide range of colours because to an extent it has become a fashion item but at the same time search and rescue favour orange and serving military have their own preferences. I was speaking to two pilots recently who fly for Air Canada and they both wear a Breitling Emergency watch on a black NATO strap which actually looks very good. It is interesting to note that the original NATO strap to which the specification applies came in only one color which was grey and it was originally only supplied to the Royal Navy in a width of 20mm. The fittings were originally chromed brass but I have seen current issue straps which use stainless steel.
The interesting thing about the UK NATO strap is that many people find it rather like a Chinese puzzle when it comes to working out how to wear it! The main reason is that it is nearly 30cm long and they often end up cutting it down and ruining it. If you happen to buy one and that unsure how to wear it it's always a good idea to go back and ask the company for instructions there are several videos on YouTube and we've listed one in our video section which shows you exactly how it's warm..
DID YOU KNOW A COMPANY TRADEMARKED BOTH NATO AND NATO-G10!
Something interesting regarding these straps is that a US firm called International Watchman - The Terms NATO and NATO-G10 have been trade marked in the US by International Watchman, Inc. CORPORATION OHIO 4301 Manhattan Ave. Brunswick OHIO 44212 - have trademarked NATO and NATO-G10 in the area of watches and watch straps.
This posting has the details on a reputable Military Watch enthusiasts forum: http://www.mwrforum.net/forums/showthread.php?t=54073
This is a link to the trademark registrations for NATO-G10 at the USPTO http://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=85370184&caseType=SERIAL_NO&searchType=documentSearch and NATO is at http://www.trademarkia.com/nato-85054829.html
OTHER NATO MARKS INTERNATIONAL WATCHMAN INC HAVE APPLIED FOR
This link shows the other NATO marks they have tried to register they even tried for BUND 6645-12-145-6415! See http://mytrademarkia.com/bund-6645121456415-85466156.html
Interestingly International Watchman seems to be targeting eBayers but a quick search reveals a lot of listings see
Here are the links to International Watchman Inc on the Ohio Corporate Registry
Clearly this is a really unethical tactic considering NATO is an international organization and frankly it needs to be brought to their attention to ensure steps are taken to cancel the trademark. The link to bring this to their attention is at http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/contact.htm I am frankly pretty taken aback that the USPTO allowed them to register NATO as a mark but clearly a company who engages in tactics of this sort is best avoided because if they behave unethically in this way what else might they do when it comes to after sales service? Just Google International Watchman Review as I did its quite revealing!
These straps are easy to source in Europe and the US but I tend to recommend the three firms below.
Something which is interesting are the latest new elasticated/stretch NATO straps, these look very much the same as the standard nylon straps but have a significant advantage if the strap gets caught on something because it's possible to remove the watch and strap whereas a standard strap could leave you hanging by the wrist! Having once got caught up myself while I was in the military I can see the appeal! These straps are available from a number of suppliers but both CWC and MWC have them see the links below. The straps look to be identical to me after comparing one of the green with yellow stripe straps which I bought from CWC with one a friend brought from MWC.
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