Resuscitate An Old Watch For Only 5 Bucks

Resuscitate an old watch for only $5 - watches with nato straps

How to install a Nato strap graphicWords & Pictures by Andrew Snavely

Just like swapping out your shoe laces, retrofitting an old watch with a new strap can completely change its style. The canvas watch strap has been gaining popularity over the last year or two, specifically what is known as a NATO strap. Originally designed for the British military, canvas NATO straps offer a stylish alternative to metal and leather watch bands that often don't add anything to your getup. In contrast, a canvas strap that matches your getup like the tan strap below, or adds a bit of color like the green, blue, and white strap, acts as a fully functional piece of what you're wearing.

Based on a tip from Joe over at Dappered I swung by Target to find the Timex Weekender Slip-Thru straps to be marked at $6.99. I picked up 3, and was delighted to find they were actually on sale for $5 each.

I chose the three color combinations above. I’m really digging the tan strap, especially for all the earth tones of fall style. The green, blue, and white strap yearns for shorts and polo weather. And the blue and white strap creates a nice casual anytime watch that offers more than leather or metal. These Timex straps accommodate 20mm pins. The timepiece shown is the Timex Easy Reader, and after swapping straps you end up with a watch that rivals the much more expensive J.Crew Timex that runs for $150.

These aren’t true NATO straps, since they’re missing the extra band that goes underneath the clock, but for $15 I essentially got three new watches. Installation is a cinch: Just take off the old strap, place the pins back in, and slide the new strap through as shown on the right. Once the pins are in place, swapping between straps is a breeze.

Watches are literally one of the only “accessories” a guy has, so get some new straps and give yourself some options.

Nato strap watch

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Andrew Snavely

Andrew founded Primer in 2008 and brings 15+ years of men's style expertise. Known for his practical, relatable approach to style and self-development, he has been a recognized speaker at conferences and has styled work for top brands. Off-duty, he loves photography & editing, and enjoys road trips with his dog, Leela. Raised in rural Pennsylvania, educated in DC, and living in LA for nearly 20 years, Andrew's diverse experiences shape the relatable and real-world advice that has helped millions through Primer. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.