20mm “SB” Black/Gray Bond Milspec Strap from Cincy Strap Works
I may have a NATO strap problem. Just may. I’ll admit to nothing beyond that. In front of Congress, I’m taking the fifth.
I kind of feel like I have tried them all. And, I’ve developed a few opinions on NATO straps in the process.
First, why a NATO strap? For me, it is pure functionality. My day can have me in a polo shirt in the morning, a suit in the afternoon, and soaked in sweat by dinner time. My watch, and its strap need to hold up to it all. With my watches on NATOs, I’m sure they will be there at the end of the day and I’m sure the strap will not only look good, but function and survive. As my loyal readers understand, I break stuff and survival of my life is key.
Good old James Bond re-popularized the NATO strap and to the better for sure. The NATO strap market has more colors, textures, etc. going on in it than one can catalog easily. So, we have that going for us.
Recently I discovered a super fantastic strap retailer. They are Cincy Strap Works (www.cincystrapworks.com). And, I think I have now gotten three shipments from them. Each envelope opening has made me happier than the other. And this brings us, actually me, to the star of my strap collection.
I bought into Cincy Strap Works web site’s hype and preordered this SB strap on a whim. I already had a Cincy Strap Works black/gray, but the description of this one’s material piqued my interest. So, when I got the email notification that the SB one had shipped, I was more than a bit excited. And, let me tell you, I was not disappointed when I opened up the envelope.
First in the envelope was two pieces of candy. Two nice touches for sure. And, because I am an adult and I don’t have to ask anyone, I promptly ate both pieces. I didn’t share, I spoiled my dinner, and I don’t care. Candy tastes good. And the supplied candy only added to the excitement and satisfaction.
An aside: Any adult that does not eat candy, upon being presented with it, is wasting their adult status.
And satisfaction is the absolute best word here. When I slipped this strap out of its plastic sleeve, I was satisfied instantly. There is a smoothness that just feels very, very (I want to put a bunch more “very’s” here) right. And by right, I mean correct. To add to that first touch, there is rigidness. But not a stiffness that is not easy to explain. But, of course, I’ll try. Simply, it bends perfectly in the directions you want it to, but not in those that you don’t or it should not. Yeah. Exactly. Not only does it feel really, really nice; but it is super functional.
So let me set the scene here: Opened envelope, eaten candy, and a wonderful strap in my hand. What am I to do? Duh. Get the bracelet off my Omega Planet Ocean Seamaster and get this strap on my wrist of course. A few moments with the trusty spring bar tool and off I went.
Now, back to the strap. This is marketed as “SB” for seat belt. And, I’m guessing that the material used here is similar to, or exactly, like that used in automobile seat belts. Cool. I don’t know for sure one way or the other. But, what I do know is that it very much works for a watch strap. This strap has a level of luxuriousness that befits a fine watch. But, it also has a superb level of functionality that, well…, befits a fine watch. Remember: I use my stuff. My watches are not for just looking at.
Enough about the material that is used. What’s the hardware like? In a word: Perfect. Stainless steel, polished (it is available in brushed) and the bucket it etched with C.S.W. As it is meant to it all works, is positioned to work, and look damn good doing it.
The stitching is straight and even, the holes are heated or glued to prevent stretching, and the strap is just ready to be used.
As I stated, I may have a NATO strap problem. But, I’ve just worn this new SB strap for four days straight. Not once have I thought about swapping it out. Not once. And that says a lot.
I understand that NATO straps are not for everyone. But, if you have tried NATOs before and thought them a bit flimsy or a bit unrefined for your tastes, I would suggest that you take the old Pepsi Challenge with a Cincy Strap Works “SB” strap. You may find yourself converted. I know that I was converted to NATOs before this strap. But, I may just be a one strap guy now…
At least until I want a different color…