WatchUSeek Watch Forums banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,181 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Back again, with some different premium NATO straps for comparison! When I say 'premium', I'm referring to NATO straps that use something other than the usual strap material, either something with a finer or denser weave, more rugged fabric, softer feel; anything other than the usual fabric found on all the usual NATO straps you find out there.

For Round 1, comparing the BluShark AlphaShark (Bond), Cincy "SB" (Grey edge-striped), PhenomeNato (Black), and WatchGecko Seat Belt (Black stealth bond), and ToxicBUTTA added in a subsequent post on a later page, see the thread here: https://www.watchuseek.com/f222/seatbelt-nato-strap-roundup-blushark-cincy-phenomenato-watchgecko-picture-heavy-3809666.html

Again, I have no affiliation with any of these companies other than I've spent money on their products since I thought they looked interesting and wanted to try them out and compare them. I also have not worn or handled the Omega NATO strap, which many seem to consider the nicest NATO-styled strap you can get (with a not insignificant price increase for that as well), so I am unable to offer comparisons with that strap.

For Round 2, we have:

Cincy Strap Works: "Seat Belt" SB, Black/Orange Bond version
Haveston: M1936 Strap
ToxicN8O: ShizNit "Herringbone", Admiralty Grey version.

The Cincy Bond "SB" is included in this roundup because it is made of a different fabric than the edge-striped "SB" one featured in the last roundup. Both the Cincy and Toxic straps which I have are the 22mm width versions, while the Haveston is the 20mm. Haveston has since released 22mm versions of their straps, but they were not available at the time when I purchased these straps for comparison.

We'll start off with some group shots again to start. Alas, I forgot to place them in alphabetical order for photography:





Some closer up shots for comparison. For these ones, I've included the PhenomeNato and AlphaShark for comparison, the former for being the nicest fabric in my opinion, and the AlphaShark for being the thickest and most rugged fabric out of the the bunch:




Now for each individual strap:

Cincy Strap Works "SB", Bond




A nice fine weave to their bond style, "1.2mm premium weaved nylon" as they call it. This one measures 1.1mm thick with my calipers, which as I mentioned in my last comparison, is what I measure for almost every "1.2mm" strap I have. Unlike their edge-striped "SB" (picture below), this one is not compressible or cushiony feeling, and feels quite dense and substantial. You can see in the comparison photo above that the weave on this one is comparable to the PhenomeNato, though the feel of the fabric isn't quite as soft or shiny as the PhenomeNato, but nicer than the edge-striped "SB" I have.



The density of the strap makes for very little stretch when I pull on it from both ends. Holes look well cut and sealed, and I definitely feel better with how they look on this one compared to the edge-striped "SB". Stitching is neat, and the hardware is the standard hardware you'll find on most NATO straps, with "CSW" etched on the buckle.

Haveston M1936 Strap




Haveston recently released two different styles of straps, with military-themed designs/colours. Listed as a 1.5mm thick "heavy weave polyamide (bordered)", it's a nice rugged feeling material which I measure at a tad more than 1.4mm. It's not quite as stiff as the AlphaShark, so it's a bit easier to get through tighter fitting springbar clearances than that one, but it still is a thick fabric, so keep that in mind for whatever watches you might consider this for, if springbar clearance is small, and also that it will make the watch sit higher.

The weave on this isn't as fine as the PhenomeNato or Cincy "SB" Bond, but not as coarse as the AlphaShark; it's somewhere in the middle, looking rather similar to the WatchGecko Seat Belt fabric's weave size, though much denser and stiffer in feel in comparison. You'll notice that the edges of the strap woven with a thicker thread, which I hope will contribute to increased durability in the long run. Very little stretch on this strap as well when I pull at it from both ends. Stitching looks well done; however the holes and ends are not quite as well heat-sealed as I would like. A quick touch up with a flame might be all it needs, but there looks to be the beginning of a bit of fraying happening so far after a few weeks of wear. This isn't a particularly soft feeling strap, which suits its rugged design, but it does have a bit of shine in its appearance.


(Man, that's an awkward angle to try to take a picture of!)

You'll notice that the proportions of this strap are a bit different than your standard NATO. They've changed the lengths slightly so that the watch is more centered along the entire length of the strap, such that both ends coming off the watch have lengths comparable to what you would have with a regular two-piece strap set. This centers the buckle better on the opposite side of the wrist, like you would have with a two-piece strap set, and likewise also doesn't leave a hanging end to tuck in as you would with a regular NATO (this being on a 6" wrist). The second metal keeper is left floating as well, as you would find with a regular leather strap, so that you can place it wherever needed to keep the end in place. (This is in contrast with the PhenomeNato and Omega NATO, which have the first keeper closest to the buckle left floating, to accommodate variations in the tucked-in end).

The Haveston strap features a substantial buckle, engraved with "HAV". Keepers look like pretty standard NATO keepers.

ToxicN8O ShizNit "Herringbone", Admiralty Grey




Toxic's "herringbone" weave fabric looks slightly more fine than that found on the Haveston, but not as fine as the PhenomeNato or Cincy "SB" Bond. It measures 1.2mm thick, and like the Haveston, uses a slightly thicker thread on the edges to help with durability. This one also doesn't stretch much at all when pulling on both ends. Stitching is nice and even, and the end is well sealed, but the holes look like they could use a bit of extra sealing.

The fabric has a nice smooth feel and shiny appearance, more so than the Cincy "SB" Bond, and pretty close to matching the PhenomeNato's. It's not quite as dense feeling as the PhenomeNato, and is a little bit less stiff in comparison as well, though overall pretty similar to the Cincy "SB" Bond in stiffness. Hardware is the upgraded hardware you'll find on the rest of the ToxicN8O line, with a nice beefy buckle and keepers with beveled corners.


And, since I know somebody will ask...

Wet testing!

Dry length(mm)Wet length(mm)Increase(mm)% Increase
Random reg. NATO254264103.94
AlphaShark27528493.27
Cincy “SB” (edge stripe)287306196.62
PhenomeNato286301155.24
WatchGecko proto.290306165.52
ToxicBUTTA28728920.70
Cincy “SB” (bond)28829682.78
Haveston M1936 (20mm)264276124.55
ToxicShizNit29229200.00

Numbers from the last round of testing included, new numbers are in bold. Usual caveats apply: sample size of one, unknown effects of different elements which may be present in the water, as some people have reported different amounts of elongation when they dunked their straps in water (water used here is water that has been through a softener, as from its original supply it is very hard. I have no idea how this compares with freshwater in streams, or saltwater in oceans, or the local pool!).

It looks like if you want a strap that doesn't elongate in water, the ToxicShizNit might be the way to go.



So, after all this, I'm all NATO'ed out, at least for the time being...



I can't think of any other NATO brands off the top of my head that use upgraded fabric, but if there are, let me know and I might consider doing a round 3 at some point!



And as for what I've been wearing them on, since I've posted tons of strap pictures throughout this thread and the last, and not a single watch picture...




... and my personal assessment/thoughts on all the different straps, and why I would choose one or the other. All of these straps have made some changes, potential improvements, over the bog-standard NATO strap that you find everywhere. I don't think I could pick out one strap and say "this is the best", but for each I can name some upsides and downsides:

  • BluShark AlphaShark: Big and tough, beefy hardware. Would probably be my choice if I wanted something rugged, on a watch that would match the outsized looks (in my case, a brass Gerlach).
  • Cincy "SB" (edge stripe): Plushy and stretchy. Would pick for feel over appearance or durability, as the flexibility isn't a bad thing with wrist size changes throughout the day.
  • Cincy "SB" (bond): Good all-rounder, nice fine and dense weave and comfortable as well, with a good amount of stiffness; I like this one better overall than the edge-stripe "SB" personally. This and the ToxicShizNit are seeing the most wear time right now after the PhenomeNato.
  • Haveston: Another choice for something rugged looking. They are unique in their colour scheme and designs, and I really like how their altered proportions make their strap sit more like a regular two-piece strap rather than a regular NATO.
  • PhenomeNato: Still my favourite to wear, having gotten just the right 'luxury' finish to the fabric to give it a soft, smooth, comfortable feel, shiny appearance, and with just the right balance of stiffness that makes it easy to handle without flopping around, but not into 'stiff leather' feeling which you start to get with the rugged AlphaShark and Haveston straps. The wider metal keepers are something I have to make note of, as they don't tend to fall over during manipulation in comparison with the more narrow standard keepers or the tall Toxic keepers, making it just a tad easier when folding the end over and tucking it in. I don't make use of the sliding keeper personally, as I tend to fold inwards with the tuck, but others seem to make good use of it.
  • ToxicButta: Plushy and stretchy as well, and another one I would pick for feel. Does have a slight advantage in less wet-elongation in comparison with the others as well.
  • ToxicShizNit: Also another good all-rounder, fine dense weave and comfortable, good stiffness, with the usual upgraded hardware on the Toxic line. Particularly noted for having no wet-elongation as well, at least in the one test I did. This one and the Cincy "SB" bond have been seeing the most wear time right now after the PhenomeNato.
  • WatchGeck Seat Belt: Very soft and smooth feeling, not stretchy, but on the floppy side. I'd say this one probably feels the nicest on the skin in terms of texture out of all of these, so not a bad choice if one has more sensitive skin, or if bitten on the wrist by one of those pesky mosquitos that are multiplying like crazy around my house right now...
Your mileage may vary, and your choices may differ depending on your preferences and what you are looking for. These are just my subjective opinions, provided in the hopes that they may help others who may be looking for something different from the usual NATO strap fare.

Also, no durability comparisons at this point either. With so many straps to rotate between, there really hasn't been a chance to put any real heavy wear and tear on the straps...

And that's it for now!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
671 Posts
Thanks for the comparison, your first round really helped me decide which one to buy. It's great to see the ShizzNit added to the comparison.
I really wish WatchGecko offered their "swiss style premium" line with SB material as their premium hardware and SB material looks nice.
I have two PhenomeNatos on the way... I still can't believe I've spent that much on nato straps (CAD/USD rate doesn't help) when I have a $3 one from ebay that is really well made (but a little stiff).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,181 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Glad I could help out :).

And yes, the CAD exchange rate can be painful sometimes, whether it's against the USD or Euro.

I really shouldn't think about how much I've spent on straps at this point. Could've bought another watch...
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,434 Posts
Just want to say thanks for putting the time and effort into this review. You obviously worked hard on this, and it's very helpful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,869 Posts
Thank you for your review!
Very helpful for a Nato newbie...


That is a very neat box to keep your strap bits and pieces and tools in!
I've been looking for something like that...

Try walmart, fishing section. Looks like a Plano type case. Or a hardware store where the tool boxes are. Sure to be something similar.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,482 Posts
How about maratac nato. I heard from here that it is also one of the best/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
357 Posts
Thanks for round 2! Good comparisons. The only thing I could recommend for a round 3 would be a standard Toxic N80 because their material is vastly different than every other "standard" nato strap.

After owning all of these same ones from round 1 and 2 (except phenomenato), I have to say that the cincy SB and normal Toxic N80s are my favorite and get the most wrist time. They are also the most versatile due to durability, comfort, and thickness.

I have yet to buy into Phenomenato because their pricing is too high IMO for what you get, and from what I've seen their customer service/shipping is lacking. My friend ordered 2 straps from them in June and they have yet to arrive. That's unacceptable to me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
671 Posts
Will you add the new Alphashark slim to the comparison? b-)

I just ordered a pair of navy blue Shiznit (22mm and 24mm). I'm surprised that you measured a thickness of 1.2mm, hoping this is right as I'm afraid the stated 1.32-1.4mm would be a little thick for my liking.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,181 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for round 2! Good comparisons. The only thing I could recommend for a round 3 would be a standard Toxic N80 because their material is vastly different than every other "standard" nato strap.
I've got a few of the standard Toxic's, and while it's a bit denser/thicker than most other NATO's that I've got, it's got the exact same weave and I wouldn't consider it 'vastly different' than the rest of them. Sure you didn't pick up one of their other lines?

Will you add the new Alphashark slim to the comparison? b-)

I just ordered a pair of navy blue Shiznit (22mm and 24mm). I'm surprised that you measured a thickness of 1.2mm, hoping this is right as I'm afraid the stated 1.32-1.4mm would be a little thick for my liking.
Planning on picking up an AlphaShark slim at some point, for sure, and maybe one of the Sydney Strap Co. ones, which look very similar to the AlphaSharks; am wondering if they come from the same manufacturer

Just remeasured the ToxicShiznit I have to double check, getting a bit under 1.2 now; guess a few more months of wear & tear have probably stretched/flattened the fabric a bit more. It's definitely a bit thicker than the standard "1.2mm"s (which I always measure at being around 1.1), but it's definitely thinner than the AlphaSharks and Havestons.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
290 Posts
I really love the the softness of ToxicNATO Shiznit but the hardware on my AlphaShark. It reminds me of the Omega hardware. Wish I could have the best of both worlds. I find the Shiznit hardware a bit sharp since it's CNC machined.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top