I’ve been hearing lots of good things about this watch strap company, Cheapest Nato Straps.
I wanted to see what all the hype was about so I placed an order a couple of weeks ago and they just arrived recently.
Haven’t given them all a fair shake just yet as I’ve only worn a couple minimally, at best, and I hate to be a negative Nancy, but my first impression so far isn’t the most positive.
Keep in mind, these sentiments may change and evolve as I begin to wear these straps in and get more time with them on the wrist, but these are just my off the cuff, initial impressions.
I’ll be sure to revisit this as I get some more wear with them and adjust my honest thoughts accordingly.
Vintage Tropic & Vintage Sport Silicone Straps
The rubber/silicone straps seem okay.
I ordered the Vintage Tropic & Vintage Sport rubber straps, though most likely they’re made of silicone.
I only paid (literally) a couple of bucks for each of them, as they were on clearance. Honestly, hard to argue or be upset with what I paid, especially when you consider the sheer variety of colors and designs, and considering they were dirt cheap.
Sure, they’re not going to be a natural rubber for this price, but again, dirt cheap. They’re relatively comfortable and I really enjoy the vintage aesthetic. Their unique texture almost reminds me of a pool noodle, in a good way. Definitely brings a wave of nostalgia.
Kvarnsjö Premium Racing Straps
The leather rally straps are what’s really throwing me off. $20 each for what seems and smells like a so-so faux leather? (Yes, I smell all of my leather straps, I’m weird). I’m not completely positive they’re faux leather, but they have a bit of that “cheap shoe from Macy’s” smell.
Not to mention they’re completely unlined (though maybe to promote additional cooling and ventilation, as is the rally strap style), and the hardware feels very cheap with sharp edges.
Not positive if it’s even stainless steel, or just chrome plated. Luckily they do have a hole to remove the spring bar holding them in place, thus making it possible to replace them altogether if I do end up loving the strap.
The ‘leather’ keepers feel extremely thin and almost rubbery, like rubber bands.
I know $20 isn’t expensive at all in the world of leather watch straps, but for the price of about 4 of these you can get 1 top-notch leather strap, horsemen or otherwise, from the right company.
I will admit, though, genuine leather or not, and sub-par hardware aside, these actually do conform to the wrist very nicely, are pretty thick and substantial and are surprisingly comfortable.
The questionable smell and complete lack of attention to detail in the right places (buckle, keepers) make it fall short of being an okay strap, for the price.
Kvarnsjö Suede Strap
The Kvarnsjö suede strap was a pleasant surprise.
I’m not sure if it’s genuine leather either, as it has that same odd scent as the Kvarnasjo Premium Racing strap, and feels extremely flimsy.
Even so, it’s extremely soft to the touch and extremely supple, which wraps around the wrist effortlessly.
Though as comfortable as the suppleness makes it wear, it might also be its downfall in the long run as I’m questioning its durability.
It really doesn’t feel like there’s anything inside the strap that’ll help keep its shape over the long run – if it even holds together.
Then again, for the price, it’s hard to argue, and at least a good way to try a new style. I’ll update this section if the strap ever somehow falls apart on me.
Jubilee NATO Strap
The new ‘jubilee’ style strap looks great. I really love the style, the sheen and the variety of color choices. I’ve never seen any other NATO strap in this jubilee style, so props to Cheapest Nato Straps for innovating.
It’s not very expensive, either, at about $10ish, or so. But it was advertised to be the same material as their ‘premium seatbelt NATO’. And while I haven’t tried their seatbelt NATO, it definitely doesn’t stand up to premium seatbelt style NATOs that some other companies offer. Then again, it’s only $10ish bucks.
The Final Verdict
For the most part, these seem like okay straps to test out a new style or color. There’s such a huge variety, and they’re so affordable, so I do see the appeal.
Their clearance prices are solid if you can find one of their leather straps or other more ‘premium’ offerings at a huge discount. For example, I’d be ecstatic to have bought this strap for $6 as the leather sometimes goes on clearance for.
But at $20, while I’m not THAT mad at it, I likely wouldn’t recommend it to a friend as my first choice.
I’ll make another post once I’ve spent some more time wearing these.
Just my $0.02.