It’s the night of that big event. It’s black tie, the works. You’re looking sharp.
The cab rocks up and you climb in.
And you just know what the cabbie’s going to say.
"Good evening, Mr Bond. I’ve been expecting you."
Or some other genius-level version of the same. But we get it. We laugh.
It’s a compliment because, without any shadow of a doubt, James Bond is an icon. And we get that reflecting glory for the night.
So while the ubiquitous black cab isn’t quite as iconic as an Aston Martin, it’s still got style. And even if our wallets don’t stretch to a Rolex Submariner, it can certainly stretch to a James Bond NATO strap. Then we can shoot our cuffs and show a bit of wrist candy – and go on, let’s add that Bond wink just for the hell of it.
Who Wore it Best? The James Bond NATO Strap Edition
This isn’t one of those endless ‘debates’ about which is the best Bond – it’s about his watch. Or more importantly, his watch strap. And even more precisely, his NATO watch strap.
Sean Connery was the first Bond and many argue the best. But what you may or may not have noticed is that in his years of ‘service’ from Dr. No to Thunderball, his Rolex came with him. His strap, however, did not.
When Bond got to Goldfinger, he got his nylon on. The fact that his watch strap was replaced wasn’t because he was broke. And it wasn’t a sign he’d lost his touch – he still got Pussy Galore. But for Bond, his watch straps, like his women, were replaceable.
We know, Bond is hardly an advocate for gender equality. But we don’t expect him to talk… about feminism; we expect him to… supply style. And he did that even when he was underwater. Yes, his NATO-style watch strap with black and khaki stripes with slim burgundy borders is really the hero of this film.
The reason the Goldfinger strap isn’t technically a NATO strap is because the MOD only brought in the strap requirements in 1973. That’s almost ten years after Goldfinger was released. And the name NATO was given to the strap because it had an allocated North Atlantic Treaty Organization stock number. It’s less glamourous to think of the straps being named by British military logistics but it does add to its authenticity.
Daniel Craig’s Omega Seamaster in Spectre HAS got the official NATO strap with a sleek black and grey stripe and metal loops. Clearly, Craig is more careful than Connery.
In fact, Craig admits to buying himself a ‘dodgy’ Seamaster from Budapest when he was asked to go for the role of Bond. He didn’t think Barbara Broccoli, the producer of the modern Bond films, would go for him. So, he thought the watch would be the next best thing. But he was wrong and the rest, as they say, is history.
Nobody Does it Better than James Bond
No one really does it better than Bond. But most of us are neither dashing British spies nor million-dollar award-winning actors. Even if we’d like to be.
So, what really is the thing we love most about Bond?
Is it really that all men want to BE him and all women want to be WITH him? The answer to that is probably a hard, ‘No’ – from men and women alike. But as to wanting to be LIKE him, well, yes. Don’t we all want to be like Bond occasionally? Even if it’s just when we’re wearing a dinner jacket.
There have been so many Bonds over the years but there are a couple of central aspects to his character which make him irresistible. But, what is it he’s got that we haven’t but want a piece of?
Mystique has got to be top of the ‘Be Like Bond’ list. He always leaves us all wanting a little bit more. There’s an undercurrent of danger with top notes of style.
He knows more than us.
He sees more than us.
He’s got more than us.
But he doesn’t need to show it. He is it.
We know he does the dirty work for the British government, but he comes out of it as clean as a whistle. His arsenal of technological gadgets and his cars (yes, even the ones that turn into boats) are just sublime.
He’s a walking wardrobe, too, but little flashes of his military background show through. His NATO watch strap is a hint to the fact that Bond may be a hero but he’s still at the mercy of the Quartermaster. He gets what he’s given to get the job done.
And the NATO watch strap gets the job done in tropical climates, underwater, sub-Saharan Africa, you name it, the strap’s never going to let him down.
Diamonds may be forever but the NATO strap is not going to be far behind.
Why is the James Bond NATO Strap so Popular?
Er, Connery, Craig – need we say more? Well, if you’re going to push us, there’s far more to the NATO than the muscle underneath the strap. But what makes the NATO so popular? Is it the military-grade precision? Is it the hyper-masculine colours? Is it the utility of the thing?
Yes, yes, and yes. It’s all of the above and more.
The thing about the NATO strap is that it wasn’t invented for fashion. It was constructed for function. It’s made to withstand water, heat and ice and being battered around. It’s made to be comfortable in the worst conditions. And by the worst conditions, we’re really talking about the changeability of the British climate, aren’t we? What that all boils down to is that the NATO strap is made for survival – just like Bond.
When Sean Connery appeared as Bond back in the day, he started more than a franchise. By wearing the proto-NATO strap in Goldfinger, he started a trend. And what those Bond-hungry watch-wearers wanted most, if they could get hold of it, was a NATO strap in the Goldfinger colours.
And don’t go thinking the NATO strap trend is a thing of the past. It’s been consistently worn by watch and Bond enthusiasts alike since its first Bond outing. And now that Daniel Craig’s flashing the strap, the NATO doesn’t look like a trend that’s going anywhere soon.
So, if the original strap was made for function, does that mean we can’t wear it like we’re just about to take out an oil tanker with several underworld villains and a shed-load of dodgy weaponry? Of course it doesn’t.
The Quartermaster’s Stores
If like us, you want a bit more Bond into your life, check out The Thrifty Gentlemen's collection of James Bond NATO straps and select your colour of choice.
Would the Craig-style Herringbone NATO for your next mission to Margate suit you, Sir?
Or perhaps the Marine Nationale for that undercover op. to the shop is more your style?
Whatever your Bond needs might be, you can always count on us to ‘watch’ your back.
But remember, even when we’re not feeling totally Bond, with a NATO strap, some of his elegance can rub off on us all.
And before you go, if you’ve learned a thing or two about the James Bond NATO strap, share it. After all, our NATO straps are not for your eyes only.