Before you expand your collection of wristwatches, you should widen your collection of watch straps. Often times, the experience of adorning a new watch strap equates to the experience of buying a new watch. There are plenty of different strap options available: leather, stainless steel, nylon, rubber, suede, cloth, etc. My particular favorite type of strap is the NATO.

The NATO strap was first used exclusively by the British military but has since found its way into every watch enthusiast’s collection. NATO straps are light, tough, comfortable, and available in a myriad of different styles for any occasion, from the field to a black tie affair.

Purchasing a NATO strap from a watch boutique can run you upwards of $160 but you can find the same quality watch straps from companies like BluShark for significantly less. I’ve had the opportunity to sample a variety of their different straps and have bought plenty of them myself. Listed below are all of BluShark’s NATO straps currently available and my review for each of them.


Original BluShark Strap

  • Soft, but durable nylon
  • Sealed rectangular holes
  • 1.2 mm thick
  • MSRP: $18

As the name implies, the Original BluShark Strap was BluShark’s first design. Though it is their entry-level NATO strap, these nylon straps aren’t cheaply made by any means. Like all BluShark straps, the holes and edges of the strap are sealed to prevent any fraying and to minimize wear and tear. Its biggest appeal for new watch enthusiasts especially is its price point. If you’re looking for a casual looking strap for everyday wear, I recommend this one or the Orca Strap listed below.

The Original BluShark NATO Strap on my Seiko SKX007

Orca Waffle Weave Strap

  • Textured waffle-weave
  • Sealed rectangular holes
  • 1.4 mm thick
  • MSRP: $19

The biggest noticeable difference between the Original BluShark and the Orca Strap is the style of weaving used. Both styles make for a tough and long-lasting strap, so it just comes down to personal preference. The Orca is also slightly thicker which makes it look more rugged and feel sturdier, perfect to put on a field watch. The only downside to the Orca that I’ve noticed is that it might make a large watch stick out more prominently because of its added thickness.

The author’s Seiko SKX007 on a BluShark Orca Strap

AlphaShark Luxury Strap

  • Smooth “seat belt” weave
  • Flat stainless steel keepers
  • Sealed rectangular holes
  • 1.4 mm thick
  • MSRP: $32

The AlphaShark Luxury Strap is by far my favorite of the BluShark lineup. When I purchased my first Original BluShark Strap, I was impressed with its quality for the price and became curious as to how much better the AlphaShark could be. After trying out a sample, I was even more impressed and decided to stock up on different color variations. Most of my NATO straps are from the AlphaShark lineup. The smoother “seat belt” weave not only feels more comfortable on the wrist but is much more aesthetic, living up to its name. The AlphaShark has a slight shine to it but fits any occasion whether I’m dressed casual or professional. This is currently my everyday strap choice and garners the most compliments. If I were to recommend just one strap from this list, it would be the AlphaShark, hands down.

The AlphaShark has become my go-to strap of choice for my Sinn 104

AlphaShark Slim Strap

  • Smooth “seat belt weave
  • Slim buckle
  • Flat stainless steel keepers
  • 1.2 mm thick
  • MSRP: $32

The unique feature you’ll notice with the AlphaShark Slim Strap is the use of circular holes in lieu of the rectangular ones. I actually prefer these circular holes not just for its aesthetic look but because they seem to show less signs of wear than the rectangular holes. I also find this to the one of the more comfortable straps offered by BluShark, second only to the AlphaPremier listed below.

Rocking the AlphaShark Slim on my Seiko SKX007

AlphaPremier Ultra Luxury Strap

  • Silky smooth material
  • Sliding keeper
  • 1.2 mm thick
  • MSRP: $36

The AlphaPremier Ultra Luxury Strap is the latest release from BluShark. The strap lives up to its name as the silky texture gives the wristwatch a much more formal appearance. This is the softest of the BluShark lineup and the most comfortable on the wrist. While the AlphaPremier is definitely the highest quality strap from BluShark, it does limit itself to more formal occasions; for that reason, I prefer the AlphaShark lineup. I found that because the AlphaPremier uses a much softer material than its counterparts, it does fit into slightly smaller watch lugs (e.g. my 22 mm strap fits into a 21 mm lug without looking out of place).

All of these NATO straps from BluShark are made with quality craftsmanship and look just as new as the day I first got them even after excessive wear. No need to break the bank to step up your watch game, BluShark has offers some of the best NATO straps on the market for the right price.

 

 

*All photos courtesy of the author, Matt Jin