Until recently, we’ve really only had two choices for a Bondesque black and grey striped NATO watchstrap. Either purchase a genuine OEM Omega for around $300. Or pick up a $10 replica off Amazon or Ebay. Sure, they are some that are slightly better. Both the option from BluShark and the ‘Deluxe NATO’ by Timefactors come in at $15 to $20 and have their fans. The G10 from EspritNATO for €17.00 also deserves a mention. But for a long time now there’s has been a pretty big gap in the the market for those of us looking for a heavier, more screen accurate strap for under $100.
We weren’t alone. A Hungarian gentleman named Akos also saw this gap. So he went out and found a manufacturer to make the webbing he wanted to his specs. Creating a strap he knew would satisfy other Bond fans was a difficult and often thankless task. But he stuck with it. When he finally had what he wanted, Akos launched PhenomeNato. And now he has what is probably the best alternative Omega NATO strap on the market.
Full disclosure: Although I purchased my original PhenomeNato strap, I approached Akos for some old samples to compare different types of webbing. Akos sent me 2 complete straps, stating he would not send a customer any possibly inferior quality products. That’s the kind of person we want to deal with!
The PhenomeNato Bond Watch Strap
So, why is it so good? Well, from the outset Akos wanted a to provide a quality product. And this starts with the packaging. Yes, that’s right, this strap comes in a box! And that sets the tone for what’s inside.
The straps themselves are beautifully made, with a fine attention to detail. The weave is very tight, and near identical to the Omega. They come in two lengths and two thicknesses of webbing. And both feel silky smooth. The standard thickness is softer and more supple of the two. But the thicker HD version, while noticeably more ridged, is still incredibly comfortably to wear. This is in comparison to my TimeFactor’s NATO, which I found chaffed after wearing it for a while.
The cut and finishing of the webbing are exact. The holes are perfectly drilled and sealed, and the metal hardware, available in either a polished or brushed finish, is high quality. Akos even made one of the strap keepers floating, like on the Omega, something you don’t get on the more basic straps out there. A discreet sewn in label keeps the look of the strap very clean.
As for price – I never said this would be cheap. But I think $40, including worldwide shipping, for this kind of quality and accuracy is a small price to pay.
If you haven’t already guessed, I’m pretty impressed with the PhenomeNato strap. I’ve been wearing mine constantly for about two months now, and even when it’s fitted tight there is no obvious distortion or stretching of the fabric or the hole.
It’s not really worth comparing this strap to the less expensive option I own. The Timefactor is good quality and a great value. But the hardware is too big and the coarser webbing is less accurate. I know it will hold up over time, but it’s just not in the same ballpark.
So if you’re after a higher quality alternative to the Omega OEM NATO, I would say the PhenomeNato is currently your best choice.
The PhenomeNato Bond Watch Strap is available on their website and is available in Standard or Heavy Duty versions. You can also choose between a long (33.5 cm) or short (29 cm) lengths, 20 mm or 22 mm widths and brushed or polished metal hardware. All options are $40.00 U.S.; the price includes worldwide shipping.
Do you have some feedback on NATO options currently available? Share your thoughts in the comments below!