A look at the black and grey NATO strap worn by Daniel Craig in SPECTRE.
If you’ve seen SPECTRE you may have noticed the black and grey striped nylon strap on which James Bond wears his Q-Branch provided Omega watch throughout most of the film.
The strap is available separately from Omega but, unfortunately for most of us, the price is exorbitant. The company does not publish prices on its website, but I’ve heard that strap costs in the region of $200.
Many fans are fascinated (of not obsessed) by the watches worn by James Bond. I clearly remember as a kid being thrilled to read in one book, probably Thunderball, that the dial of Bond’s watch was luminous. My watch also had a luminous dial, allowing me to see the time after lights out. As far as I was concerned my watch was as good as Bond’s.
When I was 9 or 10 I was doubly thrilled when one day I found a Rolex Explorer owned by my dad. Recognizing it as a Bond Brand I slipped the Rolex on my wrist. After that I often played 007 out on the street wearing my dad’s watch.
He always said it didn’t work properly and eventually sold it, but it always told the time when I was using it. Luckily it suffered no damage under my care.
Returning to SPECTRE, the strap worn by Daniel Craig is in fact inspired by a striped nylon strap worn by Sean Connery in Goldfinger and then Thunderball.
Originally it was thought to be back and grey, and often erroneously referred to as a NATO strap, although the NATO strap did not in fact come out until 1973. The original NATO strap was grey with various regimental colours later introduced. The NATO strap features an additional, shorter, length of strap that goes behind the watch, with a keeper through which the main length of strap passes.
Contrast that with what Connery wore, made from a single length of nylon, although note that the strap is narrower than the lugs on his Rolex Submariner and so looks a little sloppy.
Replicas in black and grey became commercially available in a variety of widths as both a simple nylon strap and a NATO version.
A screen capture from the Goldfinger Blu-Ray shows the tri-coloured watch strap.
It was only when the Blu-Ray editions of the bond films became available it became apparent the colour of the strap was wrong. It appears instead to be dark blue and dark green with a narrow band of red separating them.
It is arguable that the exact colour match of the blue and green on the Blu-Ray may have changed radically while undergoing restoration by Lowry Digital. However, what seems less arguable is that there is a definitely narrow red band that appears on the higher resolution images available from the Blu-Ray release.
Some have argued that this is an artefact, but I’m not convinced. But perhaps the argument will only be settled when the films are released on ultra high res 4K, or by examining a 35 mm print frame by frame.
At least one company commissioned straps made to the revised specification with three colours. The straps were available in both standard and NATO versions.
But when promoting Quantum of Solace, Daniel Craig appeared on TV interviews wearing a Rolex on any black and grey strap. He claimed on at least one occasion that he wore the same model watch as Sean Connery on a similar strap.
So it seems likely that Omega kitted Bond out with his new watch on a black and grey NATO strap based on incorrect information from Daniel Craig. How ironic that the black and grey strap is now a correct Bond watch strap!
Buy James Bond-style watch straps
The good news is that you can buy both bi-colour and tri-colour James Bond watch straps from Amazon and elsewhere to match both the Sean Connery era and the Daniel Craig era.
They are both available in a variety of widths and as either a plain nylon design or as a NATO strap. And the even better news is you don’t need to shell out $200 to buy them (although you can if you want). While they don’t have the Omega branding, the replicas are truly affordable to all Bond fans.
Black and grey SPECTRE-style watch straps
Omega | Amazon UK | Amazon.com
Tri-colour Goldfinger-style watch straps
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No thanks, I'm not interested in news about 007
November 21st, 2015 at 16:06
It took me a bit, but I’ve come around on the black and grey NATO strap, ordering one back in July for my old backup diver style watch. Still not sold on the aesthetic of the Connery strap, tho. Good article! There’s a lot of misconceptions about the “Bond” straps!
October 15th, 2018 at 16:32
Just to clarify, you can buy a nato strap from Omega in the same black and grey colour scheme as the Spectre Seamaster, however it is not the same strap.
The difference is in the buckle and clasp which are in polished stainless steel rather than the brushed version of the Bond watch, which also features ‘007’ on the metal strap holder.
Cost is around £135.
October 30th, 2018 at 20:58
Thanks for the clarification.