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Everything you need to know about luxury watches

The Adventurous History Of The NATO-Strap

The NATO strap might be one of the best and most affordable accessories you can buy for your watch. For just a few euros, you can add a pop of color to your timepiece, or you can just change the style completely.

The last few years, many mainstream brands are starting to offer brand new watches on their own NATO straps, because they are just starting to realize what a huge market a simple piece of nylon holds. However, the NATO strap was not invented with you sipping mimosas by the side of the pool in mind. The NATO strap has a very rich and interesting military background.

The Military History Of The NATO

You might think that the NATO strap was made for and by the NATO, but you would be wrong. NATO straps were developed by the British Ministry of Defense in 1973. These straps were developed exclusively for the British military. So where does the name come from? NATO does not refer to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, but it refers to ‘NATO Stock Number’.

The military has a standardized list for material, items and supplies. Every piece of equipment gets a unique NSN (NATO stock number). If you were in the British military in the early seventies, you had to ask for ‘NSN G1089’ to get a military NATO strap. Soldiers referred to the strap as a ‘G10’. The term NATO strap came much later.

The ministry of defense wanted to develop a strap that was scientifically cheaper and easier to produce than a steel bracelet. It also had to be universal, so it could be used on any watch, and yet it had to have more advantages than rubber or steel. Nylon was chosen because it checked all he boxes. For the first few years, the only strap available was 20mm and in the color ‘Admiralty Grey’. 

A few years later, the British military regiments started making their own straps in the colors of their own regimental colors, including color combinations and stripes. This was a fun and unique way of showing to which regiment you belonged.

The Advantages

Some people dislike the fact that a NATO strap runs under the case, but this actually is a well thought out feature that has many advantages. Because the nylon runs under the case, metal can’t touch the wearer’s skin. This provides stability, and makes it possible to strap your watch very tightly without putting much pressure on the spring bars.

With a normal strap, you lose your watch if just one of two spring bars break. With a NATO, the watch will still stay in place even if you break a spring bar. Breaking spring bars might not be the biggest threat for everyday use, but soldiers wear their watches while crawling through the mud, over their wetsuit while diving or over their jacket while jumping out of an airplane. This makes the risk of losing a spring bar much bigger.

The design of the NATO strap also makes it also possible to have a much longer strap than needed without experiencing much inconvenience. You just loop the remaining part under one of the hoops and problem solved. With an extra-long strap, you can easily strap your favorite strap over your jacket, wetsuit, or even your spacesuit. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin wore their Speedmasters over their spacesuits, so why shouldn’t you put yours over your ski jacket? This is not possible with a steel or rubber strap. 

Modern NATO straps

NATO straps are not just for the military anymore, and have become pretty common.

Brands like Omega, IWC and Hamilton make their own premium NATO straps, and some models, like the IWC Pilot Spitfire, Omega Speedmaster Ultraman and Omega Seamaster 300 ‘Spectre’ are offered on an OED NATO strap. Omega also has a wide variety of NATO straps that they offer on their website.

Will A Mesh Strap Save You From A Shark Attack?

The history behind this strap is actually a rather spectacular story. It's designed to survive shark attacks. Let me explain before you burst into laughing:


We are of course not talking about a bloodthirsty Jaws-type shark, but small, playful sharks. Sharks often confuse divers, surfers or swimmers for their natural preys like seals. There are many records of sharks taking a small bite, realizing they are wrong, and then fleeing away after they realized they won’t be eating seal for dinner. These types of bites aren’t uncommon, but neither are they deadly. They are however powerful enough to damage a rubber strap, or they can break a link of a steel bracelet. The interwoven steel wires of the mesh strap make it a lot more robust, and extremely hard to cut.

This is of course just marketing, since it’s impossible to find a single diver whose watch and/or arm was saved due to a mesh strap. Most story’s usually end in one of two different ways: either with some buses and a cool story to tell your friends in a bar, or in the hospital with your arm completely ripped off.

This does not mean that mesh isn’t a great option if you love diving or doing outdoor activities. Rubber and nylon straps can get accidentally cut or damaged without the wearer noticing. Rubber straps can also get brittle over time by getting too much exposure to salt water and sunlight. It’s also almost impossible to notice scratches on mesh, since the wires are so thin. (Take that, Rolex polished center links)

So a short recap: will a mesh strap keep you and your watch safe from the jaws of Jaws? Probably not.

Is mesh an excellent and very comfortable option on your watch in active conditions? Absolutely!



4 Reasons why men wear a watch

1. Multifunctional

Where women often have multiple options when it comes to wearing jewelry, it is limited for men. Many men only wear a watch, because this is often the only accessory that is right for them. Fortunately, there are many different types of watches. You can, for example, wear one that is specifically designed for sports, for work or simply to make an impression. The watch is therefore suitable for several situations.

2. Piece of Art

Every luxury watch brand pays a lot of attention to the design, the main characteristics and the materials of their timepieces. It’s important to create the perfect watch that everyone can enjoy for generations.

3. Distinctive

A watch can also distinct you from other people. As discussed, each watch can have its own purpose and each has its own design. For most people it is more than just an article that only indicates the time. They really see the watch as a part of their human being. Often, the type of watch says something about someone's appearance and the type of person.

4. Collection

A fourth reason why watches can be so popular is because it’s a good collector's item. Where women often collect shoes, earrings or handbags, a man can decide to start collecting watches. Since so many different types exist, it is quite a challenge to collect as many unique and special watches as possible.

Vintage inspired watches – Reissues are trending

Vintage inspired watches are hot. The prices of vintage watches are rising quickly, and most brands want to jump on the hype. Sadly, most vintage inspired watches look nothing like their grandfathers. Today, we are going to focus on 3 popular, modern watches that were inspired on vintage.

Tudor Black Bay 58

The Black Bay 58 was a huge hit at Baselworld 2018. The release was a bit overshadowed by the release of the Tudor Pepsi, but it still was a big win.  The 58 is based on Tudor Submariners from the fifties. this can be seen in the smaller case, the gild dial and the rivet bracelet.

-- Find your Tudor Watch on Timepiece Bank --

Breitling Navitimer 806

The Breitling navitimer reissue based on the 806 was just released this year at Baselworld. Brietling did their best to make it look as much as possible like the original, and it worked!

-- Find your Breitling Watch on Timepiece Bank --

Omega Trilogy collection

This collection was introduced at Baselworld 2018, and was sold out in a hartbeat. It features three watches: a ... Seamaster, Railmaster and Speedmaster  All 3 models were based on their ‘parents’ from 1957

-- Find your Omega Watch on Timepiece Bank --

Mistakes new watch guys make

Everyone was once new to watches. Even the biggest collectors were once at the point of getting their first watch.

I like to compare sports watches with cars: A Land rover Defender is a beast, no one can deny this. It can drive through almost any condition, and it’s hard to tame.  But if you forget to change your oil, your offroad beast can be killed by something as small as carelessness.  Same goes with watches. The Omega Speedmaster has been to the moon, and the Rolex Sea-dweller can go as deep as 3900 meter, but it’s really easy to damage your watch if you don’t handle it with the right care. 

1: make sure the crown on your dive watch is always screwed down.

This might sound obvious, but you have no idea how many watches get send for a repair with water damage. Once water gets in your watch and you don’t fix is as soon as possible, your movement will start to rust. 

2: After swimming, wash your watch with fresh water

Salt from the sea and chlorine from the pool can get in your bezel. It won’t destroy your watch, but it makes it easier for dirt to build up in your bracelet and bezel. This makes it easier for your bezel to get jammed up, and it can be solved with a little water. 

3: don’t change your date between 9PM and 3AM.

In short: it’s really bad for the gears of your watch. If you do want to change the date, change the time to 6:30, set your date and set your time back right. Boing it once won’t destroy your watch, but doing it for years puts extra stress on the gears, resulting in a more expensive maintenance. Better safe than sorry.

4: don’t change the time backwards.

With most watches, turning the hands backwards when changing the time can also be really bad for your gears. This problem is solved with some modern watches, but once again; better safe than sorry.

5: Check the waterproofing of your watch every few years.

It’s important to check your watch on waterproofness every few years. Rubber gaskets can dry up and lose strength, letting water in. What’s the point of having a dive watch if your rubber gaskets don’t keep the water out? Getting your gaskets changed is relatively inexpensive.

What is patina and how is it done?

'Patina' means an oxidation layer on metal objects. Think, for example, of the gray-green layer that you often see on copper and bronze objects. The formation of a beautiful natural patina layer can take decades.

Patina

Patina layers can be formed naturally, but metal objects can also be artificially patina coated by the use of chemicals. This is called with ‘Patination’. For example, this technique is often used in bronze sculptures, where artists use patina layers mainly because of the beautiful shiny structure. Various colors can be obtained by using different chemicals. For example, ‘liver of Sulphur’ or ‘potassium-polysulphide’ is used for a gray to jetty black color, iron nitrate for brown and copper nitrate for green, but numerous applications of chemicals and colors are possible. This technique can also be used for 'discoloration' of, for example, a dial.

Big Crowns: Decoration or Function?

A big crown is linked to the IWC Big Pilot, and the Big Pilot is linked to the big crown. They go together like horse and carriage. But where does this recognizable feature come from? Does it serve an actual purpose or is it just a marketing trick?


Oversized crowns were used on pilot watches in World War II. Before the time of on-board computers and advanced telecommunication, a watch was the pilot’s most important tool. They used their watches to calculate how much fuel they had in the tank, and when to return to their base. Miscalculating your fuel consumption meant crashing in enemy territory, something you would want to avoid at all costs. Their lives literary depended on their watches.

They had to be able to adjust the time mid-flight while wearing thick, leather gloves. Watch brands could have easily developed a complex complication with intricate extra buttons to operate the watch while wearing leather gloves, but at times of war budget was short and costs had to be cut. Instead, they just made the crown bigger. Problem solved.

These pilot watches were also incredibly big for the time. Most dress watches were between 32 and 36mm in the World War II area. Sports watches and chronographs were between 36 and 40, which was considered pretty big back then. These pilot watches were between 47 and 51mm. For that time, it must have felt like wearing the Big Ben on your wrist.

Since every plane today is equipped with High-Tech computers, the big crown has completely lost its function. Nevertheless, IWC still uses the big crown as a trademark feature, so they can stay linked to their history.

Many German brands made pilot watches for the German Luftwaffe which looked very similar. These watches were called ‘B-Uhr’. Other brands that made these were A. Lange & Söhne, Wempe, Walter Storz (now knows as Stowa) and Lacherer & Company (now known as Laco).



5 things you didn’t know about Omega

Scarface wore an Omega

In the 1972 classic Scarface, Tony Montana, played by Al Pachino wore a gold Omega. He wore an Omega La Magique, a rare model of wich only 261 pieces were made.

Ringo Starr was a big Omega fan.

Ringo Starr wore an Omega time computer LED. He had received this watch from his good friend Keith Moon, who was the drummer of The Who. The watch was sold at auction to a Beatles fan for about €10.000.

The most expensive Omega

The most expensive Omega ever sold at auction was sold for 1,428,500 Swiss francs, which is about 1.2 million euro. It looks very normal and minimalist, but it’s a really important watch, historically speaking. This watch was one of the very first to employ a tourbillon in a wristwatch. It was made in 1947. Back then, tourbillons were only made for desk clocks. This watch is in a way the father of tourbillons as we know them.

Omega is the official Olympic timekeeper

This is a title that Omega has earned, not bought. They have been the official timekeeper of the Olympics since 1932, and have never disappointed.

The Seamaster is the oldest model in the current line

The Omega Seamaster was launched to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the brand in 1948. It has been in production ever since, making it the oldest model in the current line.

What is a Complication watch?

You've heard the term 'Complication watch', but you're not sure what that is?

If a mechanical watch offers more functions than just the time (hours, minutes, seconds), then it is considered a 'complicated' timepiece. Each 'extra' function next to hours and minutes is then called a complication.

Watch Complications
 

Some of the more known complications are:

Moonphase

This Complication shows the current phase of the moon in the lunar cycle.

Perpetual Calendar

This Complication adjusts the calendar for month length and leap years.

Flyback

This Complication makes the Chronograph reset and restart in one push of the button.

Date

This Complication displays the Date on the watch.

Alarm

This Complication have a dedicated alarm and alarm hand.

Panorama Date

This Complication means the watch has a big date display.

Power Reserve

This Complication means the watch has a power reserve indicator.


 


 

5 things you didn’t know about Rolex

Rolex is one of the most well known and most respected brands in the world. Even if you don’t know anything about watches, you have heard of Rolex.


1: The name Rolex means... nothing.

Hans Wilsforf wanted a name that could be pronounced in every country and language. Looks like he succeeded, because it’s impossible to butcher the name Rolex. You think that’s a stupid motivation? Have you ever heard an American pronounce ‘Jaeger Le-Coultre’?


2: Rolex is 114 years old

Rolex was founded in 1905, which is relatively young, compared to it’s competitors. Blancpain, for example, is from 1735.


3: Rolex wanted to send the Daytona to the moon.

Rolex lost the space battle to Omega. The Daytona was first named ‘cosmograph’. This is actually pretty ironic: The Omega Speedmaster was designed to be a race watch, but ended up being a moonwatch, and the Rolex Daytona was designed to be a moonwatch, but ended up being a race watch. Nevertheless, both ended up in a good place.


4:The most expensive Rolex sold for €15.500.000

The most expensive Rolex ever sold at auction was the original Paul Newman Daytona. It was also the most expensive wristwatch ever sold at auction. The watch belonged to legendary actor and playboy Paul Newman, and had a major influence on today’s vintage market.


5: Rolex makes their own gold

To ensure the best quality of gold, Rolex has its own foundry inhouse. Rolex is actually the only watch brand in the world that makes its own gold.