Even if you don’t know much about watch components, you’ve likely heard of the one piece strap or watch strap. If you haven’t, get ready for a crash course in one of the most recognizable watch straps in the world. But like comparing gas station California rolls to Nobu sashimi, not all one piece straps are of the same caliber. In this article, we’ll go over what a one piece strap is, how they work, how to choose a quality one piece strap, and finally, how to rock your one piece strap.

For more information on one piece watch straps, check out these blog posts:

What is a One Piece Watch Strap?

The British Ministry of Defense introduced the original one piece strap in 1973 as an option for its soldiers to use in the field. It earned the name “G10,” as soldiers looking to get one had to request it via a G1098 requisition form. The “NATO” namesake comes from the NSN (NATO Stock Number) used when ordering the strap. The 20mm nylon strap was light, breathable, and kept the wearer’s watch from sliding around their wrist. A favorite among the British Special Forces, the strap became an icon of spartan ruggedness and simple reliability. But it took a different British icon to catapult the one piece strap into superstardom.


Red rubber replacement NATO watch strap


In the 1963 James Bond film Goldfinger, Sean Connery checks the time and gives audiences a close-up shot of his watch that features a blue and grey one piece-type strap. Purists will note that the “Bond NATO” isn’t a true G10, but why let facts get in the way of a good origin story?

Since then, the one piece strap has been a symbol of refinement and style on par with Bond’s Aston Martin cars, in terms of the superspy’s iconic possessions. Once established as “Bond-worthy,” watch lovers everywhere began searching for G10s to use for their own watches. When one piece watch straps started showing up in military surplus stores, the G10’s popularity began to explode in the mainstream. But it’s not just the strap's aesthetic that makes it so appealing; functionally, the one piece strap is a brilliant piece of “less-is-more” design.

The one piece watch strap is a single piece of material that slips between the watch dial's lugs, under the caseback, doubling back on itself, and secures by way of a buckle closure. Because of the “caseback double-back,” the watch stays centered and secure on the wrist. Even if one of the lugs were to fail, the watch would remain on the strap. The end of the strap is left intentionally long, giving you the ability to fold that back on itself and doubling the strap's on-wrist security.

To see how to install a one piece strap, check out our step-by-step guide.

One Piece Straps: Not All Created Equal

Because there are so many one piece straps on the market, customers need to be careful when choosing one. Putting a valuable watch on a budget one piece strap runs the risk of a lost timepiece. The quality of one piece straps varies widely, so it’s crucial to look at a few areas: the strap material and the buckle quality. It’s also essential to make sure the width of the strap you choose matches that of your watch lugs — a poorly-fitted strap can cause you just as much heartbreak as a cheaply-made one. 

Nixon Time Teller with a one piece watch strap

At Nixon, we offer our one piece straps in several different materials, ranging from nylon made out of recycled ocean plastic to dive-ready FKM rubber. Our buckles are of the highest quality and will stand up to daily life bumps and dings with ease. These quality materials come in a ton of different colors, patterns, and even graphics, so no matter your style, there’s a Nixon one piece that lines up perfectly.

Shop Nixon One Piece Watch Straps

How to Wear a One Piece Strap

As we’ve mentioned, a watch with a one piece strap is one versatile accessory. It can feel at home in just about any setting. Plus, thanks to the accessible price, you can build up a collection of one piece straps to match your mood or occasion. Here are a few suggestions for styling your one piece strap with looks ranging from casual to formal.

Man wearing a Nixon Time Teller with a red one piece strap

Look One: Lazy Sunday

Pull on a pair of jeans or khakis, snag your favorite t-shirt, and match them with a smaller-faced watch with a colorful one piece strap. The low-key outfit lets your timepiece have a bit more of the spotlight and says, “I may have had to pull myself out of bed this morning, but this outfit was by no means thrown together.”

Look Two: Workday Wonder

Business casual does not have to mean boring. A button-up and slacks feel much less like a uniform when you throw on a chronograph with a bold, solid-colored one piece strap. After leaving the office, roll up your sleeves and show off your watch at happy hour.

Multicolored Nixon One Piece watch band

Look Three: Full Court Impress

For formal settings, it’s tough to say no to the striped one piece strap. If it was good enough for Bond, it’s good enough for you. When you pair the striped one piece strap with a low-profile case and clean dial watch, you create a look that shows you have options when it comes to your timepieces, and this one is your “going out” watch.

Look Four: Sports-Centered

Whether you’re active or just trying to dress the part, a rubber one piece strap gives your watch a sporty look that can perform when it needs to. Because a rubber one piece is typically seen on dive watches, this look says “outdoor adventures” as well as a healthy tan (though without the UV exposure). Pair it with both casual and dressy attire, but choose the right watch to complete the look. Try a more substantial dive watch or chronograph to tie everything together.

The Wrap Up

Now that you’ve got a solid foundation of info on the ins and outs of the one piece strap, including how to style it, you’re ready to start your “G10” collection. Check out our selection of watches with one piece straps and other styles of replacement straps. Happy customizing!