Seems like the whole internet is in a tizzy over late capitalism right now, but I just bought eight NATO straps for the equivalent of less than eight bucks at a Daiso here in Japan. You can’t even buy a Coke for a dollar, amirite? As you will see, this is a big deal. So without further ado, let’s bring in The Hundred Yen NATOs!
Make no mistake, these are not garbage straps. They look nearly identical to the highly rated CIVO straps on Amazon for $10 (which, it should be noted, come with spring bars and a tool). The colors are lovely; I managed to get my hands on seven different variations including Bond style black and gray stripes.
They’re super comfortable and look fantastic. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed wearing (and sweating heavily in) one all week without a single problem. The nylon material is tough and the stitching is cleanly executed. What can I say? They’re utterly decent in every way, for the equivalent of less than a dollar. Just uncanny.
Let’s take a closer look at the shiny bits. The stainless steel buckle is nicely polished on the visible side. The finish isn’t absolutely perfect and the strap retainers are likely pot metal, but it all feels durable and looks good even close up.
The catch: They only seem to be available in a 20 mm width, whereas the CIVO straps are available in three sizes. And considering you probably don’t have a Daiso nearby, I think I can safely recommend the CIVO straps as an alternative – especially if you need spare spring bars and a tool.
For me personally, these work a treat. And they were a hundred yen a piece! Thanks, China!
This got me scouring Amazon for other ultra cheap China + Japan collabs to be thankful for, and I found a neat brand called Songdu casing Japanese movements in Guangdong (if my Google-fu serves me right). I really like cheap and cheerful Chinese beaters, and these caught my eye: This beautiful thing is on sale for $24 – similar price for a mesh bracelet. Here’s a sexy Panerai copy for just over $25. I’m ashamed to admit I want one… And here’s one with an actual, real-life, functioning chronograph for even less (?!!)