NATO straps in the Great War (WWI) era

NATO straps in the Great War (WWI) era

Postby koimaster » January 9th 2017, 10:10am

Some would argue that the NATO wrist straps did not exist in WWI, but in fact their grandfather straps were in existence prior to, and after, WWI. The DNA for NATO wrist straps was well developed by the end of WWI.

The development of NATO wrist straps is part of the evolution of the military watch. Watches were a critical requirement for military manoeuvres and the wrist watch was essentially spawned, and became prevalent, in WWI.

We take the availability of the correct time for granted, but in 1914 things were very different. A 1000 man battalion of the British Expeditionary Force in WWI would have had only eight GS (General Service) pocket watches issued. One to the Signalling Sergeant and the others to be shared among 16 Signallers. Officers were not equipped with pocket watches by the Army, but were required to provide these themselves, and often they chose watches with wristlets. Coordinating operations in these circumstances would have been difficult.

The H. Williamson watch below was one GS issue. These watches were retrospectively designated GS watches in July 1929 when the GS MkII watch was introduced, and they were declared obsolete. Few, if any, were engraved GS; rather they carried the pheon, and an inventory number. ... aps-to-wwi

NATO straps in the Great War WWI.pdf


Credit for the featured image is HOROLOGIST007. He, and two other users of Watchuseek, bobbee and Literustyfan have a wealth of knowledge on this subject which I have tried to draw together from the perspective of the NATO strap. David Boettcher of Vintage Watch Straps also has considerable expertise. If I have failed to give them specific credit for their images which are in the public domain, I apologise, but I could not have written this article as quickly without their enthusiasm for the watches of the period, if not the straps.
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