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15 Great Bourbons
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10 Best Sleeping Bags
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Strapped for time

Icon: The NATO Strap

Whether or not you know exactly what a NATO strap is, you’ve definitely seen one. A trend item that has aggressively taken hold of the watch industry, NATOs can be found on just about any watch, from $35 Timex Weekenders to $7,000 Rolex Submariners to $50,000 Patek Philippes. While the straps have become fairly ubiquitous, their origin can be traced back to a single point in history — and it has nothing to do with NATO forces.

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Standard Equipment

Stocking Stuffers: Pocket Stuffers

Editor’s Note: The stockings are hung by the chimney with care…now what the hell are you gonna put in there? Ah, stocking stuffers — the little things, the extras, the last minute goodies, the fun gifts. They’re as enjoyable to give as they are to receive. Thing is, there’s an endless supply of stocking-size gifts…

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Into Leather?

Best Custom Watch Straps

There are dozens — if not hundreds — of guys making custom leather straps these days, and a few doing nylon. You can too. All it really takes is some serious time on Google and YouTube looking for information, a leather supplier, a few knives, needle and thread, and Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours of practice.

In case you don’t have that kind of time, we’ve rounded up some top current strap makers for your sampling pleasure. And lest you think these guys are dilettantes, at least two of them parlayed their passion into an OEM manufacturing concern for well-known watch brands.

timekeeping-promo-logo-gear-patrolThis article is part of GP's fresh new face to TIMEKEEPING, a weekly chronicle on the utility, design, tradition and innovation of watches.
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36 gift ideas for the stylish man

12 Guys of Christmas: The Dapper Man

Nothing sets the teeth to rattling like the task of gift buying for a style zealot (except maybe an in-law’s icy glare). Rolled or cuffed? four-in-hand or windsor? Double breasted or single? Brown or black? Personal style is, well, personal; a faux pas can have lasting consequences. That’s why we’re throwing you a life line:…

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Changes Come Easy

Timekeeping: How to Change a Watch Strap

Let’s face it, times are tough and it’s not just European governments that are implementing austerity measures. A lot of guys can’t squeeze a new watch into their 2012 budgets. But don’t despair, there’s an affordable way to get a fresh look for your existing watch – change the strap. You might be surprised at…

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Strapped for Dash

Hodinkee Shop

Like a set of wheels to a car or shoes with a suit, nothing sets apart a watch quite like a well-considered strap. Even watches limited to mere dozens have room for individualization and strapping on a new swath of leather, suede or nylon can make all the difference. Our friends at Hodinkee have just…

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Rubber wonder

Timekeeping: ISOfrane Straps

If you know someone who’s into watches — dive watches, in particular — then chances are they’re also into straps. The reason for this is easy enough to fathom: a strap change offers a quick, inexpensive way to change the look of a watch, and even better, it’s a do-it-yourself proposition. Yet, while most switch…

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Wrist Arresting

David Lane Designs Watch Straps

What began as a personal endeavor to expand his own watch strap collection, photography teacher David Lane has managed to evolve into one of the best looking leather strap offerings we’ve come across. Using advice and tools handed down from his grandfather who worked as a shoe cobbler in Budapest, Lane’s pieces are the real…

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Wrist Assured

Bas and Lokes Custom Watch Straps

If you’re looking for a handmade strap to distinguish your timepiece from the rest of the 20mm-26mm watches out there, look no further than Bas and Lokes straps ($94+). Made by two experienced strap makers with a passion for quality and luxury, all of their straps are suited for large watches with wide lug widths….

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Tool Up Your Watch

GasGasBones Custom Watch Straps

It’s time to take the classic “tool” wristwatch back to its rightful place on a dive boat or the racetrack. Most of these marvels of micro-engineering and classic rugged style are languishing on a nightstand or in a desk drawer, while the cheap black plastic (CBP) watches get to have all the weekend fun. Can…

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Strap Culture Legend HM | Watch Straps

A man’s timepiece is an essential part of his wardrobe. Hell, any man worth his salt knows if you rock a quality watch it doesn’t matter what your wardrobe looks like. Though the combination of both undoubtedly reigns supreme. If you’ve purchased yourself a watch recently and are looking for a point of differentiation then…