How to shorten and customize your NATO strap – 3 simple tricks!


All NATO watch straps have in common that they are relatively long, so they can also be worn on very large wrists or even over clothes. In most cases, however, there is always a fair amount of strap left and sticks out from the wrist, so it must be threaded back into the metal loops. Sometimes it is either too much or too less strap left over to be thread back into the loops, and this is the most annoying case. If you have a very small wrist and the NATO strap length needed to be greatly reduced, it is necessary to punch new holes in the bracelet too.

In the following video and blog post we show you 3 simple tricks how to shorten your NATO strap, how you punch new holes in it and how you customize your regular double pass- to a single pass NATO within just a few minutes.

Tools required:

Shorten NATO Strap Tools

  • Scissors
  • Piercing tool
  • Rivet pliers / -punch
  • Pliers
  • Lighter
  • Two coins

Trick Nr. 1: How do I shorten a NATO watch strap?

1. Determine the new length of your NATO strap

Use two coins with the same rounding scope like the end of the NATO strap and holt it between them to determine the position where you want to shorten the NATO. You can also use the shape of the coins for drawing a line to mark where you want to cut it off.

Use a coin to shorten your NATO strap

Use a coin to give the shortened end of your NATO bracelet the correct and even curve – NATO: Nato Strap Red | WB Original 

2. Cut off the end of the strap

Now simply cut along the shape of the coins (or along the marking) to give the shortened bracelet a rounded end again. You can use a common scissor to cut off the end of the NATO strap.

Cut the NATO strap with scissors

Use scissors to cut off the end of your NATO strap placed between two coins

3. Place the cut end between two coins

Use a tool, for example a pincer, and firmly hold the cut end of the NATO strap between two coins. Make sure the cut end of your NATO and the two coins line up. This will protect the fabric from scorching or melting too far in the next step and you will have a clean welded end.

Use a tool to hold the NATO strap

Line-up the cut end of the NATO strap between two coins

4. Weld the cut end of your shortened NATO

Now use a lighter and move back and forth relatively quickly at the end and thus weld the protruding nylon fibers. This will prevent the nylon fibers on the cut end from loosening.

Sealing NATO strap end with a lighter

Seal the cut end with a lighter

Trick Nr. 2: How to punch an extra hole in your NATO strap ?

1. Punch new holes into the NATO strap

When the strap has become shorter, you probably need new holes to fit the strap on your wrist again. Best tool for new holes in you watch strap is a Rivet pliers or -puncher. Choose the right size, so that the pin of your buckle fits through it and punch a new hole. You can punch it in the same distance as the other holes, or you mark an individual hole, whatever is best for the perfect fit on your wrist.

Punching new holes into your NATO strap with Rivet pliers

Using Rivet pliers to punch holes into your shortened strap – NATO: Premium Nato Strap Khaki – Polished | WB Original

2. Weld the new holes with a lighter

Now use a lighter and heat up the piercing tool at the end and thus weld the protruding nylon fibers around the holes. This will prevent the nylon fibers on the holes end from loosening.

Welding holes nato strap with lighter

Weld the new holes with heating up a piercing tool

Trick Nr. 3: How to go from a double pass nato to a single pass nato ?

A regular NATO strap is a two-layer strap and the watch sits safe “between” the two layers. If the very rare case of spring bar failure occurs, the watch will still hang on its last spring bar between the strap and it won’t fall off your wrist. But it also adds additional height to your watch, which some people don’t like and also makes heavy watches “wobble” on top of your wrist. If you can’t find a single-pass NATO strap that you like, you can simply customize your classic NATO strap into a single-pass NATO strap. – If you want to learn more about NATO straps, check out our blog post “All you need to know about NATO straps” here.

1. Cut the second layer of your NATO strap

Cut the short second layer of the NATO strap close to the stitching, but not too close, just so you have a couple of mm’s left.

Cut one layer of the NATO strap

2. Weld the end with a lighter

Use a lighter and quickly go back and forth over the cut part, so all the cut open nylon fibers melt and seal. This will stop the fabric from raffling and make them feel smooth on the wrist.

weld the end with a lighter


Thanks to our brand ambassador @BowlOfSalmon for providing film and picture material – Check out his blog on



Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects are purely “at your own risk”. As with any DIY project, unfamiliarity with the tools and process can be dangerous. Posts should be construed as theoretical advice only. If you are at all uncomfortable or inexperienced working on these projects, please reconsider doing the job yourself. It is very possible on any DIY project to damage your cottage, void your property insurance, create a hazardous condition, or harm or even kill yourself or others. This website will not be held responsible for any injury due to the misuse or misunderstanding of any DIY project.

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