The Military History Behind the Apple Watch’s New Straps – WIRED

Apple events are constantly preceded by rumors. In the weeks top up to today’s event in Cupertino, one heavily circulated rumor had to do along with brand-new interchangeable bands for the Apple Watch. Specifically, NATO-design nylon bands.

The rumors were true—sort of. Apple showed off a line of bands that it’s calling Woven Nylon. The brand-new straps ($49 each) come in 2 dimensions and seven colorways: gold/red, gold/royal blue, royal blue, pink, pearl, scuba blue, and black. Apple’s product page says the bands are “earned from over 500 threads woven together,” and that “monofilaments”—solitary strands of fabric— “connect four layers of the weave.” At a glance, these bands look dense.

They’re also, technically, not NATO straps. Woven nylon straps date to the early 1970’s, as soon as the British Ministry of Defense began making them for soldiers. (The term “NATO strap” is a misnomer: the bands are much more accurately called G10 straps, nicknamed for the G1098 type soldiers had to fill out to get hold of one.) The straps called for to be as utilitarian as possible, so the make featured one looped, adjustable piece of nylon that snaked underneath the watch. If among the spring bars on the watch broke, the NATO band wouldn’t fall off. They job enjoy this:

Apple’s Woven Nylon bands don’t come along with that type of failsafe—if they did, the bands would certainly cover up sensors on the underside of the Watch. That would certainly be dumb. No, Apple went along with two-piece bands that clasp with each other via a traditional buckle. Still, it’s simple to notice why Apple prefers to channel, otherwise replicate, a make as soon as earned for soldiers, pilots, and astronauts. “The whole point of [NATO straps] was to be cheap and effective,” says Ariel Adams, editor-in-chief of A Blog to Watchenjoy cargo pants and olive drab parkas, NATO straps remained popular among those that like a certain practical, rugged aesthetic. Later, Adams says, they became popular in Southeast Asian countries, where the humid climate would certainly wreck leather watch bands. Apple’s customers undoubtedly have actually comparable needs. Ideal now, the company’s just selection for a casual, weather-proof strap is its fluoroelastomer silicone band, which has actually a distinct I’m heading to the health club and counting my steps type of aesthetic.

Plus, much more recently, high-end watchmakers enjoy Omega and Tudor have actually released their own NATO-design straps. “NATO straps make a comeback,” it also says on Omega’s site. “It’s trend chasing by the sizable brands—Apple included,” Adams says. “Apple has actually been pushing that the Apple Watch is the timepiece for this era. So they’re attempting all of the trends people would certainly associate along with traditional watches, along with the Apple Watch.” In that light, the Woven Nylon band is the excellent counter-selection for customers that might additionally think of a $1,250 Hermès Apple Watch strap.

“people enjoy changing the bands,” Tim Cook said throughout today’s presentation, by means of explaining the brand-new accessories (and, you know, pitching the crowd on the Apple Watch’s relevancy). By Apple’s estimation, he says, one-3rd of Apple Watch wearers frequently modification the bands. Now starving customers have actually an additional means to do that.

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