01 Dec Hands On Review: Bark & Jack NATO Strap
As I said in my first review of a NATO strap, the high end Phenomenato, endless companies have jumped on the bandwagon in the past couple of years and started offering “premium” NATO’s. For a while I’ve been thirsting for another premium strap in green to go with my Hamilton Khaki Mechanical. However, like most people these days, I wanted instant gratification without waiting a couple of weeks for shipping from abroad.
Luckily for me, Adrian over at Bark & Jack has recently brought out some pretty neat looking NATO straps at a tempting price, so I thought I’d pull the trigger and give it a go!
THE STRAP & HARDWARE
This is the first product from Bark & Jack. Until now Adrian has focused on producing YouTube videos on watch related subjects. Scrolling through his channel you’ll see he covers topics ranging from the best watches under £500, to reviews of individual watches. If you haven’t seen any of his vids before, I thoroughly recommend checking them out as they’re darn good!
The strap arrived in a couple of days and, as UK delivery is free, a nice bonus for us Brits. It arrived in a simple brown envelope, sealed with wax.
The strap had no other packaging, but as it’s a NATO I’m not fussed about it coming in a box or bag. It did however, have a small label on the buckle that simply read: “To James, cheers Adrian” Personally I really appreciate personal touches like this that show the person behind the brand.
The colour of the strap is a rich olive green, and it gives a great military vibe to any watch that’s mounted on it. The weave of the nylon is perfectly regular, without the ridges of standard cheaper straps, and it means that the strap feels like silk to the touch and wears extremely comfortably on the wrist. I mean seriously, it’s like having actual silk on the wrist.
Comparing the material to the Phenomenato strap, the Bark & Jack feels just as smooth (if not smoother), but the weave is clearly not as tight. This is by no means a bad thing, as it means the B&J NATO offers a cushioning effect, but only time will tell as to whether it’s as durable as the Phenomenato.
The hardware is brushed steel (there is currently no polished option), and it’s nice and chunky, with a solid buckle that screams tough. The buckle is especially solid, and signed simply “B&J”. Holding this hardware in place is some very neat stitching that looks very well done, and in keeping with the quality of the materials used here.
The holes along the strap are perfectly cut and well-sealed, with no burrs. However, frustratingly I have to use the very last hole on the strap, and even then it’s by no means tight. It isn’t loose either, but when you’re cursed with slim wrists like myself (just under 7 inches if you must know) you’ll find yourself wanting the option to go just a notch or two tighter. Of course, if you’re in the majority of people with normal wrists, pay no attention to the gripes of us puny-wristed weirdos.
Overall, for £18.00 I think the Bark & Jack NATO’s are an absolute bargain. They’re well made, comfortable, and have solid hardware, which puts them head and shoulders above the standard NATO fair you get off eBay or a cheap jewellers. Whilst I wish I had the option to wear it a bit tighter, for the money you couldn’t wish for a better NATO. When you consider that it’s half the price of a Phenomenato or a similar offering from a larger brand (and you don’t have to wait to get it), the points just keep stacking in its favour.
You can purchase the Bark & Jack NATO from their site here.
These are available in a 22mm or 20mm lug width, and in black, grey, green and blue colours.