Review: Barton Black & Steel Grey (Bond) | Jetson NATO Style Watch Band
My favorite James Bond watch is the (takes deep breath):
OMEGA MASTER COâ€‘AXIAL 41 MM
“SPECTRE” Limited Edition
Steel on NATO strap
Omega made 7,007 of these watches, priced at $7500. Unfortunately, that price was well above my “single-O” pay grade.
The next best way to achieve the same look is to purchase a Seamaster 300 M Co-Axial with a 41 mm stainless steel case (readily available new at $6600) and add an Omega NATO strap ($160). There were detail changes made to the SPECTRE watch, so it can never be an exact replica, but the differences are subtle and don’t substantially change the look of the watch.
I have tried to achieve the same look on a much more austere budget, by using a replica watch face on my Samsung Galaxy Watch and a NATO strap from Barton Watch Bands, located here in Austin, Texas. The Samsung retails at $349.99, but street prices are at $300, and the Barton NATO strap is $19.50. At that price, I think this represents the look of the original very well.
The Barton NATO strap is very well made, feels comfortable, and looks handsome, but I do have a complaint. The fixed loop is made from nylon, rather than metal, like the free loop on the same strap and like the loops on the Omega strap. The fixed loop is also sized to allow the excess strap to double-back through for people with small wrists. I appreciate the functionality of that, but since I don’t need it, the fixed loop does not lie flat against the strap, which creates bulk on a strap that I think should be aesthetically sleek.
The Omega NATO strap costs $160 and the Barton costs less than $20. If I thought this design decision was about cost, I wouldn’t have a problem with that. But I don’t think it is. I have found similarly inexpensive straps online that have metal loops. Besides, I would pay a little extra to get them from Barton. I also think it’s fair criticism, because Barton refers to James Bond in their product description (though admittedly I believe it is in reference to the colors, rather than an assertion that they are offering an exact replica.
To be clear, this is a design disagreement and not a quality issue. The Barton strap is inexpensive, comfortable, well made, and the seat belt nylon weave feels strong enough to use to hang from a helicopter skid (but you should probably leave that to 007).
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