The world of elastic watch strap is gaining traction and rightfully so. It’s fully adjustable and it can be more comfortable than most NATOs. One of the most famous one would be Erika’s MN, but her recent price increase put me off. I went to WUS to look for alternatives and that’s where I discovered Nick Mankey’s Hook Strap.
Nick’s pricing is very affordable. Straps start at USD$29 excluding shipping for his basic one. He also releases a few limited edition that costs extra.
I opted for an 18mm navy strap with same coloured stitching. It’s also recommended to go one size larger if you’re unsure with regards to length.
Shipping and Packaging
I ordered from him on December 2 and was shipped out after a week. That’s quite good for a made to order strap. Strap was sent via USPS First-Class Package International Service. I think it’s Christmas period, but from arriving at the distribution centre in San Jose, California to San Francisco took almost a month.
Of course this is out of Nick’s control, but it’s something to consider when ordering on busy periods internationally. From there, It took another 3 weeks before arriving at my doorstep.
The item arrived in just a normal padded bag. Inside is the strap in a ziplock bag. It’s quite a simple and no frill packaging. I think as of the February 2020, he posted on his facebook page that he’s now going paperless so that’s always a plus!
The strap is carefully wrapped in an adhesive paper. It didn’t leave any residue which is good. After just holding it, I was quickly impressed how smooth it is.
One of the first thing I noticed is that how elastic it is. Comparing to competitors who offers similar loop style straps, this is by far one of the most elastic one I’ve held.
The strap was easy to fit in, but I opted to use my own personal spring bar than the one supplied for personal reasons. I find that there’s no problem with using my own spring bar, but if you change straps quite often, the supplied quick release spring bar will benefit you more.
It took a while for me to get the proper fit and might experiment a bit more. I find that a tighter fit around the wrist is surprisingly comfortable. Some might prefer a looser fit based on experience on a NATO, but it’s not necessary for this strap. A benefit of a tighter fit as well is that there’s almost no chance that the hook will slide off. I find that if ever it will slide off (but basing on the design it won’t), the strap won’t just untangle from your wrist.
The strap is also only one strip of fabric, but doesn’t pass through underneath the watch making this easier and smaller to wear than a NATO. There’s two layers of fabric underneath once fitted. Even then it doesn’t feel thick and bulky. Stitching is done well and clean and very impressed by it.
The hook is made from Zinc-Plated Alloy so it’s light compared to stainless steel. In addition, this keeps the cost down as well.
One thing that I am still getting used to as well is sliding the hook. Quite a few times I would accidentally let it go and the hook would snap around the wrist and hit the crystal. Good thing the buckle is not stainless steel. I believe overtime it’s just something I would get used to.
One thing I am also interested in reporting eventually is durability and longetivity. Compared to NATO straps where there’s barely any stretch, this might stretch overtime.
This is by far one of the best straps I have used. Though it will take time to get used to fitting it, it’s wears comfortably and fits well on my wrist. I have no problems recommending this to anybody wanting this sort of style and fabric. My rank is 9.5 / 10.