Why The French Navy Used Parachutes For Their Divewatches (And I Do For Skiing)

Let’s start this one with a history lesson. The French navy has used several watch brands for their dive operations, from Tudor to Doxa. These military watches used to have fixed spring bars. Since a springbar can be the weakest link (pun intended) in a watch, it’s smart to weld the spring bars to the watch, so they can’t break during a mission.

When the watches were delivered to the French military, they always came without straps. Having fixed spingbars makes it impossible to have a metal bracelet, so this ment that the divers sometimes had to improvise. Some made nato straps, others used parts from parachutes to make their straps. Parachutes were easy to find, and a flexible elastic strap made quick adjustments possible, wich was important for divers.

Back to the year 2018. If you have followed me for a while, you know I like watches and objects with a story. It’s kind of the whole point of this website.

This is also the reason why I bought a 20 year old Seiko 7002, and not a brand new SKX. The SKX might be better, stronger, more accurate… But my 7002 has fought for over 20 years, giving it a unique story!

So why not combine the best of both worlds? This is where the amazing people from Jackostraps jump in, who hooked me up with some NDC straps. NDC stands for ‘Nageur De Combat’, wich means ‘Army Diver’ in French. Jackostraps is the only seller of real NDC straps, meaning that they only use parts from NOS Marine Nationale parachutes to make the straps, just like the French military divers did.

My straps arrived a few days before I left for a week long skitrip, what better way to test them!

I wore them non-stop for a week, and the straps had some proper torture testing. 7 days on the snow, skiing 7 hours a day, and après skiing for just as long. Always with the watch strapped to my sweater, jacket and sometimes even over my glove!

Ho-lie-shiat did it go well. The Seiko 7002 is a pretty heavy watch, but the thick, elastic NDC strap makes it feel like a lightweight watch, and makes it crazy comfortable to wear! You can strap it over anything and forget you are even wearing a watch! Because the strap can stretch, it always adapts to the size of your wrist.

I had a chat with the people over at Jackostraps. They guaranteed me that the straps were made from new old stock Marine Nationale Parachutes, while other brands use the same design and shape, but other materials. The straps are also millspec, wich is a nice bonus!

You’ll probably see me wearing this a lot more in the future!

Check out Jackostraps and NDCstraps for more info!

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