The classic A.F.0210. strap can be yours soon
For many years the A.F.0210. watch strap has been a sought after item. It looks good on a military watch. But, as it is made of cotton webbing, few have survived the 70 years since its introduction.
It has had a significant influence on the design of the NATO strap. An 1953 Omega CK2777 on a NATO strap of unknown origin, using A.F.0210. webbing, is shown above. Also shown is an IWC WWW watch, with NATO dial, on an A.F.0210. strap. (Image MWR forum user : T.O.W.S. UK.)
The history of the strap is outlined in thespringbar articles on WWII watch straps, and post WWII military straps, leading to the birth of the NATO strap.
Military watch enthusiasts have attempted to recreate the strap to complement their watches, but have been hampered by the inability to find both the cotton webbing, and the correct shouldered buckles. During these attempts, a desire for wider hommage straps has also surfaced.
Soon, a crowdfunding site will be launched to overcome these problems, and the classic strap could be yours, either as a faithful reproduction, or as a wider hommage strap.
Prototype manufacture - the A.F.02I0.™
Previous attempts at reproducing the A.F.0210. watch strap have hit hurdles, primarily as the webbing is no longer in production, and the original shouldered buckles are not available.
These attempts, using readily available materials has meant some compromises in the reproduction. Crowdfunding a faithful copy will provide the funds necessary to gear up to remanufacture cotton webbing, and shouldered buckles, to eliminate these compromises, and enable a truly faithful reproduction. The reproduction will be so authentic that the straps will be stamped and the buckles embossed A.F.02l0.™ to ensure they are not mistaken, or on sold, as originals.
A few A.F.0210. straps survive, and they differ slightly, as could be expected for a hand sewn strap made in difficult times in cottage industry conditions. The length, the buckles, the sewing pattern, and strap colour all vary slightly. Some later buckles and loops are selenium dioxide treated to make black.
Below is a NOS strap 235mm long, and a 250mm long original A.F.0210.
Based on all available internet images, and measuring several actual straps, including a NOS strap purchased for quality control purposes, the design protocols for the A.F.0210. faithful reproduction have been recreated.
Key elements of the design are :
A 44-48 warp thread loose weave khaki cotton webbing, 17mm wide and about 0.75mm thick.
A one piece folded strap, about 250mm long, with stitching all round at 2mm from the edge.
A shouldered brass buckle, with a depression to retain the buckle tongue.
A sharpened buckle tongue which allows the strap to be fitted to the wrist in any position.
No eyelet holes punched in the strap.
Brass loops positioned 10mm and 36mm back from the buckle, retained by the folded strap.
Stamped inside, A.F.0210. with a pheon.
A.F.0210. protocol drawing.
The cotton webbing has proved impossible to source off the shelf, so the decision to remanufacture the webbing has been taken. Below is a test strip being measured during production.
After several unsuccessful weaving attempts, prototype 44 warp thread 17mm wide, 0.75mm thick webbing has been made. A 10m long strip was test woven. The micrometer above indicates 16.66mm width on the loom.
A comparison between the webbing in the woven test strip and two original A.F.0210. straps is shown below.
The webbing colour of the surviving straps varies, so the crowdfunding project will use Pantone 16-0726TPG, the "green" version of the international convention number for Khaki as the colour for the faithful reproduction.
A special order of this colour will require several thousand metres of webbing to be ordered. This can be done, once the crowdfunding releases funds for production.
The test weaving has also revealed that the same weaving pattern can easily be widened to 20mm and 22mm webbing for hommage straps.
The shouldered buckles and loops have also to be remanufactured.
Producing the mould for buckle production will be very expensive, so 3-D printing technology has been used to proof the buckle production, and to print buckles for prototype production.
The original buckles vary, but two have been scanned in a 3-D scanner, and based on all available data, the buckle has been modelled in 3-D.
Pre-production samples have been made in a 3-D printer using white ABS resin, and painted black. As a proof of concept for possible wider hommage straps, the the 3-D model has been widened, and 20mm and 22mm buckles have also been designed.
17mm, 20mm and 22mm prototype buckles in 3-D
The 20mm and 22mm wide buckles are proof of concept protoypes for future crowdfunding for hommage A.F.0210 straps.
A.F.02l0.™ embossing has been added to the underside of the buckle in the computer model, and this will identify the faithful reproduction buckles.
Below is an x-ray snapshot of the 3-D drawing used for the 3-D printing of the pre-production buckles, together with the A.F.02l0.™ embossing.
Below are the black ABS prototype buckles for 17mm, 20mm and 22mm wide straps, shown on a 10mm grid, with the embossed A.F.02l0.™ shown on the reverse side of the 17mm buckle.
The final buckle production will also be dependent on crowd funding success to provide funds for the mould production. The 3-D computer files will then be used to produce a mould for the buckles and the keepers, and the buckles and keepers will be made in brass.
The prototype 17mm buckles have been made in ABS, painted black, and fitted with tongues to enable prototype straps to be sewn. 10 prototypes have been made from the 10m test strip of webbing in accordance with the protocol drawing, but of different lengths from 250mm to 270mm long. One outcome has been confirmation that the NOS strap length of about 250mm will probably be too small for some wrists.
The samples have been stamped A.F.02l0.™ to indicate that the strap is a faithful reproduction. All production straps will be stamped A.F.02l0.™, without the pheon often found on original straps.
This is how the strap will look on a 215mm wrist.
What might your W.W.W. watch look like on a contemporary strap?
Images of W.W.W. watches on A.F.0210. straps are rare. We have created this collage so that you can zoom into your favourite W.W.W. watch and gain some idea. The more detailed article is on this site.
What will happen next for an interested person?
The crowdfunding site will go live soon, and if you send an email to us on email@example.com we will keep in touch, and let you know.
Or, simply enter a comment in the field below.
Tell us whether you are interested in 17mm, 20mm or 22mm straps, either the faithful A.F.02l0.™ reproduction, or the wider hommage straps.
We will inform you of progress, and send you a link to the crowdfunding site when it goes live.