You can now buy the classic A.F.0210. strap
For many years the A.F.0210. watch strap has been a sought after item. It was designed for WWII watches. So, it is correct for the period, and looks good on a military watch. But, as it is made of cotton webbing, few have survived the 70 years since its introduction, and the price of a NOS strap is now £250 - £300.
However, now, a faithful reproduction A.F.0210.® strap is available at : http://af0210strap.com/
Historically the A.F.0210. strap is also important as it has had a significant influence on the design of the NATO strap.
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.
The Vocabulary of Army Ordnance Stores (VAOS) in 1945 published the stores numbers for newly issued Jungle Warfare Equipment, in a special section A6.
The A6/AF0210 strap, usually just marked AF0210, was part of the lightweight 1944 pattern, or 44 pattern webbing initially issued by the MoD as Jungle Warfare Equipment in 1945. All this Jungle Warfare Equipment was designated with a stores reference number in the form A6/AFxxxx, or just AFxxxx.
Designed for jungle and tropical climates, 44 pattern webbing was introduced to the Pacific theatre just as WWII ended, and was still in use in one form or another until it was replaced by Personal Load Carrying Equipment (PLCE) 90 pattern webbing.
It was primarily used in campaigns in Palestine in 1946, the Korean war, the Malayan Emergency, the Indonesian Confrontation, in Kenya against the Mau-Mau, far East campaigns and in the Suez Campaign. Australian and NZ troops serving with British forces in Malaya and Borneo during the 1950s and 1960s were also issued with it, and continued to use it in the Vietnam War.
Above is a soldier in Malaya, with a watch on an AF0210 webbing strap, cooking in an AF0225 mess tin, (A6/AF0225 Tins, mess, rectangular, aluminium are still in production), with an AF0100 machete (or parang) in the foreground (marked M.S. Ltd 1945 AF0100, with pheon). The parang scabbard in the foreground was store reference AF0101.
Military watch enthusiasts have attempted to recreate the AF0210 strap to complement their watches, but have been hampered by their inability to find either the correct cotton webbing, or the shouldered buckles. During these attempts, a desire has also surfaced for A.F.0210. homage straps in 20mm and 22mm widths to complement cold war military watches.
Remanufacture of these homage straps has also been undertaken at : http://af0210strap.com/
Remanufacture - the A.F.02I0.®
Previous attempts at reproducing the A.F.0210. watch strap have hit hurdles, primarily as the cotton webbing is no longer in production, and the original shouldered buckles are not available.
A faithful copy has now been produced with remanufactured cotton webbing, and newly moulded shouldered buckles, which eliminates any compromise in these elements. The reproduction is so authentic that the straps have been stamped and the buckles embossed A.F.02l0.® to ensure they are not mistaken, or on-sold, as originals.
A few original 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, compared with a 250mm long original A.F.0210. strap.
Based on all available internet images, and after measuring several original straps, including the NOS strap above, which was 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 preformed eyelet holes punched or sewn 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 was taken. Below is a test strip being measured during production.
After several unsuccessful weaving attempts, 44 warp thread 17.5mm wide, 0.75mm thick webbing has been made. The micrometer above indicates 16.66mm width on the loom.
A comparison between the rewoven webbing and the above two original A.F.0210. straps is shown below.
The shouldered buckles and loops have also been remanufactured in brass.
The original buckles vary, but two have been scanned in a 3-D scanner, and based on all available data, the remanufactured buckle design has been modelled in 3-D and production moulds have been made based on the 3-D drawings.
Pre-production samples were made in a 3-D printer using ABS resin. As a proof of concept for possible wider homage straps, the the 3-D model was widened, and 20mm and 22mm buckles have also been designed and printed in ABS resin.
18mm, 20mm and 22mm prototype buckles in 3-D
Below are the remanufactured 18mm buckles in the initial A.F.0210.® production run.
A.F.02l0.® embossing has been added to the underside of the buckle as this will identify the faithful reproduction A.F.0210.® straps.
Buckle and webbing production has reached the stage where first deliveries have been made, and supporters can order the A.F.0210.® strap from the second batch of straps.
One outcome of initial production has been confirmation that the original A.F.0210. strap length of about 235-250mm will probably be too small for some wrists.
All production straps will be stamped A.F.02l0.®, as above, but without the pheon often found on original straps.
This is how the 270mm long strap will look on a 215mm wrist.
Orders for A.F.0210.® straps are now being taken.
Production of 20mm and 22mm homage straps has also begun, and these straps can be ordered as well.
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, despite the fact that they were designed to complement each other. We have created this collage so that you can zoom into your favourite W.W.W. watch and gain some idea of how this watch will look on an A.F.0210. strap. The more detailed article is on this site.
Below are a dozen A.F.0210. straps for the Dirty Dozen watches.
The initial deliveries of A.F.0210.® straps have been made and can be seen at :
Below is a Smiths W10 on both an original, and faithful reproduction strap.
Image courtesy MWR forum user : Bone Idol
The most common comment about the faithful reproduction A.F.0210.® strap is that it is so very comfortable to wear.
There is a demand for an every day watch to complement the reproduction A.F.0210.® strap.
The affordable A.F.0210. watch is shown at the centre above with other early WWII watches.
What do you need to do if you are interested in either a faithful reproduction A.F.0210.® strap, or a wider homage strap?
If you send an email to us on firstname.lastname@example.org we will keep in touch, and let you know about the process for ordering and delivery.
Or, simply enter a comment in the field below, and we will reply to you.
Tell us whether you are interested in 18mm, 20mm or 22mm straps, either the faithful A.F.02l0.® reproduction, or the wider homage straps.
The A.F.0210. strap with a fabric keeper.
As part of the Suez campaign, the A.F.0210. strap was modified, perhaps using 6B/02593 compass webbing. A fabric keeper has been added to the strap on the left. This NATO type of cotton strap with a fabric keeper was also available at the end of WWII to US troops as the VB Hygienique strap. We have produced straps of this type as well.
An 1953 Omega CK2777 on a NATO type strap of unknown origin, using A.F.0210. webbing, is shown above left. Also shown is an IWC WWW watch, with NATO dial, on an original A.F.0210. strap. (Image MWR forum user : T.O.W.S. UK.)
These straps are the true precursor to the MoD NATO strap.
Please let us know if you are interested in these straps on email@example.com