Erika's Originals
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BY POPULAR REQUEST

HISTORY OF THE MN-STRAP

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My MN™straps are made in the spirit of - and a tribute to - the Marine Nationale divers that made hand stitched straps of elastic webbing from their parachutes. Using the same elastic parachute webbing that I am using for the MN straps today. Taking it one step further my design uses parachute hardware to make them fully adjustable and easier to wear both in and out of the water. It is not just the cool looks and the heritage that contributed to the success of the MN™strap but also it’s comfort and wearability.

The Marine Nationale
The French navy - the Marine Nationale - has been long known for the outstanding watches they issued to their combat- and on board divers. Among these are divers watches from Tudor, Doxa, Triton and Z.R.C. Since these watches were delivered 'head only', the French Marine Nationale divers used a variety of watch straps on them. Some of the divers used the, now famous, elastic webbing found on their parachutes to make a single loop watch strap for their own watch.
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The First Erika's Originals MN-Strap
The making of
I started making the MN strap watch straps when a watch enthousiast asked me if it would be possible to complement his M.N. Doxa with the original strap as worn by the Marine Nationale divers in the 1970's.
He wanted an adjustable one he could wear up and down his wrist as he pleased. Not a simple stitched together loop that would probably be too tight or too loose.
Searching for the right material I bought some old parachutes and low altitude static lines to harvest the elastic webbing.
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Some French parachutes from the 1960's (front) and 70's (back)
I did a lot of experimenting. The Nato with a twist seems an obvious choice but since the material is elastic, a regular buckle does not work and the double layer of webbing under the watch makes the watch swing back and forth.  

Since I had all that nice original 1970’s parachute hardware (I took off the parachutes I bought) I started experimenting with that in combination with some hand made hardware. After only a few prototypes I ended up with the perfect adjustable MN strap. 

Instagram kickstart
A picture of the Doxa with the prototype of the strap ended up on Instagram and immediately afterwards I received requests from New York, Paris, Stockholm and Singapore.

Since then I get mails from all over the world and attention on different forums, podcasts, Instagram and Facebook. Needless to say I ran out of materials fast!
NOS webbing
Thanks to the outstanding relation with my contact with the TAP, French Airforce, I managed to get my hands on rolls of new old stock Marine Nationale parachute braid in 21 and, very rare, 22mm I am using at the moment. Never used but stored for over 40 years.
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Virgin rolls of new old stock Marine Nationale webbing
Comfort and fit
The MN strap is made from Latex braided with Nylon. The Nylon is one of the contributing factors to it's comfort. Nylon (designed as artificial silk by DuPont in the 1930's) is extremely comfortable to wear and absorbs and regulates moisture better than any other strap material which is a big plus in general but especially on warmer summer days.

All my MN™straps are 100% hand stitched with French Linen thread. I am a stickler for detail and quality.

The Erika's Originals MN™Strap is patented worldwide • MN™Strap is a registered Trade Mark

AS SEEN AND REVIEWED ON

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Disclaimer
Erika's Originals and the Anchor Stitch are registered trade marks. Copyright © Erika's Originals 2016, 2017