Different Types of Watch Clasps & How to Use Them
All watches have some type of closure to keep the watch secure on the wrist. It’s known as a clasp. The clasp is one of the most important parts of a watch and knowing how to use different types of clasps is essential to wear any watch.
There are a number of different styles and types of watch clasps available on the market. Each clasp has its unique style and mechanism. When you’re shopping for a new watch or just want to shop the clasp for an existing watch, it’s important to know all the available options for watch clasps so that you can make a good decision on which clasp to choose.
In this article, I’m going to share some commonly used watch clasps. Let’s get started.
Note: Understanding different types of watch clasps may seem confusing, but don’t worry, I’ll simplify it for you to make it easy to differentiate between them.
1. The Folding Clasps
The most commonly used type of watch clasp. The folding clasps are made up of three sections connected by two hinges that fold over each other when the clasp is closed. The clasp can be opened and closed by loosening and pushing the flap. Some folding clasps also include an extra little safety flap that makes the clasp more secure and reduces the possibility of accidentally opening it and falling off the watch. This safety flap is found in clasps on dive and sports watches.
These clasps are widely used because they are simple and easy to use.
They also fit well with the majority of bracelet designs. Most folding clasps have a few pin holes on either side that allow you to easily adjust the size of the watch bracelet by a few millimeters.
Note: Some companies also manufacture plastic & carbon fiber folding clasps but these are not as commonly used as metal ones.
We can further classify the folding clasps into two types by considering the push buttons used in a clasp.
- Single Push-Button Folding Clasps
- Double Push-Button Folding Clasps
You can also call it an advancement to the folding clasps.
Single Push-Button Folding Clasps
These clasps, as the name implies, are folding clasps that open and close with a single push button. Push-Button Folding Clasps basically have one metal plate with a hook that is inserted into the hole on the other plate. When you close the clasp, the hole holds the hook in place and the clasp can be opened by pushing the button on the side of the clasp.
The main advantage of using a push button in a clasp is to make it easier to open and more secure when closed.
Double Push-Button Folding Clasps
The mechanism of the Double Push-Button Folding clasp is similar to the single push-button clasp but it has two push-buttons on either side of the clasp, making it much more secure.
2. The Deployant Clasps
The terms deployant clasp and folding clasp are commonly used interchangeably, but there is a slight difference between them. Although the deployant clasps are similar to folding clasps in mechanism, they are specifically designed to be used with leather and other non-metal straps.
Louis Cartier, a French jeweler, was the first who designed it in 1904. He named it the deployant clasp. “Déployant” is a French word that means to unfold.
The Deployant Clasp has a metal pin buckle on one end that is inserted into one of the holes on the larger side of the strap. The other end of the clasp is connected to the shorter side of the strap by a spring bar.2
Stainless Steel Deployant Clasp | Image: Amazon
Some deployant clasps have a single folding section and others have two or even three folding sections in the middle. By considering the folding sections, we can classify deployant clasps into three types:
- Single-Fold Deployant Clasp
- Double-Fold Deployant Clasp or Dual Deployant Clasp
- Tri-Fold Deployant Clasps
Like the folding clasps, the deployant clasps also come with a single push-button and a double push-button feature. By considering the push- buttons, we can further classify deployant clasps into two types:
- Single Push-Button Deployant Clasp
- Double Push-Button Deployant Clasp
The deployant clasp is usually sold separately. Only a few watches include a deployant clasp as part of the watch. Most people prefer to use a deployant clasp over a pin buckle for two main reasons: First, the deployant clasp looks more elegant. The second and more important reason is that a deployant clasp is easier to open and close and it also extends the life of the strap because the opening and closing process with a pin buckle tends to damage and scratch the strap over time.
3. The Butterfly Clasps
The butterfly clasp uses the same mechanism as the deployant clasp, but it is made of two equal-length small pieces of metal connected by hinges to a large middle piece of metal. The two small pieces of metal are folded over the large middle piece when the clasp is closed. When you wear the bracelet on your wrist, all the metal pieces are completely hidden inside.
It is called the butterfly deployant because it’s closing and opening processes are similar to those of butterflies. The butterfly clasp is used with both metal bracelets and non-metal straps. When used with straps, it has a metal pin buckle on one end so that it can be inserted into the holes on the strap’s larger side and adjusted to fit the size of the wrist. Like other clasps, these clasps also come with a push-button locking mechanism.
4. The Jewelry clasps
The jewelry clasp is the simplest type of watch clasp. It is made up of two small pieces of metal that are connected by a hinge. The jewelry clasp is only attached to one side of the bracelet. When you want to wear the bracelet, you have to close the clasp by inserting the metal piece through the hole on the other side of the bracelet and lightly pressing it down.
It is specially designed for women’s watches because it is not bulky on the wrist and has a smaller opening than other watch clasp types.
The one downside of the jewelry clasp is that it can’t be adjusted for the perfect fit. You have to resize the bracelet by removing its links to fit your wrist.
5. The Tang Buckles (Pin Buckles)
The tang buckles or pin buckles are the most common type of watch clasp that we all have been using. This is because they are inexpensive and simple to use. They consist of a frame, a pin, and a bar. The frame usually has a rectangular or oval shape. The pin (also referred to as the buckle tongue) is placed in the middle of the frame and the bar connects the frame and the pin. The pin is then put into the holes on the larger side of the strap to close the buckle.