There are many elements to a luxury watch. One of the most important— yet, least discussed— elements is the watch’s closure. While buckles, clasps, and other closures aren’t the necessarily the most exciting feature of luxury watches, they’re quite critical. They, of course, keep your watch affixed to your wrist. Yet, they also play a large role in whether or not you find a particular watch comfortable or practical. To help you understand all your watch closure options, we’ve written this simple guide to luxury watch closures. Read on to learn all about the definitions, pros, and cons of each type of watch closure.
The Tang Buckle
Definition: The tang buckle is also known as the pin buckle or ardillon buckle. This buckle looks like, and works like, a classic belt buckle. With this style of closure, the end of your watch strap is threaded through a metal loop, then held place by a metal pin (also called a tang or ardillon).
Pros and Cons: Tang buckles are the most common type of watch closure, though they’re more commonly found in non-luxury watches, since they’re inexpensive to produce. This type of closure is advantageous because it’s simple and many people find it comfortable. However, it puts more strain on your watch strap, which can cause your strap to wear more quickly over time. Additionally, some people find putting on a tang buckle challenging to do with one hand.
The Deployant Clasp
Definition: Deployant claps (also known as deployment clasps) unfold on a hinge, then click into place. This closure’s name comes from the French word “deployer,” which is a verb that means “to unfold.”
Pros and Cons: Deployant clasps are quite secure and they extend the life of your watch strap, as they put very little strain on the strap. They also make it harder to accidentally drop your watch, since a watch with a deployant clasp never fully comes apart. One downside of a deployant clasp is its bulky size, which some find uncomfortable or unattractive.
A Note on Deployant Clasp Variations: There are variations on the deployant clasp, such as the push button deployant clasp and the security deployant clasp. A push button deployant will release by a button, rather than by sheer force, which some find more convenient and practical. A security deployant clasp features an extra layer of security in the form of a friction-fit fold over catch that folds upon the deployant clasp itself. This provides a higher level of security and, as such, this deployant clasp variation is commonly found on sports watches such as diving watches.
The Butterfly Clasp
Definition: Butterfly clasps hinge out in two directions, then click into place when folded inward. This type of clasp can provide a seamless look on metal watch bracelets.
Pros and Cons: Butterfly clasps are, like deployant clasps, quite secure. Also like deployant clasps, butterfly clasps put minimal strain on your watch’s strap, make it harder to drop your watch, and can come in a push button variation. Many people prefer the seamless look of butterfly clasps over the bulkier look of deployant clasps. However, some find butterfly clasps uncomfortable, since the bulk of this clasp sits inward upon the wrist.
The Jewelry Clasp
Definition: The jewelry clasp features a snap shut closure. This clasp consists of a small hinged piece of metal that clicks into place. The jewelry clasp is not particularly common in modern luxury watches, but it can be commonly found in modern non-luxury brands and is sometimes seen in vintage luxury watch models (most often women’s vintage watches).
Pros and Cons: Jewelry clasps are small, discreet, and simple to use. However, this type of clasp is a friction-fit clasp and is not particularly secure.
The Velcro Closure
Definition: A Velcro closure is held in place with Velcro. This type of closure is generally used only on watch straps made of fabric, like nylon watch straps. Velcro closures are uncommon among high end luxury watch models, yet they are sometimes found in certain military, utility, or sports watches.
Pros and Cons: The primary appeal of a Velcro closure is its simplicity, rugged nature, and utilitarian look. Watch straps with Velcro closures are flexible, extremely easy to put on or take off, fairly durable, and they tend to be comfortable. However, Velcro clasps are less secure than many other types of clasps and they can sometimes wear out over time.