One of the most important parts of a wristwatch is the buckle or the clasp. Before the usage of the buckles, the pocket watches reigned the watch market. Also, those the locking mechanisms were not reliable enough to support the weight of a wristwatch.
Louise Cartier, the grandson of the founder of the Cartier brand, invented the deployment clasp in 1910. His invention marked a new era in the watch industry. Only after his invention, people started using wristwatches more than ever.
Carter named the mechanism déployant, which means unfolding in French. So, what is the deployment clasp buckle?
Well, we butchered the original nomenclature (!) as the word, déployant has a foreign origin. As it sounds almost like the English word deployment, we just simply assumed that the clasp is called deployment clasp.
Now, people use both the term deployment and deployant to identify the clasp. If you own a metal watch, it definitely has a deployment clasp.
Even a huge portion of leather watches have deployment clasps these days.
Today, we would look into this clasp mechanism in detail. Plus, I would discuss how to wear a deployment clasp properly.
So, stay with me!
What Is A Deployment Clasp Buckle?
As you know, the word deployant means “to unfold”. So, the basic working principle of this locking mechanism also focuses on unfolding.
The mechanism uses multiple number of metal plates, that fold over each other. After being folded, a form of safety mechanism locks the metals plates together.
It’s the basic concept. Later, many designers and manufacturers have improvised and modified this mechanism.
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That’s why, you can find so many different variants these days. All of them rely on the same principle –
- Multiple metal plates folding over one another
- A locking mechanism to keep the plates in one place
Whenever, we’re talking about deployant or deployment clasp, another name automatically comes to our mind – fold-over clasp.
If you know about the fold-over clasps, you’ll know what I am trying to say. Also, you can read our article on fold-over clasps.
The fold-over clasp also uses the same working principle. Even Wikipedia recognizes these two clasps as the same.
However, the deployment clasp is an umbrella category due to the high number of variations and the fold-over clasp is just another variation of the deployment clasp. Many watch experts have tried to classify the deployment claps into different categories.
Here’s how I would like to classify them –
- Traditional Deployant Clasp (not seen in modern watches)
- Single Deployant/Fold-Over Clasp
- Double Deployant/Butterfly
- Tri-Fold Deployant
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How to Open and Close Deployment Buckle? Step-By-Step to Open and Close Deployment Clasp
As a deployment clasp has multiple parts and different variations, people often get confused about the mechanism and how to wear it.
Some get so confused that, they avoid having a deployment clasp altogether.
Well, I’ll try to bust the myth today. Wearing (opening and closing) a deployment clasps quite easy. Once you understand the basic concept, things will become very easy.
Take a look –
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How to Wear Single Deployant Clasp?
Step 1: Unlock the Safety Mechanism
Most of the modern single deployment clasps have a safety mechanism. It could have a simple latch, pull style safety bar, single side button, or dual side button.
First, you need to unlock the safety mechanism.
Step 2: Expand the Metal Plate and Wear the Watch
Once you unlock the safety mechanism, the metal plates will expand. You wouldn’t need to use any force to do so.
As the metal plates expand, the loop of the watch will be large enough for your wrist to slide through.
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Step 3: Lock the Safety Mechanism
Now, fold the metal flaps on the hinged point. As you fold, a latch should lock the plates automatically with a satisfying click.
Some variants have additional locking system. Try following the instructions on the manual that comes with box.
How to Wear a Tri-Fold Deployant Clasp?
The Tri-Fold Deployant clasp also follows the same mechanism. So, you can wear a Tri-Fold deployant clasp in the same way.
However, in the Tri-Fold Deployant clasps there are two hinged points and an additional locking system.
Don’t panic, as it’s just like the locking mechanism of the single deployant clasp
More: What Is a Fold-Over Clasp Buckle? How Do You Wear a Fold-Over Clasp Buckle?
How to Wear a Double Deployant/Butterfly Clasp?
The double deployant or the butterfly clasp has two sets of metal plates and expands like a butterfly wing. Thus, came the name butterfly.
Also, the clasp hides beneath the strap so the strap feels a like a seamless connection of link bracelet.
Here’s how to open and close it –
Step 1: Place Your Index Finger Between the Clasp and the Strap
To open the butterfly clasp, you need to exert pressure at the right point. To do so, first you need to put your index fingers of both hands between the clasp and the strap. Your fingers will act like lever.
Step 2: Apply Counter Pressure with Your Thumbs
Double Deployant clasps use latches as locking mechanism. As you apply counter pressure at the level of the closing element with your thumbs, the locking mechanism will unlock.
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Step 3: Expand the Metal Flaps
Now, you can unlock the buckle fully and the metal flaps would expand like a butterfly wing. Then, you can slide your wrist through the opening.
Step 4: Close the Clasp
You’ll have to close the arms of the claps one by one. Fold either part of the metal flaps. As you fold, the hook in the flaps should go right into the latching hole. Similarly, fold the other part and lock it using the latch-and-hole.
Having a deployment clasp in a watch is a symbol of luxury and elegance. Most of the top-tier watch manufacturers use different kinds of deployment clasp.
Brands like Rolex or Patek Philippe use even more complex types of deployment clasps.
If you have any questions regarding this clasp mechanism, please let me know in the comment section.