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Watch straps
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What is the difference between a butterfly clasp and a folding clasp?

Posted 30 June 2020 by Miriam Reading time approximately 8 minutes

When you buy a watch at, the specifications show which type of clasp is on the watch strap. A detail, but an important detail. Because you may want to replace the strap later or buy and replace a clasp yourself. But what is the difference between a folding clasp and a butterfly clasp? Read on to find out how many different types of clasps there are.

The basis: buckle and folding clasp

The most common closures are the buckle and the folding clasp. Folding clasps are mostly used on metal straps while buckles are mostly used on leather and rubber straps. The buckle on a leather or rubber strap works exactly like the one on your belt. A pin sticks through a hole in the strap. This allows you to easily adjust the watch precisely to your wrist size. Watches with a buckle clasp are therefore ideal as gifts because you don't have to worry about whether or not they fit.

Simple folding clasp
▴ Simple folding clasp
▴ Buckles
Folding clasp with safety
▴ Folding clasp with safety

There are several types of folding clasps. Their names differ and are often used interchangeably. Yet there are important differences. For example in terms of safety and how easy it is to adjust a closure. So let's take a closer look at the various types of folding clasps.


Ordinary folding clasp

The basic version of the folding clasp is usually used for (metal) link bracelets. This closure opens in three linked parts. You open, close and lock a folding clasp simply by loosening or clicking the flap.

To size metal bracelets, links are removed from the strap. We do this for you when you order a watch. In addition, some folding clasps have a few holes and a sliding mechanism on the side to easily adjust the size of the watch strap by a few millimeters yourself. For example when it is warm and you want to wear your band a little looser.

There are also folding closures with an extra safety flap that prevents the closure from opening accidentally. For example, if you get caught on something. This type of clasp is often used on sports or diving watches.


Push-button folding clasp

Push-button folding clasps work in the same way as the regular folding clasp, but are much easier to open with the push buttons on both sides.

Sliding mechanism for adjusting strap
▴ Sliding mechanism for adjusting strap
Folding clasp with push buttons
▴ Folding clasp with push buttons
Butterfly clasp
▴ Butterfly clasp

Butterfly clasp

The butterfly clasp is a 'hidden' folding clasp in a metal bracelet. It makes the bracelet look seamless. This strap closure consists of two metal hinges, which unfold on either side - like a butterfly spreading its wings - hence the name. When you want to put the watch on your wrist, fold the hinges and click them together. Some butterfly closures also have push buttons, making them easier to open.


Deployment folding clasp for leather straps

Now things get a bit more complicated... In English, a folding clasp is usually called a 'deployment clasp'. The term deployment is derived from the French word 'deployante'. In the watch world we almost always use the general term folding clasp. However, the term deployant is used to indicate a certain type of folding clasp. This is a folding clasp especially for leather straps. In English, this type of closure is called a 'deployment buckle'.

In addition to a folding mechanism, this closure contains a flap with a pin inside. The leather strap is put through this cover, with the pin sticking into one of the holes of the strap. After the flip is closed, the clasp is attached to the strap and can be opened and closed like a regular folding clasp with push buttons.

The big advantage of this type of closure is that the leather strap is folded less and stays beautiful for longer. The closure is also safer and the watch wears better on the wrist. You will find this type of closure especially on more expensive watches.

Deployant (deployment) closure
▴ Stick the strap through the clasp with pin
Deployant (deployment) closure
▴ The clasp can be folded
Deployant (deployment) closure
▴ And opened and closed with the push buttons

Milanese or sliding closure

The Milanese or Sliding clasp is also a folding clasp, but especially for braided metal (mesh) bracelets. When released, the clasp can be slid over the strap to adjust the size. This type of strap is not only very stylish, but fits almost everyone.


Hook or jewelery closure

The hook clasp is usually used on special metal straps of ladies' watches. This type of clasp has been developed for jewelery such as bracelets and necklaces and is often referred to as a jewelery clasp. It works very simply: a hinged hook clicks around a metal pin. The hook has a lid, making this type of closure an integral part of the band.

Mesh bracelets
▴ Mesh bracelets
Metal bracelets with jewelry clasp
▴ Metal bracelets with jewelry clasp

More watch straps and clasps 

Now you know what different types of watch strap closures exist, you can make an even better choice for the watch that suits you. Have you found the ideal watch, but would you prefer a different strap or clasp? Then you can count on us. Because in addition to watches and watch straps, we offer a wide range of replacement watch strap closures of different brands and in different colours.