Diver Extension Clasps: Do We Need Them?

a mans torso with two fists facing each other each holding a steel sports watch

Watch enthusiasts love arguing about whether or not we need dive watches. Who actually goes diving and how many humans need more than 100 meters of water resistance—realistically? I could argue both sides of the issue for hours on end, as I am a certified diver myself who likes to have 200 meters of water resistance although I ‘m only certified to dive down to 40 meters. Similarly, I could argue the question of divers extension clasps. Do we need them to go dive? What are they for anyway? Let’s talk about it in this article, not for hours though. 

Diver's Extension Clasp Everest Journal 2022 Source: www.nytimes.com

What Is a Diver’s Extension Clasp?

Most bracelets come with a scissor clasp that folds into itself to make it possible to slide the bracelet on and off the wrist; one or two release buttons to open it, and holes for micro-adjusting the position of the bracelet inside of the clasp. That’s your typical stainless steel bracelet in a nutshell. (There are many variations of course.) Dive watches have what we call a diver’s extension that make it possible to elongate or shorten the bracelet to fit the watch over a wetsuit. There are different ways to go about making a diver’s extension, however they are two main ones.

The first one is called a ratcheting diver’s extension. Pushing two buttons on either side of the clasp disengages the teeth that hold the bracelet inside the clasp by way of a coin-edged rail track. Disengaging the teeth makes it possible to move the bracelet in and out to adjust its length. The second type is a fold-over diver’s extension that is hidden when not in use. As its name might indicate, it consists of two pieces of metal that fold and are tucked inside the clasp when not in useThe latter, however, only makes it possible to extend the bracelet by a preset length. 

Diver's Extension Clasp Everest Journal 2022 Source: www.commons.wikimedia.org

But as we know, everything is a matter of personal opinion. I have found that bracelets that come with a fold-over diver’s extension are easier to use and generally look less bulky. And these types of extensions were designed to add just the right length to fit over any commonly found wetsuits. The ratcheting-type of diver extensions look and feel more rugged and perhaps not as versatile for everyday use. 

Do We Need Them?

Well, it all depends on whether you dive or not and whether you dive with your watch on a bracelet or a strap. Because you can indeed use rubber or Marine Nationale type of straps for diving and many recommend it over a bracelet. Actually, the first professional dive watches came with rubber straps instead of bracelets, and professional divers tend to use anything but a bracelet. One could argue that recreational divers are more likely to use a bracelet to dive as it goes with the experience. 

Diver's Extension Clasp Everest Journal 2022 Source: www.watchtime.com

Personally, I am a bracelet guy and I do appreciate having a diver’s extension when diving. I had a watch that had the fold-over type of diver’s extension and it indeed added just the right length to make the watch fit over the 3mm wetsuit. I found it to be very easy to use and when it’s well executed, this type of diver’s extension is invisible when not in use. So yes, having a diver’s extension on your clasp is useful if you dive and are adamant wearing your watch on a bracelet. 

The caveat with having the ratcheting-type of diver’s extension is that, by design, it makes it impossible to also have micro-adjustment holes. Some people then use the diver’s extension to adjust the bracelet length but personally I don't think this an elegant solution. I don’t like that you see an elongated and narrower piece of metal that looks ok when diving but not for everyday use. Lastly, and as mentioned earlier, one can use a tropic or a Marine Nationale type of strap to secure the watch over the wetsuit. 

Diver's Extension Clasp Everest Journal 2022
Source: www.hodinkee.com

Final Thoughts 

Do we need diver’s extension clasps then? Although all is subjective, I would say that you do need one only if you are a diver and that you like to wear your dive watch on a bracelet. If you dive with a watch on a bracelet that doesn’t come with a diver’s extension claps, wearing the watch will be uncomfortable. This unique use case explains why most brands do not add diver’s extensions to their bracelets. It is recommended—and I recommend it too—to wear the watch on a rubber strap that repels water, can be adjusted to many lengths, and also lightens the whole package. 

What are your thoughts on this matter? Please leave your comments below. 

Featured image: www.chronext.com

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