Title:
BRACELET CLASP COMPRISING A SLIDING CATCH
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bracelet clasp having two closing elements (18,20) arranged on the two ends of a bracelet to be joined thereby and provided with means (28, 40, 42) for the coupling thereof. A band (24, 60) is used to connect the elements and is mounted in such a way that it can be displaced in relation to both elements. Devices are provided for defining the course of band displacement in relation to the open position of the closing elements, and for associating one end of the band with one of the closing elements. The clasp also has a device for defining the course of band displacement in relation to the closed position of the closing elements, this device being arranged on a central portion of the band in relation to its length between the closing elements in their open position.



Inventors:
Stampfli, Roland (Cressier, CH)
Meier, Willy (Fontaines, CH)
Application Number:
11/718044
Publication Date:
05/28/2009
Filing Date:
10/28/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A44C5/18
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20090272146Jewelry Fragrance DispenserNovember, 2009Kazazian
20080271482JEWELRY COUPLING AND JEWELRY ARTICLE AND METHOD OF MAKINGNovember, 2008Neuman
20090090132JEWELRY APPARATUSApril, 2009Dholakiya
20050016211Kit apparatus and method for decorating a bodyJanuary, 2005Scozzafava
20030221452Jewel bearing a gemstoneDecember, 2003Morbidoni
20070062217Instep braceletMarch, 2007Graham
20090084135Slide for omega necklaceApril, 2009Sunkard
20050076673Food symbol adorned necklace with recipe attachedApril, 2005Oliver et al.
20100005835Pearl containing cremated remainsJanuary, 2010Johnson Sr. et al.



Primary Examiner:
LAVINDER, JACK W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NEXSEN PRUET, LLC (Columbia Office) (COLUMBIA, SC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. (canceled)

2. (canceled)

3. (canceled)

4. (canceled)

5. (canceled)

6. (canceled)

7. (canceled)

8. (canceled)

9. (canceled)

10. (canceled)

11. A bracelet clasp comprising: two closing elements respectively designed to be placed at two respective bracelet ends that are to be joined, and furnished with means for the elements to be coupled; a band connecting the elements and arranged for movement in relation to each of them; a first member associating one end of the band with one of the closing elements and a second member associating another end of the band with the other closing element for limiting travel of the band in an open position of the closing elements; and, a third member for limiting travel of the band in a closed position of the closing elements, said third member being on a central portion the band in relation to a length thereof between the closing elements in their open position.

12. The clasp of claim 11, wherein said band is mounted so as to slide in each of the two elements, said elements being arranged to receive the band for sliding movement.

13. The clasp of claim 12, wherein said band is made in two portions formed so as to nest telescopically in one another, each portion being fixedly attached to one of the closing elements but capable of sliding in the other.

14. The clasp of claim 11, wherein said band is furnished with a first guide and said elements each comprise a skid interacting with said first guide to allow the relative movement of said elements and of said band.

15. The clasp of claim 11, wherein said band is furnished with a first guide, wherein said clasp comprises first and second slide-blocks movable in said first guide on either side of said third member for limiting the travel of the band in the closed position, said first and second slide-blocks each forming a second guide, and wherein said elements each comprise a skid interacting respectively with the second guide of the first and second slide-blocks to allow the relative movement of said elements and of said band.

16. The clasp of claim 15, wherein the travel of said first and second slide-blocks is limited, in the closed position, by said third member for limiting the travel of the band in the closed position.

17. The clasp of claim 15, wherein said first and second slide-blocks are in the form of a frame and their travel is limited, in the open position, by a travel limitation member placed on said band inside said frame and within the travel of said slide-blocks.

18. The clasp of claim 16, wherein said first and second slide-blocks are in the form of a frame and their travel is limited, in the open position, by a travel limitation member placed on said band inside said frame and within the travel of said slide-blocks.

19. The clasp of claim 14, wherein said closing elements are furnished with a housing placed and dimensioned so that said third member for limiting the travel of the band in the closed position may abut and partially lodge in said housing.

20. The clasp of claim 15, wherein said closing elements are furnished with a housing placed and dimensioned so that said third member for limiting the travel of the band in the closed position may abut and partially lodge in said housing.

21. The clasp of claim 16, wherein said closing elements are furnished with a housing placed and dimensioned so that said third member for limiting the travel of the band in the closed position may abut and partially lodge in said housing.

22. The clasp of claim 17, wherein said closing elements are furnished with a housing placed and dimensioned so that said third member for limiting the travel of the band in the closed position may abut and partially lodge in said housing.

23. The clasp of claim 18, wherein said closing elements are furnished with a housing placed and dimensioned so that said third member for limiting the travel of the band in the closed position may abut and partially lodge in said housing.

24. The clasp of claim 17, wherein said closing elements are furnished, at their skid, with a member placed inside said frame and within the travel of said slide-blocks for limiting the travel of the band in the closed position.

25. The clasp of claim 18, wherein said closing elements are furnished, at their skid, with a member placed inside said frame and within the travel of said slide-blocks for limiting the travel of the band in the closed position.

26. The clasp of claim 19, wherein said closing elements are furnished, at their skid, with a member placed inside said frame and within the travel of said slide-blocks for limiting the travel of the band in the closed position.

27. The clasp of claim 20, wherein said closing elements are furnished, at their skid, with a member placed inside said frame and within the travel of said slide-blocks for limiting the travel of the band in the closed position.

28. A bracelet that is flexible or has articulated links furnished with a clasp as claimed in claim 13.

29. A bracelet that is flexible or has articulated links furnished with a clasp as claimed in claim 14.

30. A bracelet that is flexible or has articulated links furnished with a clasp as claimed in claim 15.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a clasp with a sliding catch designed to be fitted to a bracelet of the closed type that can be used both in watches and in jewelry but also, more generally, as any type of collar designed to be placed about a body, in a removable manner.

BACKGROUND

Bracelets are either of the open type, when their two strands can be completely separated, or of the closed type, when the strands remain fixedly attached and are connected to one another by a clasp making it possible to increase their diameter in order to be able to put the hand through.

Bracelets of this second type, to which the invention applies, most frequently use a catch, called an unfolding catch, that usually comprises a clasp with two bands articulated in butterfly fashion. In the closed position, the bands are kept folded over one another. Actuating the clasp allows them to unfold and therefore enlarge the bracelet.

Certain less frequent embodiments of bracelets of the closed type use a catch, called a sliding catch, as proposed in document GB 680 368. The catch then comprises a flexible band mounted fixedly in one of the two strands by its first end, and slidingly in the other strand by its second end. Such a rather rudimentary structure certainly prevents the complication of an unfolding catch, but it does not guarantee that the two strands will remain joined when a considerable force is applied to the bracelet which may therefore open inadvertently.

Document GB 1 261 027 proposes a bracelet with a sliding catch whose flexible band also slides in only one strand of the bracelet by one of its ends. However, this device does not have the abovementioned disadvantage because this end is furnished with two fingers forming a Y, these fingers preventing the band from coming right out of the strand in which it is lodged.

However, since the band slides in only one strand, it is difficult to envisage that the conditions of sliding inside the band can be appropriate over a great length, because the flexing that the band sustains causes major friction between it and the bracelet. In addition, the bracelet, necessarily being hollow and rigid to allow the band to slide, is not very comfortable for the wearer. Actually, such a device cannot be adapted to flexible bracelets made of leather, rubber or even of metal with articulated links.

The object of the present invention is therefore to propose an enhanced version of a bracelet clasp with a sliding catch, free from the abovementioned disadvantages and adapting to any type of bracelet.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

More precisely, the invention relates to a bracelet clasp with a longitudinal axis Y-Y, comprising:

    • two closing elements respectively designed to be placed at the two ends of the bracelet that are to be joined, and furnished with means for them to be coupled; and
    • a band connecting said elements and mounted so as to be able to move in relation to each of them,
    • members for limiting the travel of the band in the open position, in relation to said closing elements, associating one end of the band with one of the closing elements.

According to the invention, the clasp also comprises a member for limiting the travel of the band in the closed position, in relation to said closing elements, placed on said band, at its central portion in relation to the longitudinal axis, in the travel of said closing elements.

According to a first embodiment of the invention, the clasp is characterized in that the band is mounted so as to slide in each of the two elements, the elements being arranged to receive it.

As a variant, the band is made in two portions formed so as to nest telescopically in one another, each being fixedly attached to one of the closing elements but capable of sliding in the other.

In another embodiment, the band is furnished with a first guide. The closing elements each comprise a skid interacting with this first guide to allow the relative movement of the elements and of the band.

In another particularly advantageous variant, the band is furnished with a first guide, the clasp comprises first and a second slide-blocks moving in this first guide on either side of the member for limiting the travel of the band in the closed position. The first and second slide-blocks each form a second guide. The closing elements each comprise a skid interacting respectively with the second guide of the first and second slide-blocks, to allow the relative movement of the elements and of the band.

The invention also relates to a bracelet that is flexible or has articulated links furnished with a clasp as defined above.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other features will emerge from the following description given with reference to the appended drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a view in perspective of a bracelet fitted with the clasp according to the invention, in the open position;

FIG. 2 is a top view in section along AA of the clasp in the closed position;

FIG. 3a is an enlarged plan view of its operating mechanism, while

FIG. 3b shows it seen from above;

FIGS. 4, 5, and 6 illustrate various embodiments of the clasp;

FIGS. 7 to 10 present various views of a particularly advantageous embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A bracelet having a clasp comprising a sliding catch according to the invention, in the open position, is represented in FIG. 1 showing only that it comprises two strands 10 and 12. It is understood that, for a watch application, it effectively involves two separate strands whose respective ends 14 and 16 are suitable for being connected to a watch case by any method known to those skilled in the art. On the other hand, for a jewelry application, the bracelet may comprise either a single strand, or two strands joined by a central articulation. The bracelet represented has links, but it may be monobloc, particularly made of synthetic material.

The invention relates essentially to the clasp that makes it possible to couple the ends of the bracelet opposite to the ends 14 and 16.

FIGS. 1 and 2 show that the two strands 10 and 12 are attached, by their respective ends, to two elements 18 and 20 that form the actual clasp of the bracelet and have the same outer, generally parallelepipedal shape. The material used can be chosen by the manufacturer from all the materials known in the field, such as titanium, steel, platinum, ceramic or a synthetic material.

Each of the elements 18 and 20 comprises a front portion designed to join the front portion of the other, and a rear portion to which the end of a strand of the bracelet is attached.

The element 18 forms the active half of the clasp. Its front portion 18a has a thin rectangular channel 22 in which a flexible or rigid band 24 can move freely, advantageously made of steel, carbon, kevlar, plastic, gold or platinum and described in detail below. The rear portion 18b forms a housing in which one end of the bracelet may be attached by screws, by a bar or by any other means available to those skilled in the art.

The element 20 forms the passive half of the clasp. Its front portion 20a has a thin channel 26, identical to the channel 22, in which the band 24 can also move freely. The rear portion 20b forms a housing in which the other end of the bracelet may be attached in the same manner as mentioned above.

The band 24 then penetrates, via its ends, the two strands 10 and 12 of the bracelet that must therefore be arranged to receive it and allow it to slide freely.

To allow the coupling of the two elements of the clasp, the active element 18 receives, in its front portion 18a, two pushbuttons 28 aligned face to face along a transverse axis XX perpendicular to the longitudinal axis YY of the bracelet and lodged in openings made in the side faces of the body 18. An O-ring 30 serves to prevent the accumulation of dirt in the element 18.

As also shown in FIG. 3, the pushbuttons 28 each serve to actuate a claw 32 formed of a semi-tubular body 34 capable of moving along the axis XX in a cylindrical housing 36 with an axis parallel to YY. The pushbutton 28 acts on the middle of the outer face of the body 34. This serves as a cradle to a circular leaf spring 38 open on the side opposite to the pushbutton and extends, outside the housing 36, via a hook 40 coming out of the front face of the element 18.

On its side, the passive element 20 of the clasp has, in its front face, two housings 42 shaped and dimensioned to receive the hooks 40 of the active element 18.

In order to make it easier to couple the two halves of the clasp, the element 18 has, on its front face, two guide pins 44 taking position in housings made in the front face of the element 20.

Thus, to couple the two halves of the clasp, it is sufficient to bring them face to face, with the aid of the guide pins 44. The simultaneous actuation of the two pushbuttons 28 then makes it possible to compress the leaf springs 38 against the wall of the housings 36 and thereby to move the claws 32 inward, so as to allow their hooks 40 to penetrate the housings 42. Releasing the pushbuttons 28 causes the springs 38 to return to their rest position while moving the claws 32 outward, so that the hooks 40 fasten to the element 20 in the housings 42. The bracelet is thus closed and locked.

Conversely, to open the bracelet, it is sufficient to again push in the two pushbuttons 28 which, by compressing the springs 38, make it possible to release the hooks 40 from their housings 42. The two halves of the clasp may then be separated.

Reference will now be made to FIG. 4 which represents a first possible embodiment of the clasp according to the invention, the strands of the bracelet not being shown. This figure, like the subsequent figures, will contain the elements already described, assigned the same reference numbers.

The band 24, that is now shown over its full length, is flat and terminates, at its two ends, in a curved portion 46 that butts against the entrance of the channel 22 or 26 respectively of the element 18 or 20, and cannot penetrate it, thereby limiting the travel of the two halves of the clasp (that is to say the opening of the bracelet) and preventing the latter from separating from the band. The latter has, in its middle, a rivet 48 (also visible in FIGS. 1 and 2) which, like the curved end portions 46, cannot penetrate the channels 22 and 26, thereby ensuring the same travel for each half of the clasp.

The curved portions 46 and the rivet 48 are only examples of means for limiting the travel of the two halves of the clasp relative to the band 24. Any other system having the same effect can naturally be used in the context of the invention.

The band 24 shown in the figures previously described is flat, but it could also, as shown in FIG. 5, be shaped lengthwise and widthwise in any manner that would make it more or less rigid and/or more or less light, particularly by means of cutouts 50 and side ribs 52.

Finally, in the clasp of FIG. 6, the band 24 is made in two portions 24a and 24b shaped so as to nest telescopically in one another. In this case, the half-band 24a is fixedly attached to the element 18 but can slide in the element 20 to occupy, at the end of travel, when the bracelet is fully closed, the position shown in dashed lines. Symmetrically, the half-band 24b is fixedly attached to the element 20 but can slide in the element 18 to occupy, at the end of travel, the position shown in dashed lines.

An embodiment shown in FIGS. 7 to 10 uses the principle of a band formed of telescopic elements. This clasp with sliding catch not only has the advantages of the embodiments described above but also makes it possible, in a very advantageous manner, to be adapted to any type of flexible bracelet made of leather, rubber or even metal with articulated links. Specifically, as will be better understood hereinafter, the bracelet does not have to be arranged particularly to receive the flexible band.

Therefore, in a more detailed manner, the band of the clasp according to this particular embodiment has the shape of a central plate 60 whose longitudinal edges, that is to say parallel with the axis Y-Y, form a first guide 62.

In this version also, the device is furnished with members for limiting the travel of the band, making it possible to define either the closed position or the open position of the clasp. A first rivet 64 for limiting the travel of the band in the closed position is placed in the central portion of the plate 62, advantageously in the middle of it with reference to the length of the latter. A second rivet 65, for limiting the travel of the band in the open position, is placed at a first end of the plate. This rivet can be seen in FIGS. 8 to 10.

A first slide-block 66 is formed of a shaped element similar to the band 24 as described above concerning the embodiment of FIG. 5. This slide-block 66 has the shape of a frame whose longitudinal edges 66a are adapted and dimensioned to slide without clearance in the first guide 62.

The height of the first rivet 64 is adjusted so that it interacts with the outer wall of the transverse edge 66b of the frame, situated on the side of the rivet 64. This wall is furnished with a housing 68 of semicircular shape, capable of receiving approximately half of the rivet 64.

The rivet 65 is situated inside the frame 66. In practice, the rivet is clinched after the frame has been correctly positioned. Its height is also adjusted so that it interacts with the inner wall of the transverse edge 66b of the frame 66.

In addition, the longitudinal edges 66a of the frame are dimensioned to form a second guide.

Finally, as above, the clasp comprises a first element 18 and a second element 20 forming the actual clasp. The element 18 has a generally parallelepipedal shape and comprises pushbuttons 28 making it possible to actuate the locking hooks 40. In addition, at its base, the element 18 is furnished with a skid 70, more easily visible in FIGS. 9 and 10, dimensioned and shaped to slide without clearance in the second guide. The skid 70 is furnished, under it, with a pin 72, visible in FIG. 10, dimensioned to interact with the inner wall of the transverse side 66b of the frame, without hampering the sliding of the skid.

The height of the rivet 64 is adjusted so that it interacts also with the element 18 for limiting its travel in the closed position. Therefore, the skid 70 has a housing situated on the side of the rivet 64, in which the latter takes position and abuts, when the clasp is in the closed position.

Since the pins 65 and 72 are both designed to interact with the wall 66b, they are situated in one and the same plane X-Y. However, they are offset from the transverse axis X-X so that they cannot collide during relative movements of the slide-block 66 and the element 18.

Symmetrically relative to the middle of the plate 60 and the rivet 64, the clasp comprises another slide-block 80 similar to that described above and bearing reference number 66. The element 20, having housings 42 to receive the hooks 40 of the element 18, slides in this slide-block 80 thanks to a skid 82 with which it is furnished, similar to the skid 70. The rivet 64 also serves as a travel limiter in the closed position and is capable of taking position in a housing made in the outer wall of the transverse edge 66b of the frame forming the slide-block 80.

The elements placed symmetrically are also furnished with members for limiting the travel of the band, similar to those referred to above.

Thus, in the closed position, the elements 18 and 20 are pressed onto the rivet 64 and are in contact with one another, the hooks 40 interacting with the housings 42. The outer walls of the transverse edges of the slide-blocks 66 and 80 also press on the rivet 64, the pin 72 of the skids 70 and 82 of the elements 18 and 20 pressing on the inner walls of the transverse edges of the slide-blocks 66 and 80.

In the open position, the slide-blocks 66 and 80 are pressed by the inner wall of their transverse edge 66b and 80b onto the pin 65. The elements 18 and 20 are, for their part, pressed by the pin 72 of their skid onto the inner walls of the transverse edges respectively opposite to the edges 66 and 80b.

As illustrated in FIG. 7, the clasp that has just been described may receive a flexible bracelet made of leather or rubber for example. A first strand 10 of the bracelet is attached, by one of its ends, to the element 18 by means of screws 84 or by a bar.

To receive and attach the second strand of the bracelet, the element 20 is furnished with a catch 86 defining a frame and mounted by two screws 88 so as to pivot on the element 20. The catch is dimensioned to allow the bracelet to move flat inside the frame.

This frame is furnished with a stud 89 designed to lodge in one of the holes with which the bracelet is normally furnished, in order to allow, in a completely conventional manner, the adjustment of its length. The catch 86 is arranged so that, once the stud 89 is positioned in the appropriate hole of the bracelet, a pull on this bracelet does not cause the catch to pivot.

FIG. 9 represents the clasp according to this embodiment adapted to a metal bracelet with articulated links, whose ends are mounted directly, in a conventional manner, on the elements 18 and 20. All the telescopic elements of the clasp take position beneath the bracelet, so it is not necessary for the latter to be arranged particularly to receive a sliding portion of the clasp.

In a simplified variant, those skilled in the art will be able to produce a clasp that comprises, for each of the elements 18 and 20, only one sliding element, that is to say that the slide-blocks 66 and 80 may be deleted. In this case, the skids 70 and 82 slide directly in the guide 62 of the plate 60. The latter may terminate, at its ends, in rims forming stops and limiting the travel of the elements 18 and 20 in the open position.

In this way, a bracelet clasp with a sliding catch is proposed that does not suffer from the complexity of clasps with an unfolding catch. The clasp according to the invention is both of simple construction and furnished with a totally invisible catch.

The rivets 64 or 48 serve as travel limiters in the closed position and make it possible to distribute, on one side and the other relative to the elements 18 and 20, the length of the sliding elements. It is therefore possible that these rivets are not exactly in the center of the clasp, although the distribution of the sliding elements is satisfactory in the closed position.