Watch Chains & Fobs

Singing Lemur Jewelry watch chains and watch fobs are often available for sale in my Etsy shop and almost always at the shows that I do.

At most shows, I also sell inexpensive (but very nice) skeletonized fully mechanical pocket watches. Please contact me if you would like to purchase one but can't make it to a show.

For other Singing Lemur gentleman's haberdashery, see Ascot Pins, Tie Tacks, and Cufflinks & Shirt Studs.

Watch Chains

The watch was worn on a chain from the middle of the 19th century onward.

In the style shown to the right, the end with the round clasp fastens around a buttonhole in your vest, while the clip at the other end attaches to the pocket watch. 'T-bar' ends to slip through buttonholes are also available for those who prefer that style.

Assembled from components sourced internationally. The metals used are base metals and are not hypo-allergenic.

My husband wears a pocket watch on a chain in the style shown at the right, with a small cat watch fob (somebody had to eat all those fish).

Watch Fobs

The Singing Lemur's watch fobs are small decorative objects intended to be hung from the vest watch-chain when wearing the watch in that manner.

Assembled from components sourced internationally. Some employ professional grade jeweler's resin (three layers). Some have vintage gears. Locket fobs do open. Lobster clasps in silver, brass, and bronze tones. The metals used are base metals and are not hypo-allergenic.

About Watch Fobs

The history of the "watch fob" is complex. From the 17th century to the middle of the 19th century, men wore their watches in a small pocket generally concealed in the band of their breeches. A relatively short chain was attached to the watch in order to draw it out of this pocket. This chain was not attached to anything, but hung freely outside of the breeches. Often this chain was decorated with small trinkets ("breloques"). This pocket was called a "fob"; the chain itself was not. The origins of this word are unknown.

Beginning in the mid-19th century, men began to wear their watches in a pocket of their waistcoat. A slightly longer chain was attached to the watch, and the other end of this chain was attached to a buttonhole of the waistcoat. The watch itself when so worn was still often called a "fob watch," in deference to its former location in the fob pocket. Inevitably, this vest chain was decorated with small pendant objects of greater or lesser significance (lodge emblems, charms, or simply decorative items). For reasons not entirely clear, these objects attached to the vest chain themselves became known as "fobs."

Confusingly, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries the watch began to be worn in the waistcoat pocket without the vest chain. A short, wide ribbon (of fabric, metal mesh, multiple chains, or leather) was attached to the waistcoat pocket, hanging very visibly on the outside. The hanging end of this ribbon might be plain or might have a sort of an ornamental weight on it. This ribbon was called a "fob chain"; the watch would be attached to it via a short length of ordinary chain. The watch could be removed from the pocket on this short chain, leaving the decorative fob chain attached to the pocket, or the entire assembly could be removed to allow the watch to be consulted at a greater distance from the waist. This "fob chain," of course, could itself be decorated with "fobs."

To learn more, consult the book How the Watch was Worn by Genevieve Cummins (Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: Antique Collectors' Club, 2010).

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