The Ubiquitous Watch Fob

Here’s another highly collectible item with an interesting history I’ve been able to find out surprisingly little about – the Watch Fob.

The Pocket Watch (a watch carried in one’s pocket) was the most common kind of watch (worn by men, obviously) from the time it was developed in the 16th Century, presumably in Great Britain, until wristwatches took over in popularity soon after World War I. (Wristwatches were thought to be “unmanly” before that point.) Pocket watches usually had chains running from the watch itself and allowing for attachment to a belt loop, waistcoat or lapel, to make for easy viewing while cutting down on the likelihood of their being dropped. These chains (which will be the subject of a separate blog post) were often decorated with a silver, gold or enamel pendant, some of which displayed the arms of some club or society, which pendants have come to be referred to as fobs.

The fob shown above has is “hallmarked” (a “hallmark”is an official mark or series of marks stamped into items made of precious metals) – also a subject for a future post; the one below has some very faded and unreadable script initials on the front on a raised goldish-tone shield-shaped area and hallmarks on the back:

Some are quite intricately carved, and clearly have plenty of space for engraving:

Some are two-toned and/or apparently served as some kind of medal or award (this one says “RUNNERS UP S.&D.L. 1905-6”:

Some look good paired with a partner:

– these are reverse images of the same pairing – the fob with writing on it says “Lewisham South Rifle Volunteers” on the back and “L.S.R.V. Recruits 2nd Year won by Pte Harris 1893” on the front.

I am also lucky enough to own one necklace and one bracelet with multiple fobs nicely spaced:

– you probably can’t see too well from the above right picture but the bracelet has one fob with a stork carrying a baby in a sling on a copper colored raised shield; another has patches of blue and red enamel with unidentifiable figures on them, and two others show male figures apparently playing sports.

Fobs such as these have gotten harder to find and more expensive, so if you happen to have any, hang on to them! I treasure them as little bits of history and would so love to know more about each of their provenance (origin/source/history).

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this; if so, please sign up to receive further posts via email above!

Wishing you a wonderful summer and lots of sun – Nicole


3 Responses to “The Ubiquitous Watch Fob”

  1. 1 annamcdonnell
    July 7, 2010 at 7:51 am

    I had no idea they were so gorgeous!

  2. 2 Val
    July 8, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Absolutely FABULOUS pieces!!!

  3. July 11, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    They would be an interesting ornament on the zipper of a purse or a jacket too. They have so much character.

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