The Albert style pocket watch chain (also referred to as a "Single Albert" chain), like the Double Albert, is named after Prince Albert (1819-1861), husband of the UK's Queen Victoria. In addition to the chain that is attached to the watch, the Albert style features an additional section of chain that serves as a "drop" used for attaching another item, such as a charm, fob, or locket. This drop may be connected at different points along the main chain and may vary in length, depending on the individual style of chain. Although available in different lengths, the chains are meant to be worn draped as opposed to pulled taught.
Note: although the watches in the following photos are shown half-out-of-pocket, this is merely to illustrate the attachment of the chain to the watch. Pocket watches should be worn entirely inside the pocket, ideally within a velvet or thin leather pouch for protection.
[click on any of the below photos for an enlarged view]
The spring ring is the most straightforward means of attaching the pocket watch chain to the wearer's garment. It is a more modern form of connection than the t-bar, and was originally attached to a buttonhole (on a vest or shirt) or used to attach the chain to itself after being looped around the wearer's belt. The use of the spring ring to attach directly to a belt loop is an even more recent application.
Some of the larger spring rings feature a "chain guard," which is a protrusion that prevents rotation of the ring in the buttonhole, or functions to keep different attachments separate on the ring.
The t-bar, made to be passed through a buttonhole, is the earliest form of connection between the pocket watch chain and the wearer's vest or shirt; it predated the spring ring and various clips used afterwards.
Fancy or ornate t-bars tend to be worn from the inside-out (to make visible and display the t-bars, as shown below); standard t-bars are usually worn outside-in (so they aren't visible).
The lobster-claw style clip is a very modern form of pocket watch chain connection, as it was introduced well after the t-bar, spring ring, and other belt clips. This style of clip is most often used to attach the chain to a belt loop, as pictured in the first photo.
Belt clips are also used to attach pocket watch chains. The second photo here show a "pressure-fit" clip that was introduced in the middle of the 20th century; this will hang the chain similarly to the lobster claw finding.
Pocket watch chains have also found use among women; during the 1990's, more ladies began to wear Albert (and Double Albert ) style chains as necklaces, using fobs, lockets, and other jewelry items on the "drops" as pendants. The chain is fastened around the wearer's neck by connecting the swivel clasp (normally used to attach a watch or fob) to another section of the chain. In general, chains worn in this manner should be at least 15" long for a short choker style, and 16" or longer for a looser necklace. Watches worn as pendants for this style should be of a small size, and are usually worn as much for decoration as for their use in keeping time.
The first photo below presents a locket on the chain's drop, and a small pocket knife attached to the chain's spring ring. The second photo below shows a locket on the drop, and the t-bar featured as part of the jewelry.
Regardless of the method used to attach the chain to the wearer's vest, shirt, or pants, the bow of the pocket watch is attached to the chain with a small swivel clasp that allows the watch to rotate and keeps the chain from twisting. These swivels are findings that are traditionally used with pocket watches on most vintage pocket watch chains. As opposed to many of the more modern styles, these do not have any small latches to pull back but rather part of the oval "clip" section depresses into the finding, allowing you to slip in your pocket watch bow or fob lanyard. Once released, it has a small internal spring that closes the oval loop back up and prevents whatever is clipped from accidentally coming out without your intervention.
The pocket watch can be worn on either side of the body. Many right-handed wearers have their pocket watch on the left side of the body; this allows for winding with the right hand while holding the watch with the left. However, a right-handed wearer may instead choose to keep the watch on the right for ease-of-use when pulling and returning the watch to a pocket as well.
We are also in the process of collecting photos of pocket watch chain fashion and ideas, which can be easily viewed on the following Pinterest Board. Please let us know if you have any photos to contribute!
Related Products:Vintage Mens Pocket Watches
Pocket Watch Chains
Pocket Watch Chain Fobs
Jewelry & Watch Polishing Cloths
More "How To Wear" watch chain pages...Straight Watch Chains
Double Albert Watch Chains
Ribbon-Style Watch Chains
Other Styles Of Watch Chains
More Ladies' Styles For Watch Chains
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