The main use of the watch chain was to simply ensure the pocket watch was secure. The pocket watch emerged in the 17th Century and the style grew in popularity when Charles II introduced the waistcoat in 1675.
The watch chain arrived prior to the pocket watch. In 16th Century Europe, they were used to secure larger ‘clock-watches’ to the wearers item of clothing. As the name suggest ‘clock-watches’ are at mid-point size between clocks and watches. Often the watch chain was worn round the neck, giving the ‘clock-watch’ a pendant look to it.
Although the watch chain have been in circuit since the 16th Century, the Albert watch chain was introduced much later.
Single Albert Watch Chains
Albert watch chains are named after Prince Albert (1819-1861), who was consort to Queen Victoria (1837-1901). This style of single watch chain has a bar on one end, used to tuck into a button hole of a waistcoat. The other end of the chain has a small swivel clasp that attaches to a pocket watch. The swivel clasp allows the wearer to rotate the watch and keep the chain from twisting. In addition to the chain that links the clasp and the T-bar, there is another, smaller, chain that serves as a decorative drop, whereupon a fob, fraternity, lodge symbols, charm or locket would hang. The smaller drop chain varies in length depending on the Albert chains, and can be connected at different points on the main chain.