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History of the Fob Chain

What is a Fob?

A fob is either a chain or ribbon (and the ornamental piece joining it) that is attached to the pocket watch and the word fob dates back as far as 1888.   Items such as key chains and garage door openers are also commonly known as fobs.  


The History of the Fob

The ‘T’ cross at the end of the chain prevented the watch from falling out of a waistcoat pocket and because watches were typically heavier then, the chain was kept relatively short to make it comfortable to wear.  It wasn’t until generations later that the fob was adapted for use as a necklace chain and was made longer.   

In Victorian times, human hair was a popular fob chain!  It wasn’t unusual to see a husband sporting a braided piece of hair from his wife linking his watch to his clothes.  Eventually, metals such as gold, silver and sometimes platinum were introduced, making them an expensive commodity.   Combine this with their vintage charm, fob chains and fob necklaces continue to retain their value.  

In keeping with tradition, most fob chains produced today are made from yellow or rose gold, though silver fob chains can be found too.   In the 1900’s the typical honey-coloured fob was a result of mixing copper with the gold.


Fob Fashion

It wasn’t until World War 1 that watches were worn on the wrist and the pocket watch and its chain started to diminish.  Fob chains then had a major resurgence in the 1980s and were associated with women of style, elegance and high society.  

A classic, instantly recognisable design that has stood the test of time, fob chains and fob necklaces evoke character and polish – like a timeless Chanel suit.  Browse our range of fob chain necklaces and other examples of vintage jewellery from a bygone era.  All authenticated and all cared for, so you know you’re buying a charming historic story, not just a quality piece of jewellery.

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