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Watch Fobs

Watch fobs, which in their most basic form consist of a small chain that attaches to the watch to make it easier to grasp, came into popularity around the 18th century. At the time, pocket watch wearers became frustrated with the only prior option: a pocket. Men’s waistcoats were designed with a special exterior pocket for a watch, but many wanted their timepiece to be more secure.

Soon after, fine metal chains in gold and silver began appearing, artfully attaching the pocket watch to a button lapel. As an added adornment, some paid for extensions, featuring anything from hallmarked silver seals to dazzling dangles that swung from the fob’s lapel attachment.

The fob was thus transformed into an artful statement of elegance that was otherwise utilitarian in nature, saving an entire generation’s pocket watches from precarious falls while adding a bit of luxury to their outfits.


Quick Facts

  • Some women during the Victorian era created fobs that held a lock of their hair, serving as a memento for their husbands to wear daily
  • The use of fob to describe a pocket watch accompaniment began in the 17th century, and its name was most likely derived from the old German colloquial “fuppe,” which referred to a pocket
  • Watch fobs could also be a means of commemorating historic events. In early 2015, a rare “Last Spike” gold fob was auctioned off, one of only a handful that were made to memorialize the completion of the transcontinental railroad in the late 1860s

Recommended Items at Auction

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10K Gold Pocket Watch Chain Fob
Dec 03, 10:00 AM MST
10K Gold Pocket Watch Chain Fob
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$756 Bids
An antique 9ct gold St Christopher fob seal with an intaglio, possibly Roman
Dec 01, 10:00 AM GMT
An antique 9ct gold St Christopher fob seal with an intaglio, possibly Roman
by Martel Maides
Est: £200- £250
£1801 Bid
Gold Filled GAR Watch Fob
Jan 21, 1:00 PM EST
Gold Filled GAR Watch Fob
by Homestead Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
9ct gold fob onyx on 9ct gold chain, approx 8 grams
Dec 03, 11:00 AM AEDT
9ct gold fob onyx on 9ct gold chain, approx 8 grams
by Vickers & Hoad
Est: AUD300- AUD400
AUD2401 Bid
An antique Albertina fob chain in two tone rose and yellow gold, 19th century, 12.5cm long, 14.2 grams
Dec 03, 10:00 AM AEDT
An antique Albertina fob chain in two tone rose and yellow gold, 19th century, 12.5cm long, 14.2 grams
by Leski Auctions Pty Ltd
Est: AUD600- AUD1,000
AUD5001 Bid
An antique Albertina fob chain in two tone 15ct rose and green gold, 19th century, 12.5cm long, 12.2 grams
Dec 03, 10:00 AM AEDT
An antique Albertina fob chain in two tone 15ct rose and green gold, 19th century, 12.5cm long, 12.2 grams
by Leski Auctions Pty Ltd
Est: AUD600- AUD1,000
AUD5001 Bid
An 18ct yellow gold and citrine pendant necklace the 18ct pendant of fob seal form,
Dec 01, 10:00 AM GMT
An 18ct yellow gold and citrine pendant necklace the 18ct pendant of fob seal form,
by Martel Maides
Est: £350- £400
£3000 Bids
Group of vintage watch fobs and Western badge
Dec 06, 11:30 PM EST
Group of vintage watch fobs and Western badge
by Baker's Antiques and Auctions
Est: $65- $75
$300 Bids
Native American Motif Antique Watch Fob
Dec 08, 9:00 AM PST
Native American Motif Antique Watch Fob
by Grant Zahajko Auctions, LLC
Est: $100- $150
$500 Bids
A 14ct gold fancy link chain with antique goldstone fob, 19th/20th century, the chain 42cm long, 13.5 grams
Dec 03, 10:00 AM AEDT
A 14ct gold fancy link chain with antique goldstone fob, 19th/20th century, the chain 42cm long, 13.5 grams
by Leski Auctions Pty Ltd
Est: AUD800- AUD1,200
AUD7500 Bids
Antique 14k gold watch fob chain.
Dec 17, 10:30 AM PST
Antique 14k gold watch fob chain.
by Turner Auctions + Appraisals
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
LOVE TOKEN FOB NECKLACE SILVER US COINS 1875 1878
Dec 04, 10:00 AM EST
LOVE TOKEN FOB NECKLACE SILVER US COINS 1875 1878
by Imperial Auction
Est: $100- $200
$100 Bids
Studentischer Zipfelbund der Akademischen Vereinigung (AV) Steinacher, St. Gallen, Schweiz
Dec 04, 10:00 AM CET
Studentischer Zipfelbund der Akademischen Vereinigung (AV) Steinacher, St. Gallen, Schweiz
by Auktionshaus Rotherbaum OHG
Est: €0- €0
€500 Bids
Fine victorian rare 14K heavy gold mounted watch fob with intaglio carved fine quality colorless
Dec 04, 10:00 AM EST
Fine victorian rare 14K heavy gold mounted watch fob with intaglio carved fine quality colorless
by Tremont Auctions
Est: $800- $1,200
$4000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Watch Fobs


Leski Auctions Pty Ltd

Leski Auctions Pty Ltd

Greenwich Auction

Greenwich Auction

Elmwood's

Elmwood's

Bonhams

Bonhams