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Vintage Watch Straps

Straps for vintage fixed wire lug trench or officer's wristwatches.

Leather and Sterling Silver Albert or Fob

Copyright © David Boettcher 2006 - 2018 all rights reserved.

In response to a customer request I designed the custom "Bow Saver" leather and sterling and silver Albert or fob shown on this page. The idea behind this design is to make a strap that doesn't cause wear to the bow, the ring on the end of the pendant of a pocket watch. The standard length is shorter than an Albert chain worn with a waistcoat so that it is the right length for a watch carried in a jacket breast pocket, but you can have it made whatever length you want.

Wooster with a leather Albert
Bertie Wooster with a leather Albert: click to enlarge

Leather Alberts or fobs like this have been worn since the nineteenth or early twentieth century when suits began to be worn without a waistcoat. They were worn with the watch in the top breast pocket of a jacket with the T-bar through the button hole in the lapel.

The image here shows Stephen Fry as Jeeves and Hugh Laurie as Bertie Wooster in "Jeeves and Wooster", a British TV comedy. Jeeves, on the left, is wearing his pocket watch in his waistcoat pocket in the traditional style, an Albert chain is visible attached to one of the waistcoat button holes. Bertie Wooster on the right of the picture is also wearing a waistcoat, but he has his pocket watch in the breast pocket of his jacket with a leather strap, a fob or Albert, secured to the button hole in the lapel of the jacket.

Traditional Alberts are metal chains with a T-bar at one end that fits into a waistcoat button hole and a swivel clip at the other end that clips onto the bow of a pocket watch. The Albert was named after Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1819-1861), husband of Britain's Queen Victoria, who in portraits was shown with a conspicuous gold watch chain. The end of the chain was fitted with a metal swivel clip to attach it to the bow of the pocket watch.

Although an Albert makes it easier to haul a watch out of a pocket, the principal purpose is to prevent the watch from falling to the ground if the owner fumbles when winding it or setting the time, or even when simply checking the time. A pocket watch is a heavy and delicate object which would be damaged if not destroyed by a fall onto a hard surface.

"Bow Saver" Design

A leather and sterling silver Albert
A Leather and Sterling Silver "Bow Saver" Albert with T-bar and Swivel Clip: click to enlarge
Leather and sterling silver Albert design sketch
"Bow Saver" Albert Fob Design Sketch

The problem with a traditional Albert is that it attaches to the watch bow with a metal swivel clip, which over time causes wear to the bow. If the watch has a gold or silver case, then this wear to the bow can be quite rapid because gold and silver are soft metals. Most old pocket watches have had their bows replaced at least once because of this.

My customer's idea was to have a strap where only leather was in contact with the bow of his watch and would not cause any wear.

After a bit of thought I came up with the "Bow Saver" design shown in the sketch and photograph. The leather strap passes through the bow and is secured with one of my hand made Type GW sterling silver buckles. This means that only leather is in contact with the bow, which will not cause wear. The D ring with the T-bar and additional swivel clip are also sterling silver.

The sterling silver items are marked with my sponsor's mark and assayed and hallmarked with traditional British hallmarks by the London Assay Office at Goldsmiths' Hall, where gold and silver have been assayed and hallmarked since 1478.

Additional Swivel Clip

I can supply these Alberts with a swivel clip in addition to the T bar. The purpose of this is to let you put the watch in a trouser pocket, or the watch pocket of your "five pocket" jeans, and secure the fob to a belt loop on your trousers. Fitting both a T bar and swivel clip gives greater flexibility on how the Albert can be worn, and is also an interesting talking point. The additional bulk of the swivel clip can make it a little more difficult to thread the T-bar though a small button hole.

A leather and sterling silver Albert
Leather and Sterling Silver Albert Fob: click to enlarge

The swivel clips are sterling silver stamped 925 but because of their size and construction they are not hallmarked. The swivel clip is a little too small to go around a belt loop itself, so a split ring (key ring) is attached to a belt loop for the swivel clip to fasten to. I include a base metal split ring in the price, I can supply a split ring in sterling silver at extra cost.

The pictures here show how one of these versatile T-bar plus swivel clip can be worn, either in a jacket breast pocket or the watch pocket of jeans. The jacket pocket is quite deep and in this instance I would have a slightly longer fob so that the weight of the watch is taken by the pocket rather than hanging from the T-bar as shown. This depends on your jacket and watch, so if you want to check, get the measuring tape out. I am sure there are other possibilities.

A leather and sterling silver Albert
Leather and Sterling SilverBow Saver Albert with Additional Swivel Clip: click to enlarge

"Classic" Design

If you want a classic Albert, that is one with a T-bar at the top end and a swivel clip to attach the watch at the bottom, I can also supply these to order. Please select the "Classic Design" option from the drop down list, either with T-bar and swivel clip, or with T-bar and two swivel clips, one top one bottom.

Details: Length etc.

The standard length of the leather part when fitted to the watch in the picture measures 200mm or eight inches. The T-bar and D ring adds about half an inch to the overall length. The strap is 12mm wide, the T-bar itself is 37mm wide.

These leather and sterling silver Alberts are custom made to order so you can have them in whatever leather colour and length you want. You can use the "Notes" field of the PayPal button to specify a non standard length.

The Albert in the photograph is made from Italian dark chestnut leather. For details of all the available leather colours go to Leather types and colours.

For details of my hand made sterling silver buckles go to Sterling silver and gold buckles.


My leather Alberts with hallmarked sterling silver fittings with T-bar alone cost £60, with T-bar plus swivel clip £70, plus postage and packaging (p&p). Please remember that p&p has to be added to the order as a separate item.

All Alberts are specially made to order, which takes two to three weeks. You can order by choosing the option and colour you want from the drop down lists and then clicking the "Add to Cart" button. Please don't forget to use your browser's "back" button from the PayPal page to come back to this page and add postage and packing to the cart as well.

For details of all the available leather colours go to Leather types and colours.

October Dispatches

There will be no dispatches now until Monday 22 October.

Orders for stock and for special order items can be placed as normal, it is only dispatches that are affected.

Dispatches of stock items and completed special orders will resume on Monday 22 October.

Leather and Sterling Silver
Albert / Fob

Remember that these are all specially made to order, please allow two to three weeks for manufacture.


Postage and packing / shipping and handling

UK Post
First Class

Standard Airmail
within Europe


Please add one lot of p&p to your cart before you checkout. I don't recommend a tracked service for reasons explained here.

If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact me via my Contact Me page. Back to the top of the page.

Copyright © David Boettcher 2006 - 2018 all rights reserved. This page updated June 2018. W3CMVS.