Leather and Sterling Silver Albert or FobCopyright © David Boettcher 2006 - 2017 all rights reserved.
In response to a customer request I designed the custom sterling and silver Albert shown on this page. The idea behind this design is to make a leather Albert that doesn't cause wear to the bow, the ring on the end of the pendant of a pocket watch. The 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.
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 is 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.
Leather and sterling silver Albert design sketch
Although an Albert makes it easier to haul a watch out of a pocket, the principal purpose of the Albert 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.
The problem with a traditional metal swivel clip is that it causes wear to the watch 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. My customers idea was to have a leather Albert so that only leather was in contact with the bow of his watch, which would not cause any wear.
Leather Alberts 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. They were fitted with a metal swivel clip that clips onto the bow of the pocket watch.
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.
After a bit of thought I came up with the design shown in the photograph and sketch. The leather strap passes through the bow and is secured with one of my hand made Type GW sterling silver buckles. The T-bar and D ring stitched into the strap are also sterling silver. All of the sterling silver parts 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.
As an alternative to the T bar I can supply these Alberts with a swivel clip at the top end. 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. The swivel clip is too small to go around a belt loop itself, so a split ring or key ring is needed to go around the loop for the swivel clip to fasten to. You can either use a split ring you already have, or I can supply one in sterling silver at extra cost.
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 what overall length you require from the watch bow to the T bar when the Albert is fitted to the watch.
The Albert in the photograph is made from the dark chestnut Italian 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 fully hallmarked sterling silver fittings cost £60 plus postage and packaging (p&p). Please remember that p&p has to be added to the order as a separate item.
If you have a treasured watch, this is a good way to keep it safely attached to you when you are handling or winding it, without damaging the bow, and considerably cheaper than a silver Albert chain.
All Alberts are specially made to order, which takes two to three weeks. You can order one using the "Add to Cart" button below, 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.
Special Orders and Non-Stock Straps
Things are now getting back to normal and I can start to take orders for straps to be made again.
However, I am out of stock of 12mm Type GW sterling silver buckles, which also means that I can't make any leather Albert fobs at the moment. I am currently making some and expect to have them ready by week ending 20 October.
Copyright © David Boettcher 2006 - 2017 all rights reserved. This page updated October 2017. W3CMVS.