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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 - 2017 all rights reserved.

New Ideas

Now that I have found a source of sterling silver swivel clips of satisfactory quality I am going to offer both my new "Bow Saver" design of leather Albert fob, and also the "Classic" model with swivel clip at the lower end. Both of these will be available in "standard" design with a T bar at the top end or with a swivel clip at the T bar end for additional versatility. At the moment the buttons only allow you to order the Bow Saver design, if you want a classic, please get in touch.

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.

A leather and sterling silver Albert
A Leather and Sterling Silver Albert: click to enlarge
Leather and sterling silver Albert design sketch
Leather and sterling silver Albert 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 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. The T bar and D ring 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
A Leather and Sterling Silver Albert: 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 I would probably 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. I am sure there are more possibilities as well.

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

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.

Prices

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 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.

New Ideas

Now that I have found a source of sterling silver swivel clips of satisfactory quality I am going to offer both my new "Bow Saver" design of leather Albert fob, and also the "Classic" model with swivel clip at the lower end. Both of these will be available in "standard" design with a T bar at the top end or with a swivel clip at the T bar end for additional versatility. At the moment the buttons only allow you to order the Bow Saver design, if you want a classic, please get in touch.

Holiday Season and Posting Dates

Orders for straps from stock received up to and including 14 December will be posted on 15 December. Orders for straps from stock received after 14 December will be posted on 2 January 2018

Orders for straps to be specially made can be placed after 4 December, they will be dispatched on or after 2 January 2018.

Remember that the post takes a lot longer than usual in December!

Leather and Sterling Silver
Albert / Fob

Configuration
Colour
Notes

Postage and packing / shipping and handling

UK Post
First Class

£1.50
Standard Airmail
within Europe

£2.95

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 - 2017 all rights reserved. This page updated November 2017. W3CMVS.