Popular during the Victorian Era, watch fobs were medallions or ornaments attached to a pocket watch by a strap, chain, or ribbon to help the wearer locate and retrieve their timepiece. Similar to key chains, watch fobs came in a variety of types, each with its own style and function. Fobs could be decorative, informative, and functional, all at the same time. Created largely for men, today they are considered "mantiques."

While many fobs were purely decorative, the rest were divided into three major categories: simple (the watch-owner's initials, state seals), fraternal (unions and organizations, including the military), and advertising (personal-sized billboard proclaiming everything from one's political allegiances to their local bank).

In the advertising category, patriotic and political fobs featured such nationalistic emblems as Miss Liberty, a shamrock, or national crests and flags, as well as campaign slogans and images. General advertising fobs touted such products as clothing (the Adamant Suit Co.) and food (Heinz Ketchup, Coca-Cola).

Some collectors focus their collections on fobs that advertised industrial products, from tractors to oil-field equipment and materials. Others seek out local fobs produced in relatively limited numbers for such events and organizations as the State Fair of Texas, the Glen Lumber Co. of Kansas City, and the Wichita Commercial Club.

While fobs were made from a variety of materials, brass or nickel-plated brass fobs are most common. Collectors should know that most advertising fobs stamped “sterling silver” are not authentic period pieces, although there are exceptions. Celluloid fobs are also rare. More common are brass and nickel-plated fobs. Rarer are ones that incorporate compasses and celluloid buttons, and old ones that use colorful enamelwork into their designs.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Barry S. Goldbergs Pocket Watch Collection

Barry S. Goldbergs Pocket Watch Collection

Barry Goldberg’s excellent collection of pocket watches, mostly American models from the late 1800s and early 189… [read review or visit site]

American Watch Company Web

American Watch Company Web

Tom McIntyre’s reference site on antique watches, especially those made by the American Watch Company (later know… [read review or visit site]

National Watch and Clock Museum

National Watch and Clock Museum

This virtual museum, created by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, lets you stroll through tim… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Solid Gold Sovereign Case England Fob Style Dennison Watch Case Co Birm 1912 16gAntique English Hallmarked Solid Silver Albert Pocket Watch Chain Coin/fob C1900Beautiful Ornamental Victorian Sterling Silver Albert Watch Fob Chain C1800sAntique Sterling Silver & Gold Swiss Bear Shape Watch Fob Seal Or Pendant C 1890Edwardian Working Compass Fob Engineers Watts Steam Engine Governor Watch ChainSuperb English Antique 1912 Solid Silver Double Albert Watch Chain & Seal FobEnamel & Silver Ladies Fob Watch & Bow Brooch In Box & Working Jewellery PocketAntique Swiss Sterling Silver Love Heart Face Ladies Fob Or Pocket Watch C. 1895Very Nice Heavy Antique Sterling Silver Watch Albert Chain & Silver Fob 1915Antique Goldfilled Watch Chain Bracelet W/fob & T Bar - Decorative LinksAmazing Antique Swiss P.w.c Single Motion Automaton Pocket Watch&fob.no ReserveAntique Victorian Watch Fob Lot Fire Opal Dragon's Breath Pearl Gold Filled 165Vintage Chopard Solid 18k Gold 20j Pendant Fob Watch L.u.c Swiss 750Antique Sterling Silver Albertina Watch Chain, T Bar & Tassel Fob Dated 1896Solid Silver Double Albert Pocket Watch Chain Sterling Silver Fob Not Scrap 45gLovely Edwardian B1907 Solid Silver Fetter Link Double Albert Watch Chain & FobAntique 14k Solid Yellow Gold 5.7gram Pocket Watch Fob Chain Necklace 072Rare Antique Risque Lady Bronze Pocket Watch Chain Pen Knife Fob Hunting KnivesVintage Swiss Pocket Watch & R G Double Albert Chain & Swivel FobLarge Antique Waltham American Pocket Fob Watch In Working OrderSuperb Antique Victorian Gold Fill/double Side Agate Pendant Hidden Locket 1915 Antique English Hallmarked Solid Silver Albert Watch Chain Coin/fob Antique Swiss .935 Sterling Silver Key Wind Ladies Fob Or Pocket Watch Circ 1895Ww1 Military Pocket Fob Watch William Ehrhardt - Working OrderSolid Sterling Silver Double Pocket Watch Albert Chain,fob, 2 Clips & T Bar.1923Vintage 1930's Harley-davidson Milwaukee Usa Watch FobSpectacular Victorian 14k Solid Gold Bloodstone/cameo Locket/fob No Scrap 11gAntique C 1850 Victorian 14k Gold Weave Design Intaglio Wax Seal Agate Watch FobStunning Heavy Antique 1929 Solid Silver Double Albert Watch Chain & Spinner FobVintage Antique Mother Of Pearl Horse Head Watch FobEdwardian Pocket Watch Chain Fob Gilt Metal Cased Compass Ornate Sovereign Case Sterling Silver - Antique Curb Pocket Watch 18.4g - Fob Chain Bg0652Large Ww1 Period American Elgin Fob Pocket Watch " John Yeadon 1915 "1909 Antique English Hallmarked Solid Silver Albert Watch Chain Coin/fob Elgin Gold Plated Hunter & Longines Pocket Fob Watch For Spares Or Repairs Victorian Gold Filled Carved Mother Of Pearl Horseshoe Watch Fob PendantWatch Fob 1915 San Francisco Exposition Panama Pacific InternationalGold Plated Open Face Pocket Watch With Fobs & ChainUnique Antique Vintage Gold Filled Spinning Cameo Fob Watch Chain W/slideAntique Silver Pocket Watch & Pocket Watch Chain & Shield Fob Working Circa 1883Vintage Edwardian 1950's Silver Letter Shape Stamp Holder Watch Chain FobAntique Silver & Gold Pocket Watch Ladies Fob Watch On Chatelaine Circa 1890Superb Antique Victorian C1885 Solid Silver Albertina Watch Chain & Tassle FobHm1870 Solid Sterling Silver Fob Pocket Watch Case By Henry Buckland Double CasePretty Antique Solid Silver Fob / Pocket Watch WorkingHarley Davidson Watch Timepiece By Bulova 76a12 & Key Fob With Box & ManualFancy Dial Engraved Silver Open Faced Cased Fob Pocket Watch Ref Max342Antique Victorian Gold Filled Watch Fob W/ Etruscan Revival Charms UnusualAntique Vintage 14k Yellow Gold Jewelry Watch Fob Necklace W. Purple StonesAntique Victorian 14k Gold Gf Agate & Carnelian Double Sided Watch Fob LocketAntique Victorian Rolled Gold Fancy Pocket Watch Chain Amethyst Glass Fob C1880sLarge 2.4" Diameter American Plymouth Watch Co Pocket Fob Watch Illinois Case CoMint Gold Filled Wax Seal Pocket Watch Fob W/stone Insert No Scrap 15.89g Estate Find ..stunning Victorian Gold Filled Watch Fob Heart Locket Ornate!Lot Antique Vintage Pocket Watch Chains Fobs Coin Silver 800 Rose Gold PlatedStunning Sterling Silver Ships Wheel With Compass / Pocket Watch Fob - Ref 9991885 Hm Sterling Silver Pocket Fob Watch A.w.w. Co Waltham MassWatch Fob Figural Saddle Otto F. Ernst Maker Sheridan, Wyo WyomingSterling Silver .925 Rumely Watch FobLarge A.w.co American Watch Co. Waltham Fob Pocket Watch Dueber Silver Fine Case