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    

Antique 1918 Full English Hallmark Silver Albert Pocket Watch Chain & Fob MedalSuperb Heavy Antique B1914 Solid Sterling Silver Double Albert Watch Chain & FobAntique 1908 Full English Hallmark Silver Albert Pocket Watch Chain & Fob ChainBeautiful Antique Victorian B1891 Solid Sterling Silver Albert Watch Chain & FobVictorian 9ct Gold Albertina Watch Chain With Tassel Fob C 1880's1926 Solid Silver Double Albert Pocket Watch Chain, T-bar & Fob 65.8gAntique 1901 Full English Hallmark Silver Albert Pocket Watch Chain & Fob Chain101 Antique Full English Hallmark Silver Albert Watch Chain & Fob C1903Victorian 1900 9ct Rose Gold Double Albert Watch Chain & Fob - Superior ExampleAntique Solid Silver Albert Pocket Watch Chain/fobBeautiful Antique Edwardian B1907 Solid Sterling Silver Albert Watch Chain & FobAntique Victorian Gold Gf Amethyst Horseshoe Fob Bird Charm Watch Chain BraceletElgin Pocket Watch 1905 Multi 14k Gold 15 Jewels Double Hunter Case W Fob ChainPat. 1885 Antique Jump Hour Digital Sterling Silver .935 Pocket Watch W/ Fob E42Antique English 9k Gold Pocket Watch Chain With FobAntique Solid Silver Double Albert Watch Chain T-bar & Fob Chester 1926 Antique Victorian 9ct Gold Ornate Watch Key Fob C 1897Rare Antique Vintage Lecoultre Nurse Fob Watch Silver Bow - Working ConditionRare Victorian Silver Gilt Watch Chain Compass Fob In The Form Of A Straw Hat.Antique 1902 English Silver & Rose Gold Albert Pocket Watch Chain Fob Medal1889 Superb Signed English Sterling Silver Pocket Watch, Silver Fob Chain & Key.Vintage Miniature Toy Pistol Cap Gun Watch Fob Does Not Fire ProjectileAntique Full Hmark Sterling Silver Albert Pocket Watch Chain Armorial Fob MedalAntique Silver Albert Pocket Watch Chain - Birmingham 1893 & 1825 Coin Fob - F.wAntique Rose Gold & Solid Silver Mens Pocket Watch Fob Or Ladies Pendant5x Hall Marked Silver Pocket Watch Fobs One Gold Front & Enamel 49g Not ScrapAntique Victorian Pocket Watch Slide Chain With Husband & Wife Picture Fob 14"Handsome Antique 1919 Solid Sterling Silver Double Albert Watch Chain & Coin FobAntique White Metal Plated Albert Pocket Watch Chain With Silver 3d Coin Fob10 Antique Vintage Solid Silver Albert Watch Chain Fob Medals Investment LotVintage Colibri Pocket Watch 17j Incabloc Mvmt Gold Hunter Case W Fob Chain RunsStunning Dial C1900 Solid 935 Silver Pocket / Fob Watch Highly Detailed CaseVictorian Style Sterling Silver Gothic Skull Fob Watch Chain Skeleton Watch KeyAntique Victorian 9ct Gold Spinning Fob For Watch Chain C 1892Antique Standard Oil Polarine Polar Bear Watch Fob Gas Advertising Sign Aultman & Taylor Machinery Co. Tractor Antique Watch Fob Steam Traction EngineA Fine Antique 9ct Solid Rose Gold Pocket Watch Fob Chain NecklaceAntique Victorian Silver Albertina Fob Watch Chain With Tassell T Bar & Dog ClipSuperb Antique J Metherell Dimier Freres C1900 Solid Silver Pocket / Fob WatchSuperb Antique 1929 Solid Sterling Silver Double Albert Watch Chain & Coin FobAntique Double Albert Pocket Watch Chain Rolled Gold T Bar & Dog Clip Fob3 Victorian Antique Gold Fob Watch SealsAntique 1937 Hmark English Sterling Silver Albert Pocket Watch Chain Fob MedalEloi Pernet France Tortoise Lobster Charm Pocket Fob Watch Chain Old Vtg KnifeLot Antique Watch Chains & Watch Fobs Mixed MetalsBeautiful Antique 14k Solid Gold T-bar-swivel For Pocket Watch Chain 3gVintage Silver Ladies Fob Watch 7j Key Wind Open Face Ornate Dial-working.Antique Peerless & Victor Steel Ranges Cook Stove Watch Fob Sackville Nb FiguralAntique 1901 English Silver & Rose Gold Albert Pocket Watch Chain Dble Fob MedalAntique Art Nouveau Gold Filled Ornate Pocket Watch Vest Clip & Wax Seal FobAntique 1908 9ct 9 Carat Rose Gold Albert Pocket Watch Chain Fob Medal CharmAntique Miniature Pocket Watch Fob Gold Tone Pistol Gun Bakelite/plastic HandlesVictorian Gold Filled Charm Watch Fob Chain Wax Seal Ornate Cam Co No Monogram1905 Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition Silver Watch Fob - Portland Oregon Antique 14k Gf Pocket Watch Chain Necklace Amethyst Wax Seal & Opal Fob & LocketHallmarked 9ct Gold " Watch Fob / Medal " 7.5 GmsAwesome Antique Civil War Era Locket Woven Hair Chain Gf Heavy Jeweled Watch FobVictorian Gold Filled Charm Watch Fob Chain Wax Seal Ornate No MonogramAntique French Pocket Watch Chain & Fob Ornate Plated BrassVintage Watch Fob-caterpillar Tractor Co.-san Leandro,ca- Amber Jeweled Strap