2nd Draft and work in progress!
Why have a chain?A key principle is that a pocket watch should always have some sort of safety device in case it is dropped. I have had three customers in the last three months drop their watches on the floor (whilst winding I think) and two of these watches cost over £550, and in each case they broke the balance staff, one only 2 days after purchase.
I have managed to fix two of them and the third is on its way to me and can probably be fixed. But these users were lucky, they were all watches for which New Old Stock balance staffs are potentially available, for many watches and all English ones this is not normally the case and that makes repair out of my competency and may exceed the value of the watch.
So you need to have a chain (or similar) and use it at all times! However remember it is a safety device, clips and case bows may fail, so hold onto the watch not the chain.
Matching the chain to the watchFor silver this is really a non-issue, whilst putting a supper heavy chain with a tiny watch would look rather odd, essentially any chain will go with any watch, they are all silver and will colour match although a new silver chain will take some time to loose some of its newness.
The colour of gold chains can vary from the cases, particularly initially as the case will have had a fairly vigorous cleaning during restoration and will need some time to recover. One issue that re-occurs is that of rose gold chains, these were popular and are fairly common in solid gold as are other dark golds. But the vast majority of watches are yellow gold so presumably people used to live with the colour miss match.
The watch and chain are only seen together when the watch is out of the pocket, more important is the...
Matching of the chain to clothThis is the big one! The following photographs tend to mask the differences which are more obvious when being worn in natural or bright artificial light. Click on the image for a larger view.
Some of the pattern showing on the cloth (Linen & Silk by Caccioppoli) is a photographic affect that the anti-aliasing function can't quite cope with.
Conversely this light weight chain is in danger of getting lost against this Tweed from Bateman Ogden's Glenhunt bunch.
All of the clothing shown is by Geoff Souster of Souster & Hicks, Woburn and Savile Row.
|An additional button hole|
for the chain.
- Watch key
- Vesta (for matches)
- Cigar cutter – perhaps a novelty one
- Smokers knife
- Pen knife
- Coin holder
A pocket watch can be worn with most waistcoats with pockets but for preference have an additional "button hole" for the Albert. A bespoke tailor might also ease the pocket a little to stop stress marks from forming around the bulge of the watch.
Are a problem, first putting the watch in the same pocket as your car keys or loose change is likely to cause small dinks and scratches on the case and crystal but with care it can be done.
Secondly a normal type chain with a bolt ring to attach to a belt loop or with a leather piece with button hole to go over a button on the inside of the trouser belt will work, but is likely to cause a lot of damage to the edge of the pocket as the chain rubs against it. There are two main alternatives:
- Use a "snake chain" in metal which is very smooth and less likely to cause damage.
- Use a boot lace, simple but effective, tie one end to a belt look and the other to the watch (a bowline for a sailor or a perfection loop for an angler, looped through the bow is fine).
The problem is finding trousers with them, this pair of moleskins were from an internet tailor and of course a bespoke tailor should have no problem providing one. Some factories such as Wensum will include them in their made-to-measure trousers if asked - mine don't cost any more with one than without.
Do however make sure that he understands that this is for a watch and needs to be accessible from the outside, many fob pockets would now be put inside the waistband for a stash of bank notes, credit cards etc. Also make sure it will be big enough for the watch.
Using a normal type chain secured with a bolt ring as in the picture is not a problem as the chain does nor rub against the edge of the pocket. Chains and straps ending with a tab with a button hole in it to go over a braces button is also an option.