Our pocket watches have always been popular, and given our interest in precision engineering and men’s style, it was perhaps unsurprising that we decided to revive the “Albert”. Albert pocket watch chains were popular in the 19th century; Queen Victoria’s husband was particularly keen on them - hence the name.
Prince Albert (1819–1861),
husband and consort of Queen Victoria
The designation of what constitutes an “Albert” is fairly loose these days. Some use the term to refer to more or less any pocket watch chain, though in general, an “Albert chain” describes a typical pocket watch chain that has a “drop” - a small additional section of chain descending from the T-bar that attaches to a waistcoat (or jacket lapel). This short length of chain terminates in some kind of adornment, normally referred to as a “fob”. Historically, these were sometimes badges of affiliation of some form or other (family, military, club, or university crests), though the most common variety would probably have been purely ornamental.
Albert pocket watch chains
popular in the 19th century
“Double Alberts” have two full-length chains, meeting at the T-bar, from where the drop descends. People are often puzzled by double Alberts: what does the second chain attach to? Traditionally, one chain would attach to the watch, while the second would link to a “sovereign case” (a small case for large value coins), a case for matches, a locket, or a small smoking knife (for hacking at the residual tobacco build-up in your pipe).
Alberts look fantastic. They to add a small note of exuberant detail to an outfit, and somehow seem to communicate its completeness: you really look like you’ve got to grips with how you want to appear to the rest of civilisation when a beautifully tailored ensemble has the terminal punctuation of a small, neat, but eye-catching Albert.
Having that additional “drop” seems to accentuate the elegance of the main drape of the watch chain, as you have an immediate contrast between the gentle curve and the vertical descent. Visually tracking them is a bit like following the last gesticulations of an orchestra conductor: slow swell up before final, satisfying drop.
Dalvey Albert with Mother of Pearl fob.
Rear can be personalised by engraving.
Our Albert fobs spin in their cradles with a fluidity that’s so satisfying as to be almost precariously absorbing for the obsessive fiddler. In fact, were their status as the cherry atop the cake of dapper insufficient to persuade you of their value, consider the scope for Alberts to be pressed into service as ersatz aids to meditation, boredom-mitigation, or even smoking cessation.
All the best