What is Albert Chain?

Albert chain is a chain used when wearing a pocket watch.

It is named after Prince Albert (1819-1861), the husband of Queen Victoria (reigned 1837-1901) of England.
It seems that it became very popular in England around 1861, the year Prince Albert died.

It developed not only as a practical accessory for attaching a pocket watch to clothing to prevent it from being dropped, but also as a fashionable accessory for British gentlemen.

pocket watch and albert chain
pocket watch and albert chain

There is also a version for women, which is sometimes called "Albertina".


How to attach an Albert chain

The basic way to use an Albert chain is to pass the T-bar part of the chain through the buttonhole of your vest, then put the pocket watch attached to the clip at the end of the chain in your pocket.
There are several ways to wear it, such as a single type with one chain, a double type with two chains, and a way to display a small accessory called a fob.

How to attach an Albert chain
Various ways to attach an Albert chain to a vest

For a classic three-piece suit style, it is standard to wear it as shown in the image above.
Even now, some made-to-order vests have a special hole called a ``chain hole'' for attaching an Albert chain.

How to attach an Albert chain

In addition to these classic ways to wear it, you can also use it in the following ways:

・Use a slightly longer chain to go from the button near the neck to the chest pocket of the suit. ・From the coat button to the coat pocket. ・From the belt loop of the bottoms (trousers) to the bottoms pocket.

Some of the new Albert chains have a pull loop or clip on the T-bar to make them easier to wear with casual wear.
I think you can also use an antique Albert chain by replacing the T-bar part with these parts.

pull ring and clip

Recently, some people are using antique Albert chains not only for pocket watches, but also as wallet chains or necklaces for attaching wallets.

Using Albert Chain for a Necklace

various albert chains

There are two major shapes: a single type with one chain, and a double type with two chains.
The double type seems to have had two pocket watches attached to it, a key for a locked watch on one side, a pill case (medicine case), a Vesta case (match holder), a magic pencil (a small mechanical pencil), etc. .

Types of Albert Chain

Most British antiques are made of sterling silver.
There is a rule for items made from British sterling silver to have a mark called a hallmark on each part, so the T-bar, clip, and all chain links have hallmarks.

engraving of albert chain

There are also gold-filled (gold-filled, gold-plated), solid gold, and inexpensive ones made of nickel alloy.
Some unusual ones include those made with resin and those made with human hair.

Albert chain material

There are various shapes of chain links in addition to the general Kihei type.

Albert chain chain link types

Albert chains often have a short chain called a subchain with a small accessory called a "fob".
You can think of it as a ``netsuke'' for an inro, or a ``strap'' for a mobile phone.
It seems that it was not installed from the beginning, but the owner installed whatever he liked.
There are various types such as emblem-shaped ones like commemorative medals, ones decorated with natural stones such as amber and lapis lazuli, silver charms, sticker-shaped ones for sealing wax, coins, and locket-shaped ones (small photo holders). there is.

albert chain fob


The Albert chain is originally an accessory used when carrying a pocket watch in a classic suit style, but it can also be used in a variety of ways other than for today's casual styles and pocket watches.

Please think of stylish ways to use it in combination with various types of fobs.