Your Guide to Buying a Solid Silver Watch Chain

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Your Guide to Buying a Solid Silver Watch Chain

Many people consider a pocket watch incomplete without a solid silver watch chain.. Whether it's for a waistcoat, lapel or belt loop, a solid silver watch chain keeps the pocket watch safely suspended and easy to grab onto. Practical and stylish, solid silver watch chains developed increasingly decorative elements over time to match the status symbol of the pocket watch, and its wearer. Made with solid silver, also known as sterling silver, a solid silver watch chain has a long-lasting lustre and durability that comes from using a precious metal in its purest usable form. This buying guide provides an overview of different types of solid silver watch chains, their typical components, features to look for, and how to care for a solid silver watch chain.

History of Solid Silver Watch Chains

Early pocket watches came into being in the 1500s, tending to be bulky, inaccurate and requiring a watch-key to wind regularly. However, all the parts were made and shaped by skilled craftsman,thismeant that they werevery expensive, and as such they were only owned by the wealthiest people in Europe. They quickly turned into a status symbol for the upper classes. In the 1850s, pocket watches developed a stem wind mechanism built directly onto the pocket watch, which eliminated the need for a watch-key. Also in the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution facilitated the production of mass-made pocket watches, although they were still expensive even in the early 1900s. In fact, the early decades of the 1900s actually saw the increasing ornamentation and price of the pocket watch. The pocket watch followed the contemporary styles of the time, including Art Deco and advances in materials. In the 1960s, the wristwatch came to the fore in terms of popularity, marking the end of demand for the pocket watch and chain.

Discover Solid Silver Watch Chains

Match an antique silver pocket watch with a well-made solid silver watch chain. Historically, solid silver watch chains were sold separately from the pocket watch itself, and could be worn in a variety of ways. As such, there are plenty of solid silver watch chains to suit particular needs - whether it's for a pocket, lapel or belt loop, a solid silver watch chain is made specifically to do each job well. Solid silver watch chains are highly valued because they're an integral part to the pocket watch, which has stood as a status symbol for the upper classes since its creation in the 1500s. They're practical, as they prevent the pocket watch from falls and breakages, and also ornamental. Solid silver watch chains offer versatile style options and pendants or other small accessories can be added to the chain to customise the wearer's look.

Parts of a Solid Silver Watch

Most solid silver watch chains will consist of the following parts.

Part

Description

Chain

May consist of one of several solid silver chains. Being made of solid silver metal, the chain will eventually tarnish and turn black if not polished on a regular basis.

Swivel

A swivel affixes to the attachment at the end of the chain, allowing the watch to move 360 degrees without twisting the chain. They come in different sizes and are made for solid silver watch chains of all styles.

Fob

Often made with silver or enamel, a fob is a pendant that usually carries the crest of the club or society belonging to the owner. This would attach to a secondary chain on the main solid silver watch chain.

Types of Solid Silver Watch Chains

There are several styles of solid silver watch chain to suit the purpose and dress of the wearer. The most popular groupings of solid silver watch chains are listed here.

Type

Description

Advantages

Considerations

The T-Bar Solid Silver Watch Chain

A popular chain, the T-bar goes through the buttonhole of a man's shirt and fastens to the other end with a swivel.

A popular style with lots of decorative options.

Not suitable for casual occasions, as the user needs to be wearing a shirt with buttonholes.

Fob Watch Chain

The fob watch chain is a popular variety that features 3 or 4 chains connected by pieces at either end. There is a clip to fasten the chain to a waistband at one end, while at the other end a fob, or drop decorative piece, hangs.

A stylish option that's meant to highlight a decorative piece.

The clip that fastens on the waistband may not grasp tightly enough for energetic activites.

Spring-ring solid silver watch chain

Usually longer than T-bar chains, spring-ring watch chains are attached to pocket watches that are literally worn in a trouser pocket. The ring clips onto the belt-loop while the watch goes into the watch-pocket.

Sturdy and made to last, spring-rings are classic and basic in style.

Spring-rings look less elegant and formal than other solid silver watch chain options.

Ladies Chains

Neck chains, slide chains and other styles were available for ladies watches.

Designed specifically for women’s watches. 

Perhaps not as much variety as the men's chains; often more decorated.

Coat Chain

This long solid silver watch chain has a large stud at the upper end, which accents the lapel of a jacket or coat. The other end had a swivel to attach to the watch, which would fit into the handkerchief pocket of the jacket. 

A great accent for coats and jackets, suitable for longer stays outdoors.

Perhaps not the most practical option when intending to use the pocket watch indoors. Buying a coat chain as a secondary chain may be preferred. 

Factors to Consider When Buying a Solid Silver Watch Chain

When buying a solid silver watch chain, it is good to consider the purpose and materials used to make solid silver watch chains.

•  Silver-plated vs. solid silver watch chains - Cheaper versions, and often, newer styles of watch chains use silver-plated material instead of solid silver. Be sure to check for the maker's mark and other markings on the watch chain for more details about the materials and date of manufacture.

•  Purpose - For what purpose will the pocket watch and solid silver watch chain be used? Will it be worn most frequently with a jacket, shirt or pair of trousers? Considering these questions will help a buyer to work out exactly the type of chain that they require.

Typical Features of a Solid Silver Watch Chain

While there are some differences between solid silver watch chain styles, these are some of the consistent features to expect in any solid silver watch chain.

1.   The chain.

A solid silver watch chain can be made of multiple chains or just one, with the size of the links varying depending on the style.

2.   Fasteners.

Whether it's a spring-ring, T-bar, lobster clip or another type, a solid silver watch chain usually requires a fastener to link the chain to some kind of apparel worn on the body.

3.   Decorative pendants.

A fob is usually made of enamel or silver, featuring the emblem of the club or society of the owner. There are also other highly decorative tools that can be attached to a solid silver watch chains, such as a winding key or cigarette cutter.

How to Care for a Solid Silver Watch Chain

To remove tarnish and dirt from a solid silver watch chain, it can first be polished with a soft cloth and specialised cleaner. If the tarnish remains it should be taken to a professional cleaner. However, the following method may be used, but has to be done with care, and after checking that it is suitable for the particular type of chain.

Place a sheet of aluminium foil in the bottom of a pan and cover with a couple inches of water. Add about 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 2 teaspoons of salt, stirring to dissolve. Place the chain in the pan and boil for a couple minutes. Let cool and buff the chain with a soft cloth.

Another method is to try a soft bristled toothbrush with baking soda, or even toothpaste, to clean a solid silver chain. Again it should be buffed out with a soft cloth.

Popular Solid Silver Watch Chain Manufacturers

Solid silver watch chains were often sold independently from pocket watches. Here are some popular solid silver watch chain manufacturers.

•    R.F. Simmons Company

•    Bates and Bacon

•    W and S Blackinton Company

•    Providence

•    Patek Philippe

•    Tiffany and Co.

•    E. Whitehouse & Sons

•    Turner & Simpson

Accessories and Add-ons for a Solid Silver Watch Chain

Regular care for solid silver items is important to prevent tarnishing. These are some accessories that can help to keep the finish of a solid silver watch chain in good condition.

•  A chain should be accessorized with a pocket watch.

•  Silver polish to clean the solid silver watch chain.

•  Soft cloth to gently clean the surface with the polish.

Finding a Solid Silver Watch Chain on eBay

Once you determine the type of solid silver watch chain you want to purchase, visit the Jewellery and Watches< portal on eBay, click on 'Pocket watches/chains/fobs' and start searching item listings. The Categories list on the left-hand side of the eBay page helps to narrow the search.

Searching for Solid Silver Watch Chainson eBay

Search eBay listing titles for specific words when shopping for solid silver watch chains. For example, to find a solid silver watch chain fob, type 'Fob Solid Silver Watch Chain' into the search box, and then click the Advanced button to customise the results. Also visit eBay’s Search Tips page for more advice on searching for a solid silver watch chain with keywords. If you can’t find the exact solid silver watch chain you want, try shopping eBay Stores..

Conclusion

A solid silver watch chain is a great addition to a formal outfit or traditional pocket watch collection. A classic style that brings back the elegance and high fashion of earlier times, a solid silver watch chain is a finely crafted piece that can be passed down through generations. This guide has outlined the varieties of solid silver watch chains available, the accessories that are associated with them, and the best way to care for a solid silver watch chain. Once you have collected this information, you can buy a solid silver watch chain safely and securely on eBay.

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