The pocket watch was a valued accessory for men. Breeches had small watch pockets near the front of the waist and watches were attached with fobs, or decorative strings or chains that led from a clip on the waistband to these pockets. From about 1740 until the end of the century, it became very fashionable, especially for well-dressed young men nicknamed Incroyables, for the French word for incredible, to display fob ribbons, one on each side of the waist. Occasionally the fob ribbons would hold other decorative ornaments such as seals, or engraved metal disks used for impressing a signature into sealing wax or just for decoration.
Batterberry, Michael, and Ariane Batterberry. Fashion: The Mirror of History. New York: Greenwich House, 1977.
Bigelow, Marybelle S. Fashion in History: Apparel in the Western World. Minneapolis, MN: Burgess Publishing, 1970.
Contini, Mila. Fashion: From Ancient Egypt to the Present Day. Edited by James Laver. New York: Odyssey Press, 1965.
Cunnington, C. Willett, and Phillis Cunnington. Handbook of English Costume in the Eighteenth Century. London, England: Faber and Faber, 1964.
[ See also Volume 3, Nineteenth Century: Fobs and Seals ]