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Pocket watches generally have an attached chain to allow them to be secured to a waistcoat, lapel, or belt loop, and to prevent them from being dropped.

Watches were also mounted on a short leather strap or fob, when a long chain would have been cumbersome or likely to catch on things.

Chains were frequently decorated with a silver or enamel pendant, often carrying the arms of some club or society, which by association also became known as a fob.

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Thereafter, pocket watch manufacture spread throughout the rest of Europe as the 16th century progressed.

Early watches only had an hour hand, the minute hand appearing in the late 17th century.

This development drove the Swiss out of their dominating position at the cheaper end of the market, compelling them to raise the quality of their products and establish themselves as the leaders in precision and accuracy instead.

The rise of railroading during the last half of the 19th century led to the widespread use of pocket watches.

By the end of the 15th century, spring-driven clocks appeared in Italy, and in Germany.

Peter Henlein, a master locksmith of Nuremberg, was regularly manufacturing pocket watches by 1524.

A famous train wreck on the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway in Kipton, Ohio on April 19, 1891 occurred because one of the engineers' watches had stopped for four minutes. Ball as their Chief Time Inspector, in order to establish precision standards and a reliable timepiece inspection system for Railroad chronometers.

This led to the adoption in 1893 of stringent standards for pocket watches used in railroading.

Also common are fasteners designed to be put through a buttonhole and worn in a jacket or waistcoat, this sort being frequently associated with and named after train conductors.

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