It measures 12 1/2" and no marks on it. It has compass in middle.
Thank you for sending in this 'Watch Fob Chain' to mearto.com for an appraisal. I shall do my best to help you with that today.
Unisex, silvered, pocket watch chatelaine with magnetic compass and decorative non-precious stone (perhaps obsidian), unsigned and unmarked for metal quality, most likely made on the Continent, perhaps France, first half of the 20th century.
HISTORY & DESCRIPTION:
The original chatelaine's domain was a castle or fort, and the chatelaine's duties were many. To complete them, she certainly needed keys. In the 18th century, the word chatelaine (borrowed from the French chatelaine) took on an additional meaning in English that alluded to this: the word came to be used for a decorative clasp or hook from which chains holding a watch, purse, keys, etc. were suspended. These popular accessories evoked the bunch of keys the original chatelaine had worn of necessity.
This is a 12.5” long chatelaine made of a white metal (silver would most likely be hallmarked unless it is coin silver, so other white metals are lead, tin, steel, aluminum, zinc et al.). the combination of eight silvered strands, each doubled and arranged to have a herring-bone appearance are enclosed by a central bracket roughly in the shape of a butterfly with repousse markings which make it indeed appears to have been intended to be a butterfly while the obverse has a small round magnetic compass. Hanging from the central clasp is an ornament held by two shaped foliate designed limbs with a round stone between them. The stone is in the form of an eye with a blue pupillary eye at the center. This is a non-precious stone, and since this is out of my field (watches0 I am loath to guess at what the stone is although the natural occurring volcanic stone called ‘Obsidian’ comes to mind. The clasps at either end, also silvered have an embossed design that reminds me of the early use by the French of “lance leaves’. They used these on the metal or wooden borders of watches and clocks as well as furniture during the 18th and 19th centuries. That is why I attributed this piece to the French. The ringlets and clasps at either end appear to be steel and of rather modern times, certainly the 20th century. The use of the chatelaine in this style suggests a time before 1900, but the use of the stone in the design and the more modern ringlet attachments make me believe this was done a good deal later and mimics the earlier ornaments.
A woman might use charms attached to the chatelaine and clip the other end to a belt at her waist. A man might attach a pocket watch with fobs at the other end and perhaps use this with a vest as a pocket watch chain. It is made in such a way that it is quite versatile.
I certainly wish you have provided me with a provenance of some sort so that I could place this more appropriately in time. The condition is very good. Understand that precious metals on the Continent and in America all require hallmarks by law.
In modern times companies and individuals still produce chatelaines: THE CHATELAINE CHARM BELT COMPANY:::: The Chatelaine Charm Belt Company was founded by London based designer, Tania Stone. Her belts and charms are inspired by the original chatelaines worn by women in the 18th-19th centuries. Tania adored the idea of bringing this forgotten accessory back to the wardrobes of modern women. Tania has created a line of modern yet classic, Italian leather and hardware belts. The charms are crafted in silver and gold and feature integrated hoops so various charms can be added to creating a truly bespoke chatelaine belt, a unique and timeless accessory.
Etsy also has an assortment of new and vintage examples. SEE: https://www.etsy.com/listing/820005393/vintage-1940s-era-chatelaine-style-charm?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=chatelaine+charms&ref=sr_gallery-1-48&frs=1 (offered for $50)
SILVER COMPARABLES: ~https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/76230489_chatelaine-chain-silver-8351000 (Failed to sell in 2019) ~https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/86887834_silver-belt-thailand-19th-century (19th century Asian failed to sell)
~https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/85453689_victorian-vanity-and-fashion-6-gorham-sterling-silver (A group of vintage and antique chatelaine chains and watch sold in 2020 for $350) ~https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/81887229_a-victorian-silver-chatelaine-stuart-clifford-london (sold for 190 British pounds in 2020) https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/80972603_indian-silver-belt-ff-s-xix-pp-s-xx (estimated at 150-225 Euros this example did not sell in 2020) ~https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/79038311_european-19-c-silver-chatelaine-with-pocket-knife (19TH CENTURY SILVER EXAMPLE BROUGHT $250 IN 2019)
From what I can see there does not seem to be a great demand for such chains in our current times, despite a company devoting itself to making waist band chains for ladies. We also do know that you example is not marked for silver. It also has no makers name associated with it. Therefore I do not feel it would bring a great deal at auction and I believe the fair market value if placed at auction would be in the range of $180-$220.
I hope that has helped you to further understand this item. My best, David