Green’s Dictionary of Slang

thimble n.

also thim
[naut. thimble, a thick ring of metal, through which a rope can be pushed; thus the similarity in shape]

[late 18C–1940s] (UK Und.) a watch, thus thimble and slang, watch and chain.

In compounds

thimble-crib (n.) [crib n.1 (1)]

[early–mid-19C] (UK Und.) a watchmaker’s or jeweller’s shop.

thimble-fakir (n.)

[late 19C] (UK und.) one who specializes in changing the cases of stolen watches.

thimble game (n.)

[late 19C] (US und.) the illegal ‘gambling’ game of thimble-rig n. (1)

thimble-twister (n.) (also super twister, thimble-screwer)

[mid-19C–1930s] (UK Und.) a thief who specializes in stealing watches from their wearers; thus thimble-twisting n.

In phrases

draw a thimble (n.)

[late 18C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) to steal a pocket watch.