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I had a new experience this weekend. I attended a Studebaker Zone Meet and there were several watches entered for competition. The judge also brought about 8 South Bend Watches with fancy dials. During my conversation with the judge, a watchrepairmen from the Twin cities, we raised some questions. On which grades did the South Bend Watch Company put the fancy colored watch dials on? Of the 10 or 12 watches present with fancy dials there were no more than two of the same grade. Does anyone have an answer?
Practically any South-Bend watch could have been originally equipped with one of the fancy or highly decorated styles of dials. They were most often used on ladies 6 and 0-size as well as the 18 and 16-size Hunters, but certainly could be proper on Open-Face watches.
Usually the fancy dial if appropriate will be in harmony with fancy engraving and other features of the case it is associated with. The fact dials are so easily moved from movement to movement would make this point a reasonable consideration for judging such watches in competition.
A collector who likes the fancier dials may equip many of their watches with them without regard to overall appearance of the watch or whether they are appropriate in order to impress the judges. For that reason judging criteria should probably be focused mainly on substance rather than on style.
To illustrate these points somewhat more effectively, look very closely at the image below. These two watches are South-Bend Grade 290 of consecutive movement numbers. You will note number 504274 shown on left has a fancy dial and is housed in a more ornate case, even the bow is fancy looking, whereas 504275 shown at right has both a plainer looking dial and a less ornate case. One is struck by the fact these watches may have started out as we see them today as in both instances the overall package is in perfect harmony.
Even consecutive watches can have different personalities...
Thanks Lindell, that makes sense. Most of my fancier dials in my collection are on even numbered grade watches.
However not all of them are in ornate cases.
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