Senator or Spencer???

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1955mercury 1955mercury
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Senator or Spencer???

Would you say this is a Senator or a Spencer. I don't know how to tell the difference.
It's a 1948 with a 8AH 17 jewel movement. It's 14k rose RGP with a stainless steel back. The crystal measures aprox. 24.15 X 17.9. I took the crystal off for this picture because it has some scratching on it.

watchophilia watchophilia
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Re: Senator or Spencer???

Ah, yes, the 1940s Spencer vs. Senator debate.  That's a fun one.  This is one of those that really makes you wonder what Bulova was thinking.

In the early 1940s, the Spencer was a different watch from yours.  That version of the Spencer was in a rose gold case that looks quite a bit like one of the early 1940s President models, but the Spencer case is slightly tonneau shaped rather than rectangular like the President, so those two are easy to distinguish.  You can see an example of that Spencer and the matching 1943 ad at 1941 Spencer.

We see the Spencer again in the ads we have in 1946, and it is unchanged from the earlier ads.  However, in 1947 the style of the Spencer changed completely. . .but we'll get to that.

In the meantime, we have the Senator, which has your case design.  It was out in the early 1940s also, and we know from textual references that it was offered in rose gold, but we don't actually see it with your rose gold case and exploding dial combination until 1946.  That doesn't mean it didn't exist before then, rather we simply don't have an ad showing it until 1946.  

So, perhaps your watch is a Senator.

But, wait, we're not done yet.  As I mentioned, the Spencer changes its style for 1947, and we now see it in the ads looking just like your watch--and just like the 1946 Senator.  According to the ads, the Senator continues to be produced at least through 1948-- the date of your watch--and it is offered in rose gold during that time.

Both the Senator and the Spencer have a stainless steel back.  Everything about the two watches appears to be identical.

So, which watch do you have?  Take your pick.  I would go with Spencer, simply because the ad that we have that is closest in date to your watch and that actually shows your watch--rather than simply stating that it was available in rose gold--indicates it is a Spencer.  That may or may not be the correct answer, but it is probably the best we can do given the information we have today.

- Lisa
1955mercury 1955mercury
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Re: Senator or Spencer???

In reply to this post by 1955mercury
Thank you for the information. I wish I knew what Bulova was thinking at the time also.
Why would they make two models that look so much alike is baffling.