Occasionally, the bandwagon of “hip” and “cool” will get it right. There has lately been a resurgent interest in vintage flat and silverware, from the everyday use patterns to the formal sit-down affairs requiring service for twelve. Such interest is in no small way tied to the peaks and valleys of the precious metals market, with the turbulent results of antique and/or unique fashioned metals – from coins to urns – being smelted down for their weight/purity factors. While the economic times must needs sanction such losses, it is heartening to recall beauty and recognize craftsmanship and quality designs. A case in point would be Watson Silver.
In the slower era of more than two centuries past, the Watson Silver Company is a shining example of attention to detail, variety and interest all expressed on the handle of traditional eating utensils. Designers offered a remarkable variety of patterns and styles, ranging from a simple border to incredibly detailed and intricate figures and pictures, literally works of art.
Much attention, in the etiquette structure world of table setting and dinner parties, is lavished upon the actual place settings, cup, bowl, plate, etc., and the designs and colors expressed therein, all of which are worthy of examination and appreciation. But, to borrow the quote, if “God is in the details”, then certainly a fitting example of such detail is the range of design flavor and expression that Watson Silver encouraged in its designers for well over fifty years. In such a time it could not have been particularly wise to encourage such variety and craftsmanship, nor particularly remunerative to continue to offer such an extensively wide range of silver patterns – literally offerings of many styles in every price range.
From the late 1800’s the floral designs and patterns available by catalog, (to name but two styles offered by Watson Silver) ranged in price from the modest to the plainly excessive, and the value for money is unmistakable. It is possible to peruse the Watson Silver offerings based on periods of time, and a five year gap is more than enough to highlight the changes in taste and style, clearly the illuminating design swing from the heavier, Victoria era pieces to the lighter, freer Art Deco nuances and beyond. In this age when the manufacturer often seems intent upon forcing a limited range of style and aesthetics to the consumer, it is both refreshing and invigorating to simply view the plethora of offerings for so simple and ordinary a thing as flatware. Forks, spoons, knives, serving pieces, each of them customized, it seems for the individual purchaser, to appeal to his or her sense of creativity and expression. Quality workmanship and attention to detail of this bygone era are truly more sorely missed than noticed – until the smelting fires have finished this modern task of reducing beauty and art to molten metal and such beauty and purity of design can no longer be appreciated, enjoyed or even merely collected.
Whether Now or Then, Watson Silver shines as an example of excellence achieved, as proved by the test of time.