When did watches start using red second hands? That should be easy enough to find out, right?
This question came up in a conversation with the Cruncher with the fewest opinions about watches, @Porthole . He was showing me this or that watch from the 1940's with red second hands. I told him that I use 1950 as the beginning point of the use of red second hands because I have never been able to confirm an earlier use.
To date a watch just by looking at a picture is usually inaccurate. Even the movement will only tell you so much. For example, an Adolph Schild 1287 was in use for two decades. I don't know enough about refinements to the movement to know either end of that spectrum. So, I also look for the shape of the indices, case shape, lettering, handset, and numbering.
Here is a Britix with syringe hands, Arabic numerals in a military style, and an A.S. 1287:
Is this late 1940's or early 1950's? The move to red seconds appears to be concurrent with the move to center seconds which was largely driven by military spec watches.
The Swiss Federal Railways added a red second hand to its railway clocks in 1953. Red second hands were added in later railway systems. But, 1953 can't be the starting date. I know watches must have had red seconds before that.
I began to dig. Advertisements were mostly in black and white. They were of little use. I found that Omega put a red second hand on a Seamaster in 1950. Useful, but that just confirmed my priors. Some watch must have started this trend. The watch industry will always follow success (i.e. GMT's).
(The dial, Dauphine hands, and the applied gold tone indices and 9, 12, 3, 6 tell me that this is 1950's.)
I found a Bulova Watertite that was dated 1949 on mybulova.com . Maybe, that is enough. But I can't find the beginning of the trend, which I assume is post WWII.
(Dagger indices and even only Arabics place this in the 1950's.)
Most of @Porthole 's examples are more persuasive than mine as 1940's watches. This is off to get a new crystal:
It has syringe hands and all of its Arabic numerals. My 1940's watches tend to have sub-seconds and gold or blued hands.
I haven't found the answer, so I put it to you Crunch Community. Which watch began the red second hand trend? Where is this esoteric knowledge?