Thoughtful reply, and thanks.
We will simply have to differ a bit in our ideas about the SBR being unaffected by the metering of the highlights. Perhaps I am not completely understanding your position (pun not entirely intended!).
Note that I most often follow the BTZS methods in which the SBR value is obtained by high EV minus low EV plus five. Once again, this forum is certainly not the best place for a complete discussion of the pros and cons of the BTZS methodology which knowledge can be best obtained by reading some articles at BTZS.org and reading Mr. Davis's interesting book. Now might be a good time to remind folks that "BTZS" does NOT stand for "Better than the Zone System" as some have mistakenly believed. Indeed," Beyond the Zone System" is the correct translation!
To extend your comments about metering: If you've a moment, simply walk into the light and meter a shadow point in our scene. Then point the dome of the meter at the make believe camera position and slowly rotate the dome upwards directly towards the sun. The EV reading will increase as the dome is pointed upwards; the SBR will increase ( high EV minus low EV etc), the developing time based upon testing meant to keep the film exposure on the "straight line" of the curve will decrease and the highlights are-as you pointed out-protected. Now point the dome directly at the make believe camera position so that the sun light strikes only the top or part of the dome rather than the "complete" circumference of the dome. The highlight EV value will decrease, the SBR will decrease, the developing time will increase, etc.. Note for emphasis that I am alluding to BTZS methodology. We entirely agree that one can manipulate the SBR for creative purposes-roughly analogous as zone shooters do when they "place and values fall". Of course, as we also agree, matching the SBR both to our creative vision and to the combination of paper and paper developer that we use, provides the creative control that analog black and white photographers seek.
Incident metering is another tool, and one that some find extremely useful and even easy to use. However, like every tool, such metering will have to be applied correctly and modified by experience, results, and creative wishes. So, we agree in what is important: Making images that reflect one's intent and vision.
Stay well Mark.
Thanks again for stimulating the discussion.