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Why Is It Harder To Find Clean Watch Dials Without The Date?

Philip W. of Warwick, UK asks:

“Hi, why is the choice of wristwatches so limited without the date function? Couldn’t manufacturers offer more choice when it comes to the date function for people who would prefer a plain watch face without the date. Thank you for an excellent website. Kind regards, Philip”

That is an interesting point you bring up, Philip, and the answer lies in the business and marketing world of the watch industry. On the one hand, you have design lovers who can appreciate a clean, symmetrical dial that isn’t broken up by a date window, and on the other hand, you have sales people actually selling the watches who claim that, for the most part, customers want (or feel better buying) watches with the date.

Look at the Rolex Submariner as an example. Currently Rolex offers two very similar models in steel including the Rolex Submariner and the Rolex Submariner Date. The former is often referred to as the “Submariner No Date” because it is less common and does not include this signature complication. Rolex charges about $1000 more for the Submariner Date, which only adds a date window, a magnifier lens on the sapphire crystal, as well as a date disc under the dial. Brands like Rolex and many others find that a lot of customers still want a date complication even though many of us use electronic means of knowing calendar information.

While I haven’t seen specific data myself, sources in the watch industry have told me that sales people often find it harder to sell watches without the date in retail environments. This is not only because it appears as though many customers want the date, but that they feel watches without the date should be priced less (even though they aren’t that much less complicated).

More and more, watch lovers are seeking out “no date” watches, and they are certainly available with increased volume, but I agree that they can still be hard to find – especially in high production watches that brands don’t consider “niche” enough to abandon the traditional thinking as dictated by the watch retail environment.

About the Author

Fueled by an unshakable love for horology and a general curiosity for intricate things, Ariel Adams founded aBlogtoWatch in 2007 as a means of sharing his passion. Since then, ABTW has become the highest trafficked blog on luxury timepieces, and Ariel has become a contributor to other online publications such as Forbes, Departures and Tech Crunch, to name just a few. His conversational writing style and inclusive attitude brings a wider appreciation for watches the world over, and that's just the way he likes it.

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  • vtabtwfan

    my grail watch is the rolex daytona and one of the big reasons it has no date. I would like to see other chronograph models with a no date option.

  • ScubaPro

    I find the date to be incredibly valuable. While a huge crowd of people claim you don’t need a watch because the time is posted everywhere (true if you never get away from machines that display it), the date is typically much harder to find. I think that people that buy a no date version of a watch that also comes in a date version think a watch is just a piece of jewelry, and looks are all that matters. These are the same dinks that buy dive watches for looks alone, and never get near the water except for the water cooler. I hate these posing punks. Might as well dress as one of the village people. They are vile, pretentious vermin who cannot be trusted and should be shunned, ostracized and excommunicated where possible. 

    Those that seek a watch because it has no date are only marginally less reprehensible. One these days when you need to sign and date something important, you will realize your folly. You will have to ask the date from passing strangers because you are so wretchedly and utterly clueless. I pity you people.

  • JPonce

    For me:
    Good date (perfect font, color and location) > no date > nasty date

    I find the date function very useful, but I specially dislike those while, square date windows on black dials.

  • Grinnie Jax

    As for me there is no reason for the date usually. I prefer power reserve indicator.

  • Baerli Baer

    Come across a bit strong but fully agree that the date
    function is incredibly valuable. While I prefer the look of some watches
    without the date, for me the date function is so useful I am happy to sacrifice
    some looks so that it may be present. Nomos Club looks better than the Club
    Datum but I would buy the Datum every time.

  • iamcalledryan

    Baerli Baer ScubaPro LOL, yes you had me but than lost me at the diving rant. 75% of watches are “designed” for activities that the majority of wearers do not partake in.

  • iamcalledryan

    It is also largely down to the fact that about 90% of ETA movements come with a date wheel. I actually have a watch that has a 2824-2 with the wheel removed!

  • kevingallagher2


  • kevingallagher2

    ScubaPro I like no date watches because I wear more than one and don’t want to have to fix dates when the autos stop.

  • Sevenmack

    This is probably the reason most watch enthusiasts hate date windows. As collectors, we have more than one or two watches, most of them are old-school mechanicals, and rarely are they perpetual calendars. So the (perceived) hassle of setting dates on watches – especially during months with 27 or 30 days — makes the date indicator undesirable. For the casual watch owner, however, the date indicator is no problem for them because they own only a couple of watches (if that many), and the hassle of occasionally resetting the date is outmatched by their desire for a watch with data and time functions all in place.
    Put simply: Watch collectors, being crazy and persnickety folks who are more-knowledgeable than average watch buyers, hate anything that gets in the way of enjoying outdated technology.  kevingallagher2 ScubaPro

  • egznyc

    Is the wheel removed or is there simply no date window? I have a watch that could’ve had a date function but it’s without for historical reasons (and looks, of course). Nonetheless, a date window is a useful function and if it’s done well won’t ruin the face.

  • John

    Does the Luminor Due PAM00675 count as a “Clean Watch Dials Without The Date” too? It has a “small seconds”.

  • Alan West

    I find it very useful to know the date, and the day as well if possible. I used to work shifts, and this information is handy for that as well as ensuring that you return from bush holidays on the correct day. Knowing the date is also good for paperwork after your return. There may be no phone signal in the bush, and the phone will be switched off and put away.
    For those collectors who want to wear watches for a without having to reset the date, don’t. A watch can be worn with the date set incorrectly. It won’t kill you.
    Having said that, I do have a few watches without date, and they do look good and are easy to set. But I miss knowing the date, and I have to exercise my memory a bit more than usual. By the way, a no-date automatic can simply be shaken to start it at the right time, without needing to use the winder at all.