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.