Dials With Date Windows: Why All The Hate?

Dials With Date Windows: Why All The Hate? - Lugs and Lume

While casually browsing through watch forums, I've picked up on something. It seems that a lot of dyed-in-the-wool watch enthusiasts despise dials with date windows. While I get why in some cases, in others, I think date windows are over-hated. A vintage-inspired chronograph, based off of a design from the 1940s, will probably look funny

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While casually browsing through watch forums, I’ve picked up on something. It seems that a lot of dyed-in-the-wool watch enthusiasts despise dials with date windows. While I get why in some cases, in others, I think date windows are over-hated. A vintage-inspired chronograph, based off of a design from the 1940s, will probably look funny with a date window sandwiched in-between 3:00 and 4:00. But what about a watch worn daily to work?

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Personally, I find the date window to be one of the more useful complications on a watch. So much so that every one of my watches has one so far. I think I look at my watch for the date more than I do for the time! It's one of those things where I just can't seem to remember what the date is on any given day. 

It is about execution and some brands do it way better than others. If the date window is an obvious intrusion to the symmetry of the dial, then the better execution is making the window an obvious feature of the watch, as in elegantly framing the window or placing and shaping the window in place of an hour marker. Matching the date window color to the dial color is always a good idea. The jury is still out on the cyclops magnifier for me. The best execution of the cyclops imho is what Panarai has done by placing the magnifier inside the crystal rather than the traditional wart like bump on the outside.

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I don't despise date windows, but I don't like seeing them implemented in a manner where they mess with the symmetry of the dial.  I find the date to be a useful feature, and if it's implemented "properly", it can be great to have. 

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I'm old enough that I was working for years before smart phones came out. I got into the habit of looking at my watch for the date, and still do to this day. 

I think the best date windows are ones that are well integrated into the design, but sometimes a high contrast day/date window also makes sense. My biggest dislike with date windows is when they eliminate a marker/lume plot. I love that the latest ISO certification Seiko follows eliminated that problem for me, as I really want to pick up a SPB 143 or 239. 

Some examples of well integrated dates from mu collection:

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This is a good question. Maybe what comes across as hate is really frustration and disappointment. As someone who prefers watches without any complications for the simplicity, the aesthetics (symmetry*, in part), and the lack of utility (I don’t tend to need to check the date myself and even like having to figure it out in my head when I do – I can’t do that with the time), there are many watches that have a date complication (or day and date complication) that I would love even more without them. The frustration and disappointment comes from the fact that it should be relatively easy, especially in today’s manufacturing world, to offer versions of watches with and without the date. With many manufacturers, there are none to few options without the dates. That’s not to say that day/date is a total deal breaker for me. There are a few that I do really like (one example from Accutron, photo below).

*Even replacing an hour marker, while better, breaks the symmetry because it’s still different in function and depth than the other side of the watch.

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I grew up with watches with a date window, and am used to look at my wrist when I need to date something. If there is no date window I become oddly irritated, as if somebody just fooled me. 

I know the date window breaks the symmetry, but from a practical standpoint it's one of the most useful features of a watch, at least as far as I am concerned.

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  1. I've always enjoyed a Day/Date function on watches and frequently use mine. I will say there is something to be said about having a watch where you can thoroughly enjoy the face of the watch.  A Grand Seiko or a quality fleiger watch really doesn't need it.
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I get the functionality, and if it’s integrated well then I don’t mind it. But I feel like some watches just add it in lazily. I guess my easiest answer would be symmetry. 

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I must say I don’t have hate for date windows but I much prefer either no-date or one that has been well executed to not interfere with the symmetry of the dial.

that said I know just as many enthusiasts who prefer a date complication. All personal taste, I’ll never fault anyone who wears what they like.

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tempus

I don't despise date windows, but I don't like seeing them implemented in a manner where they mess with the symmetry of the dial.  I find the date to be a useful feature, and if it's implemented "properly", it can be great to have. 

Very much agreed. I prefer a no date but when done correctly so it doesn’t interfere with the symmetry of the dial like my Helm Komodo I like them very much and I absolutely love a date hand complication on a dress watch.

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roberto

This is a good question. Maybe what comes across as hate is really frustration and disappointment. As someone who prefers watches without any complications for the simplicity, the aesthetics (symmetry*, in part), and the lack of utility (I don’t tend to need to check the date myself and even like having to figure it out in my head when I do – I can’t do that with the time), there are many watches that have a date complication (or day and date complication) that I would love even more without them. The frustration and disappointment comes from the fact that it should be relatively easy, especially in today’s manufacturing world, to offer versions of watches with and without the date. With many manufacturers, there are none to few options without the dates. That’s not to say that day/date is a total deal breaker for me. There are a few that I do really like (one example from Accutron, photo below).

*Even replacing an hour marker, while better, breaks the symmetry because it’s still different in function and depth than the other side of the watch.

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That Accutron is beautiful. The stingray strap compliments it perfectly.

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Good question. The only thing that is a show stopper for me when buying a watch, is if it does not have the date. It's a required complication for me. It does not have to be in a window, it could be with a hand, but it needs to be there.

Oh, and as for date complications in reissued vintage watches, the first date complication on a chrono was in 1948 :)

Angelus Chrono - Datoluxe Moon Phase 1950s - Gisbert A. Joseph Watches


 

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I like having the date on a watch, and check it often. But it's not a deal breaker either way.

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I dont see a problem with them as long as they are large enough. Some date windows are very small, hard to read.

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Asymmetry creates tension, which draws the eye, generates interest, and gives a design some dynamism. Symmetrical watch designs tend to look flat and 'dead', inanimate gauges rather than characterful, stylish and personal objects. That's why most watches feature a date and/or other stylistic details - not because the wearer needs to know the date.

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once my collection started to really grow, I started to become one of these said haters. Mainly because i make a legitimate effort to wear all my watches and find it tedious enough to set the time on the mechanicals. i find I can check my phone once and I’m good for the day, if I somehow managed to forget the date… 

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personally for me it is quite usefull. i just hate if they dont have matching colour with the dial, also im very lazy to set them since i have to set it everytime i wear my watch. im afraid to set them in the wrong time that may caused damage to the movement 😚