Some watch connoisseurs find date displays of any kind on a watch dial distracting, unnecessary, and disruptive to a harmonious design. Others not only appreciate them, but also want them to be as legible and prominent as possible. For the latter group, we’ve assembled this list.
BLANCPAIN VILLERET GRANDE DATE
The Villeret Grand Date is built upon the in-house Caliber 6950, an automatic movement with a 72-hour power reserve in two barrels, a silicon balance spring, and a big-date mechanism designed to shift instantly at midnight. Rose-gold, luminous-treated hands sweep over a silvered opaline dial, indicating the time on applied Roman numeral indexes. The two windows of the big date display at 6 o’clock are sunken down two levels from the main dial, which matches the “double pomme” graduated design of the bezel. The 40-mm rose gold case’s fluted crown bears the same Blancpain logo as the counterweight on the seconds hand. Through the exhibition caseback, one can see the côtes de Genève decorations on the baseplate and the “honeycomb” design on the rose-gold oscillating weight. Price: $21,300. Click here for more details.
CARL F. BUCHERER HERITAGE BICOMPAX ANNUAL
Inspired by a 34-mm bicompax chronograph from 1956 that was discovered in the Lucerne-based brand’s archives, the Heritage Bicompax Annual combines an annual calendar with a chronograph, in a 41-mm case in either stainless steel or two-tone rose gold. The annual calendar indicator consists of a big date indicator in the upper half of the dial and a month aperture tilted between 4 and 5 o’clock. The dial’s historically inspired details include syringe-shaped hands, vintage-style Arabic numerals, elongated chronograph pushers, and a box-style sapphire crystal. Ticking inside is the automatic Caliber CFB 1972 (an ETA base movement with a Dubois Dépraz module), which stores a 42-hour power reserve. Each version is limited to 888 pieces, in homage to Bucherer’s founding date of 1888. Price: $10,200. More details and photos here.
CHOPARD L.U.C ALL IN ONE
The Chopard L.U.C All-in-One is named for its array of complications, with 14 patents pending. Two 10-piece limited editions are available, both in 46-mm cases: one in platinum, the other in rose gold. The dials are made of solid gold and feature applied hour markers, Dauphine hands, and a hand-guilloché motif radiating from the double window of the big date display at 12 o’clock. The big date, in this instance, is just the tip of the horological iceberg: on the front you’ll also find a month and leap year, part of the watch’s perpetual calendar functions; a tourbillon with small seconds hand; and a day-of-the-week and 24-hour display. On the back things get even more exotic, with an equation-of-time calculator; an indicator for the seven-day power reserve; a day-night indication; and displays for the sunrise and sunset, all surrounding the visually arresting centerpiece, the orbital moon-phase, a hallmark of the L.U.C collection. Price upon request; more details here.
GLASHÜTTE ORIGINAL PANOMATIC LUNAR
For the PanoMaticLunar, its collection of moon-phase timepieces, Germany’s Glashutte Original developed a distinctive asymmetrical design. The hour-minute and small-seconds subdials are aligned along a vertical axis left of the dial’s center, while the big date indication (which the brand calls a Panorama date) and its signature moon-phase display are positioned slightly to the lower and upper right, respectively. The most recent version of the model is offered in a rose-gold 40-mm case, with a vinyl-patterned galvanic blue dial, on a dark blue Louisiana alligator strap. The movement is Glashütte Original’s in-house, automatic Caliber 90-02, with a 28,800 vph frequency, a 42-hour power reserve, and a host of high-end finishes characteristic of traditional Saxon watchmaking. Price: $20,500. Click here for more on the revamped Pano collection.
H. MOSER & CIE. PIONEER PERPETUAL CALENDAR MD
The Pioneer Perpetual Calendar MD is notable for its two windows at the 3 o’clock position, one for the date, one for the month. The month and date numerals are on separate disks, as per Moser’s Flash Calendar system, which allows them to jump instantly. The brand’s familiar“fumé” dial has hours and minutes indicated by leaf-shaped hands, small seconds on a subdial at 6 o’clock, and the seven-day power reserve on an Up-Down scale at 9 o’clock. The date can be set at any time of day, backwards and forwards, with no risk of damaging the movement, a rarity in a perpetual calendar. The leap-year indication is tucked away in the back, on the movement side, and visible through an exhibition caseback. The 42.8-mm stainless steel case contains the manually wound Caliber HMC 808, equipped with two brand-exclusive innovations, an Original Straumann Hairspring (which uses two springs oscillating in opposite directions to minimize center-of-gravity errors) and an interchangeable escapement for easy servicing. Price: $39,900. More on the watch and its movement here.
Excellent. Now show big date watches that we can afford!
Now imagine Certina Big Date ,LE or not, on a milanaise ,Si spring, 100h life for under 1k bucks…
OK, I bought a Casio data bank watch, apart from that function, the thing that is great about this watch is it’s really large Day display, which I find really useful along with its smaller date display. Ten year battery life and I can flip a new battery in within minutes. Planet ‘Normal’.
Where is Lange? Give me a break.
Love the Blancpain and Bucherer models, the others are so so.
How about showing watches that the average consumer can afford?
Mark, thank you for this article. I’d be interested in more information on other big date watches. My collection is almost exclusively big date watches including lange, 2 blancpain, 3 ulysse, bucherer, paiget, chopard & a jaeger reverso. Would have considered the Moser but try to stay away from manual wind & too expensive for a steel watch. Best, Jeff Greenblatt
Mondaine makes an excellent large date watch in the less than $300 price range
My preferred watch: chronometer, automatic and big date with annual calendar.
No big dates in the $1,000-5,000 range?
I have a Maurice Lacroix with a big date. I am sure there are others. Key point is to have two date numbers instead of the usual one.
Very nice products,beautiful watches.
Beautiful they are, but ridiculously priced! I fail to see how these values are arrived at, though I do love to read and marvel at them.
So we have to spend $10-40,000 for watch with big date? Surely you could have found some quality mid priced pieces between $1-5,000.
Very nice. Now find some watches with big dates that the average person can afford!
Thanks for your great publication.
Graf Zeppelin Big Date, Dual Time Stainless Steel & Black Leather Watch 7640-2