The Best Day Date Watches
There have been plenty of times over the last year and a half—alternatively in lockdown then not in lockdown, in the office and then working from home—when I’ve completely lost track of what day of the week it is (and what month, on occasion).
In circumstances like that, a day-date watch of some kind would have been a useful addition to the collection. Sadly, I don’t actually own one yet, so I thought I’d do a bit of research for myself into some of the best on the market and see if I could turn it into some form of helpful guide in case anyone else is experiencing the same sort of day-of-the-week amnesia.
So below are a selection of duel calendar watches I’m particularly keen on, ranging from the easily affordable to the eye-wateringly expensive.
Casio G-Shock GMW-B5000D-1 Full Metal
In truth, any of Casio’s mind-bogglingly vast collection of G-Shock watches would do the day-date job, but I’ve a real hankering for the old-school vibes of the GMW-B5550D-1.
The case shape is taken from the very first of the breed, the DW-5000C, released (if you can believe it) a full 40-years ago this year!
However, just because they are renowned to be the toughest watches on the planet and the choice of most of the world’s military forces, it doesn’t mean there’s any need to skimp on style.
This is the first G-Shock rendered in steel, with not a hint of plastic anywhere, making it one of the classiest looking digital watches available. And it is brimming with the latest tech too; from Tough Solar Power, to Multi-Band 6 auto radio timekeeping, to Bluetooth mobile link.
What’s more, at around $600, you’ll have a hard time finding anything else offering so much for so little.
Hamilton Classic Pan Europ Automatic
There just aren’t enough watches out there you could describe as ‘fun’ for my liking these days, but Hamilton’s Pan Europ is certainly one.
The name is somewhat misleading however; this is a model heavy on the Americana, with the red, white and blue dominating the dial and carrying over onto the NATO strap.
If the color scheme wasn’t enough, the 42mm tonneau-shape case also ensures plenty of presence and the in-house Hamilton H-30 movement onboard gives an impressive 80-hour reserve.
And just as with everything else Hamilton offers, there’s plenty of value for money too. You can have all this for around the $900 mark.
Tudor Glamour Date+Day
No prizes for guessing where the Tudor Glamour Date+Day draws its inspiration from, and that arrangement of a day of the month aperture at the three o’clock and the day of the week in its own arching window above the 12 will be familiar to anyone with even a passing interest in watches.
However, unlike its obvious equivalent from parent company Rolex (and we’ll be getting onto that one, you’ll be amazed to hear, in a minute) the Tudor model is one of the most affordable pieces in the brand’s portfolio.
Each of the watches in the 32-strong lineup measures 39mm and comes in either all-steel or steel and gold. Dial color selection is minimal, and includes champagne, black, opaline and silver. Hour markers are likewise limited and you can choose from either plain batons or diamonds.
A personal favorite is the M56000-0003, with a silver jacquard face. The tapestry-like effect gives the watch real depth and texture, with a tiny motif repeating across the entire surface.
Beating away inside each is the Caliber T603, a Sellita SW240-based movement with a 4Hz frequency and 38-hour reserve. While thoroughly reliable and robust, it is not COSC-certified. However Tudor still guarantees an accuracy of -4/+6 seconds a day.
In all, this is a fine everyday/dress watch, with the sort of superb build quality we have come to expect of the brand. Best of all, at around $2,650, it is a comparative bargain.
Breitling Premier B25 Datora 42
Ramping it up a notch, this vintage-inspired dress piece from Breitling is possibly one of the more unexpected releases from a manufacture better known for their tough-as-nails tool watches.
To be fair though, the flagship Premier collection does include some exceptionally fine models, but the B25 Datora 42 may well be the best of the bunch.
This is actually something of a reissue. Breitling coined the name Datora in the 1940s to denote a calendar chronograph which displayed the day, date, month and moonphase. All that information might well have left the dial looking too busy, yet the beautifully symmetrical façade is perfectly legible and stylishly executed. The chrono’s 30-minute counter sits at the three o’clock, with a running seconds taking up the opposite position. At the six is the moonphase indicator, with the day of the month scale arranged around the sub dial’s perimeter. Twin windows just below the 12 take care of the day and month displays.
There is a tachymeter ring and minute track encircling the dial as a whole, and the classy syringe hands count the time off on applied Arabic numeral indexes.
Available in two versions; the red gold cased, silver dialed variant has a lovely warm aesthetic, but the steel model with salmon dial is perfectly de rigueur at the moment.
An absolutely stunning watch from an unexpected quarter, the steel Breitling Premier B25 Datora retails for around $12,950.
The Rolex Day-Date
There couldn’t be a list of this kind without the granddaddy of them all, the Rolex President.
The first waterproof, automatic wristwatch to display both the date and the day of the week in separate windows, the model has been the top drawer creation from the world’s most successful manufacture since its debut in 1956.
Its styling has now passed into watchmaking convention, with the classic cushion case being produced in nothing but the finest precious metals since day one.
More recently, this most traditional of watches entered a more modern era with the unveiling of a larger 40mm version, running alongside the long-established 36mm. The variety across both sizes—taking in the different materials, dial colors, hour markers and bracelet options—is practically uncountable, and all are now fitted with the very latest generation, Rolex-built calibers which are just about the best mass-produced engines money can buy.
However, speaking of money…
While it’s true that Day-Dates from the contemporary collection represent some of the most expensive models the brand produces, it is often a pleasant surprise to those scouting the preowned market as to how affordable vintage examples can be.
The ref. 1803, for instance, which ran from 1959 all the way through to the late 1970s, can be had for as little as $9,500 on a leather strap. That’s for a solid gold Rolex and one of the most potent symbols of success and achievement the horology industry can offer.
An undoubted icon in the day and date cannon, there may be nothing better.
— Featured Photo: BeckerTime’s Archive.