A. Lange & Sohne Datograph LUMEN Up / Down Ref. 405.034

20 Best Big Date Watches at European Watch Company

Among purists, date windows often get a bad rap for ruining the harmonious symmetry of a dial, daily utility be damned. There is, of course, an exception to this rule of thumb, and that’s the big date. As far as complications go, the big date is a pretty simple one — it’s like a regular date, but supersized. It turns the date from an afterthought into an integral part of the watch’s design. Whether or not you prefer the larger date for extra legibility or just simply to stand out from the crowd, here are some of the best big dates around.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chrono Ref. 49150/B01A-9095

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph 49150/B01A-9095

The placement and execution of the big date on this Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph is a great example of how to do a big date well — it manages to be front and center while not getting in the way of the core chrono functionality. Complications aside, this earlier generation Overseas has all the hallmarks of the iconic design that we’ve grown to know and love — including the Maltese cross-inspired bezel and bracelet. As of today, the Big Date complication hasn’t made its way into the latest Overseas collection, making this 42mm steel model even more of an interesting option!

A. Lange & Sohne Datograph LUMEN Up / Down Ref. 405.034

A. Lange & Sohne Datograph LUMEN Up / Down Ref. 405.034

If any one brand is associated with the Big Date complication, it’s A. Lange & Söhne. The Big Date has been a core part of the German brand’s design identity since its 1994 relaunch and was inspired by a clock in the Semper Opera House in Dresden, close to Lange’s Glashütte home. This Datograph Up/Down Lumen shows off the behind-the-scenes workings of the twin date wheel to spectacular effect, thanks to the smoked sapphire dial.

A. Lange & Sohne Cabaret Ref. 107.031

A. Lange & Sohne Cabaret 107.031

Defined by its balanced dial with a big date at the top and a small seconds register at the bottom, this elegant Cabaret powered by a matching rectangular in-house movement (designed specifically for this model) was sadly discontinued in 2010. It stands out as something truly exceptional and interesting, a more elegant watch for a more civilized time.

A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Ref. 363.179

A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Stainless Steel Ref. 363.179

If the Cabaret is the old face of Lange, then the Odysseus is the new one. In 2019, Lange announced their entry into the popular integrated sports watch category with their first-ever regular production non-precious-metal watch. Alongside the stainless steel case, the Odysseus represents an evolution of the brand’s Big Date design language — the large date sits on the right-hand side of the dial, balanced by a matching, plus-size day indicator on the left. In terms of visual impact, it’s a double whammy.

Richard Mille RM60-01 Regatta Flyback Chronograph “St. Barth”

To be fair, the date isn’t the only thing that’s big on this plus-sized powerhouse from Richard Mille. Ostensibly made with yachting in mind, this 50mm titanium-cased chronograph with a plus-sized compass bezel is a watch that’s hard to miss — so in this context, a big date display was really the only option. This watch is a great example of how size is relative. Maybe on this watch, it counts as a ‘regular’ date…

Richard Mille RM011-02 Flyback Chronograph

Richard Mille RM011-02 Flyback Chronograph Titanium

Another Richard Mille, this time in the more familiar tonneau shaped case, the RM011-02 Flyback Chronograph in titanium measures 44.5mm across — and as you can see, the date aperture looks decidedly larger in proportion when compared to the St. Barth. Richard Mille excels at the futuristic, almost extra-terrestrial aesthetic so if you’re looking for a big date with attitude to match, check out the RM011-02.

F.P. Journe Octa Sport ARS Titanium

F.P. Journe Octa Sport ARS Titanium

F.P. Journe’s Octa Sport is a streamlined titanium number with an integrated bracelet, slender ceramic bezel, and a dial so bright is doesn’t even need luminous material (don’t worry, it has plenty). It’s also chock full of idiosyncratic complications, like a kidney bean-shaped day/night indicator, a power reserve display and, of course, the big date.

F.P. Journe Octa Quantieme Perpetual Calendar

F.P. Journe Octa Quantieme Perpetual Calendar Platinum

This Octa Quantieme Perpetual Calendar offers a more traditional execution of the big date complication from F.P. Journe. This pretty perpetual calendar cased in platinum was a boutique-only offering, and the dramatically angular big date at six matches the twin day and date in the top section of the dial. Of course, this is a perpetual calendar, but Journe has cleverly kept the leap year indicator as discreet as possible, tucked in close to the central pinion. And matched with a blue leather strap, the blue dial is striking on the wrist.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Grande Date Ref. 5050-12B30-B52A

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Grande Date / Black Dial Titanium Ref. 5050-12B30-B52A

Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms is, of course, a legend. Created in the early 1950s, this watch is in many ways responsible for establishing the blueprint for the modern dive watch. The addition of a ‘Grande Date’, as Blancpain calls it, might seem unusual, but the more you think about it, the more it makes sense. Dive watch design is all about legibility and clarity — so, viewed through this lens, a date that is easier to read is perfectly fitting for this titanium take on the iconic Fifty Fathoms.

Blancpain Aqualung Big Date Ref. 2850B-3630A-64B

Blancpain Aqualung Big Date Ref. 2850B-3630A-64B

While it might not be as famous as the Fifty Fathoms, the Leman Aqua Lung line is a design with a cult following. Offering sporty style in an understated package, the 40mm gold case with a standout double bezel offers a comfortable on-the-wrist experience. The big date is well integrated at the 6 o’clock position; at a quick glance, you could be forgiven for not noticing it at all. Perfect if you want to fly under the radar.

Breguet Marine Automatic Big Date Ref. 5817ST/Y2/5V8

Breguet Marine Automatic Big Date 5817ST/Y2/5V8

Another watch that manages to subtly integrate its big date into the overall design of the dial is the Breguet Marine Automatic Big Date. This 39mm steel watch features a blue guilloché central dial with a contrasting silver chapter ring and applied blue Roman numerals. The blue on silver design of the big date blends seamlessly into the equation — the only tell being that the date uses Arabic numerals.

Chopard L.U.C. Lunar Big Date Ref. 161969-500

Chopard L.U.C. Lunar Big Date Ref. 161969-500

Chopard’s L.U.C collection has a reputation for being one of the best-kept secrets in watchmaking, featuring a classical design and movement quality that’s up there with the best of the best. This Lunar Big Date is no exception. While the eye is naturally drawn to the contemporary moon phase display, the big date is realized exceptionally well. This Chopard is a piece that is full of personality, from the handset to the micro-rotor calibre, it’s a true connoisseur’s choice.

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda GT Chronograph Ref. PFC906-1020001-400181

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda GT Chronograph Ref. PFC906-1020001-400181

Parmigiani Fleurier is a Swiss brand that’s gathered some serious momentum in recent years, and the Tonda GT Chrono is one of the biggest reasons why. This modern sport chronograph has everything collectors want — sleek design, impeccable build quality, and (of course), a big date. The fact that Parmigiani Fleurier has applied the ‘panda-style’ design to the date display is a nice added touch.

Zenith Pilot Big Date Flyback Chronograph Ref. 03.4000.3652/21.1001

Zenith Pilot Chronograph Flyback Big Date Ref. 03.4000.3652/21.1001

With nods to the iconic ‘rainbow’ chronographs of the 90s, the new Zenith Pilot Big Date Flyback Chronograph does a lot of things right. Not only does it pack an El Primero Swiss Made automatic movement into a comfortable and contemporary 42.5mm steel case with a horizontally striped black dial and a textured rubber strap, but it also manages to smartly integrate a big date complication into the dial without taking anything away from Zenith’s Pilot pedigree.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Day & Night GMT Ref. 240.8.72

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Day & Night GMT Ref. 240.8.72

Over the course of its long history, the Reverso has come in many forms. There are practically no complications out there that haven’t been integrated into the famous flipping case, and that includes the big date. What is uncommon about the integration of the date into this rectangular design is that it isn’t front and center. Instead, it sits out of the way at the top left of the dial, taking the place of the ’11’ marker. The 11th of the month is just that much more special for owners of this reference.

Glashutte Original SeaQ Panorama Date Ref. 1-36-13-02-81-70

Glashutte Original SeaQ Panorama Date 1-36-13-02-81-70

Since its debut back in 2019, Glashütte Original’s line of dive watches, known as the SeaQ, has proven itself to be a plucky contender in the competitive luxury diver category. Not only is the fit and finish well executed, the model also offers the extra utility of a big date — or, in Glashütte Original’s poetic nomenclature, “Panorama” date.

Glashutte Original Seventies Panorama Chronograph Ref. 1-37-02-06-02-35

Glashutte Original Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date SS Turquoise Dial

Another application of Glashütte Original’s “Panorama” date comes on the funktastic Seventies Panorama Chronograph Date with a turquoise dial. The uncommon ‘television’ shaped case paired with the incredibly vivid blue dial makes for an outstanding (and stand out) chronograph that doesn’t follow the pack.

Daniel Roth Datomax Big Date Ref.

Daniel Roth Datomax Big Date Rose Gold Ref.

The appreciation for and excitement around Daniel Roth’s watchmaking has been trending significantly upward in recent years. After playing a significant role in the revitalization of Breguet in the 1970s and 80s, he created his eponymous brand in 1989. Looking at Roth’s own designs, like this 2005 Datomax Big Date, you can see the influences of both watch brands. With his own timepieces, Roth combined sculptural form and traditional technique to great effect. From the Roman numeral hour markers to the multiple different dial finishings, there is a lot to like here.

IWC Big Pilot Big Date Spitfire “Mission Accomplished” LE Ref. IW510506

IWC Big Pilot Big Date Spitfire Edition "Mission Accomplished" Ref. IW510506

What better watch to utilize a big date than the iconic IWC Big Pilot? The Big Pilot Big Date Spitfire “Mission Accomplished” is a 2021 limited edition with a 46mm bronze case and gorgeous green dial. Thanks to the sheer amount of real estate on the dial, it feels quite sparse, even with the big date at 12 and small seconds at 6. Be warned, though, it takes a big wrist (or a big personality) to pull it off.

Rotonde de Cartier Grand Date W1550751

Cartier Privee Rotonde Large Date W1550751

For Cartier — the masters of non-round wristwatches — the Rotonde is seemingly one of their simplest offerings. It features a round, white gold, 42mm case with a silver dial (this one featuring Prive Collection guilloché), Roman numerals and the rest. In addition to these expected elements, the big date sits proudly at the top of the dial. With so much attention on Cartier’s contemporary and classical offerings at the moment, this subtle round watch is an interesting option.

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