Watch Buying Guide: Types of Calendar Watches

One of the factors to consider when buying watches is deciding what features and complications you want out of them. For some, this means a luxurious machine with complex inner-workings and an elegant design, or a resilient plastic watch with a digital display that is jam-packed with functions. The point is, there is a diverse range of watches out there. 

One of the most intriguing complications in horology is the calendar function. The calendar complication is a testament to the complexity of watches. This is because it can come in a variety of shapes and forms, whether it is a simple date display or a sophisticated perpetual calendar. In this article, we will go over the different types of calendar watches and some of the best pieces you can find in the market. 

Watch Buying Guide Types of Calendar Watches 03 Infographics

Simple Date Calendar Watches

The most common type of calendar watch is the simple date timepiece. When you buy such a watch,  you will find that there is a small window on the dial that has a number in it. When you first use this simple watch, you should set the number to the current date, then relax as it advances forward each day. This is not a very advanced complication, as you can find it on watches ranging from affordable to luxury. Still, this simple watch complication is quite useful and adds a nice and familiar aesthetic to your dial. 

What is unfortunate about this type of simple calendar watch is that you will have to reset it almost every month.  This is because the simple date complication is not advanced enough to know which months have 28, 30, or 31 days. If you want a calendar complication that allows you to just set and forget it, then you should opt for another option. 

Here are the top-notch two simple date calendar watches  you are sure to enjoy.They offer unique designs and  versatile, classic aesthetics that can suit any occasion.

Ulysse Nardin Classico Ref. 8156-111-2/91

front view of Ulysse Nardin Classico Ref. 8156-111-2/91 watch

Ulysse Nardin is one of the iconic Swiss watch brands which offers many calendar watches with simple date features. In particular, the Ulysse Nardin Classico 8156-111-2/91 is a particular crowd favorite. Its case is made from 18k rose gold, and matches the striking ivory dial with luminous rose gold hands  and indices. The bracelet comes in a brown leather strap to complete the whole quintessential look. The date  aperture is located at 3 o’clock for easy reading, and is framed with gold so it stands out more clearly against the dial. Meanwhile the Ulysse Nardin logo is placed below the 12 o’clock marker to showcase the watch’s unique identity.

On top of that, this Ulysse Nardin Classico timepiece is powered by an in-house caliber UN-815 automatic movement. It offers a power reserve of up to 42 hours. This simple watch also comes with a sapphire crystal and a 50-meter water resistance rating. Be prepared to shell out around $9,829 USD to get your hands on it.  Indeed, considering it is a luxury timepiece furnished with outstanding features, this is quite a reasonable price.

Seiko International Edition Presage Ref. SRPG09J1

front view of Seiko International Edition Presage Ref. SRPG09J1 watch

Next up, we have this simple date watch from the quintessential Seiko Presage. This is a collection of simple yet classy dress watches from Seiko, all of which are equipped with unique excellent features. The Seiko Presage SRPG09J1, in particular, features a 60s style with a touch of modern functions. Its case is made from stainless steel, which perfectly contrasts its handsome black dial and black textile strap. It also comes with a hardlex crystal to protect the dial, and a transparent case back through which you can view the movement. As with the previous model, the date window can be found at 3 o’clock. This time, however, it is lined with silver instead, to stand out against the jet-black dial. 

Performance-wise, this Seiko watch is powered by a top-notch 4R35 caliber, with 41 hours of power reserve. The main highlight of this watch is its value-for-money price. It retails at just $469 USD.

Day and Date Calendar Watches

One level up on the sophistication ladder are watches that indicate the day of the week and the date. People love these types of pieces because they provide more information than the simple date calendar watches. Most of us think in days, not numbers. When we start our week every Monday, we schedule out what we have to do by each day’s name. Having both  the date and the day of the week listed on your wrist is incredibly useful for many people out there.

That said, there are two things that these day-date calendar watches are missing. First, they do not have a monthly display. While many will not be affected by this factor, some might crave the added information of a full calendar. Second, you will have to reset the date on most months and for leap years. This is yet another simple calendar watch that you cannot just set and forget.

Mido Baroncelli III Ref. M024.630.11.061.00

front view of Mido Baroncelli III Ref. M024.630.11.061.00 watch

If you are looking for a simple yet classy timepiece with day and date calendar features, the Mido Belluna M024.630.11.061.00 is your best choice. It has a larger size, measuring 42.5mm in diameter. Its case and bracelet are made out of durable stainless steel. In addition, the striking black anthracite dial with silver-tone hands and indices is the watch’s real show-stopper. On the right of the dial, you will find a day-date display with a white background. This Mido watch also comes with a high-quality sapphire crystal to protect the dial from damage.

When it comes to performance, this Mido Belluna watch is powered by a top-notch caliber 80 movement with 80 hours of power reserve. Available at just $749 USD, this day-date calendar watch is a worthy grab considering how reliable it is.

Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Day Date Ref. 0175276984063-0752205FC

front view of Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Day Date Ref. 0175276984063-0752205FC watch

If you love wearing leather strap watches, then look no further. This Oris Big Crown Propilot 0175276984063-0752205FC features a vintage-inspired style with a touch of the contemporary. The 45mm case is made from stainless steel,  and is paired with a quintessential brown leather strap. It also boasts a sunburst grey dial that is both modern and eye-catching. You can find the day, and date calendar features at 3 o’clock, along with luminous silver hands and painted white hour markers..

Like other Oris watches, this Oris Big Crown Propilot model is also equipped with a sapphire crystal. It is powered by a top-notch caliber 752 automatic movement,  a frequency of 28,800 and 38 hours of power reserve. In addition, this timepiece also comes with a whopping 100-meter water resistance rating. It is available at just $1,169 USD, a fair price considering its excellent features.

Annual Calendar Watches

Our next type of watch is what some people call “full” calendar or annual calendar watches. These are pieces that give you information on the day, date, and month. What many love about these types of timepieces is that they do not have to think about the date at all. Instead, with just a single glance, they can simply read every relevant piece of information off their dials. 

One issue with annual calendar watches is the same as with the previously-mentioned models. That is, annual calendar watches also need periodic resetting. The inner workings of these watches are not sophisticated enough to handle  the different days in a month and leap years. As such, you must do your best to maintain the accuracy of your watch by periodically resetting it. Secondly, some consumers might think that having all this information on the dial makes it too crowded. Indeed, annual calendar watches are for those who do not mind busier-looking dials with more complications. On the other hand, if you prefer a more minimalistic look, then you should opt for simpler watches like a day-date timepiece.

Omega Constellation Globemaster Annual Calendar Ref.

front view of Omega Constellation Globemaster Annual Calendar Ref. watch

There are numerous options for unique annual calendar watches in the Omega catalog. One particular variant is the exquisite Omega Constellation, which is available at $8,129 USD. This timepiece is one of the most sought-after luxury timepieces due to its superb features, including its day, date, and month functions. The small date display is placed unobtrusively at 6 o’clock. The months of the year, on the other hand, are listed in elegant cursive around the rim of the dial. This watch’s grandiose silver dial features four blued steel hands, one of which is used to indicate the month. In addition, this watch features a 41mm stainless steel case, paired with a brown alligator strap to complete its classy look. It also comes with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal that protects the dial from any scratches or damage.

This annual calendar timepiece runs on a first-class Swiss caliber 8922 with 55 hours of power reserve. Aside from that, the Omega Constellation watch is also equipped with a100 meter water-resistance rating. This is a beguiling and highly functional timepiece that is definitely worth getting.

IWC Portugieser Annual Calendar Ref. IW503502

front view of IWC Portugieser Annual Calendar Ref. IW503502 watch

If you are looking for a grandiose annual calendar watch equipped with top-notch features, then this IWC Portugieser IW503502 is the best option out there. It features a 44.2 mm stainless steel case, perfectly matching the exquisite blue dial. This dial comes with silver-minute hands and Arabic numeral indices. A black leather strap completes the whole fancy appearance. Like other IWC watches, this model also comes with a sapphire crystal to add an extra layer of protection on the dial.

What runs inside this annual calendar watch is a powerful caliber 52850 which has up to 168 hours of power reserve. In addition, this IWC Portugieser watch  is also equipped with a water-resistance rating of 30 meters.

Perpetual Calendar Watches

In the world of calendar watches, the perpetual calendar timepiece is the cream of the crop.  Like annual calendar watches, they also display the day, date and month. The difference between them, however, is that you never ever have to reset perpetual calendar watches. Though this feature may sound trivial, it is actually one of the most complex innovations timepiece manufacturers have ever created.This is a machine capable of telling how long every month is, and even accounts for leap years.

What makes this complex device even better is that it is small enough to fit on your wrist! As you might imagine, people pay top dollar prices for these  perpetual calendar watches because they are the perfect blend of craftsmanship, innovation, and convenience.

The only downside we can think of when it comes to perpetual calendars is that they are usually very expensive. That being said, in terms of calendar watches, they are the top choice for those who have the cash to spend.

I.W.C. Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Ref. IW503401

front view of I.W.C. Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Ref. IW503401 watch

Swiss watchmaker IWC has always been highly regarded for producing refined and grand time-telling accessories with superb craftsmanship. In particular, the IWC Portugieser IW503401 is its most sought-after piece. It features a 44.2mm luxurious white gold case. This  is complemented by its appealing blue dial and black leather strap, offering you a flamboyant yet chic and elegant aesthetic. 

The dial of this IWC Portugieser timepiece features four subdials and a small aperture located in between the 7 o’clock and 8 o’clock markers. This aperture tells you what exactly today’s year is. The subdials, on the other hand, track the day, date, month, and moon phase respectively. Another notable feature of this watch is its first-class caliber 52615 movement that beats at a whopping 28,800 vph. As mentioned, the price of a perpetual calendar timepiece can be quite exorbitant. As such, expect to spend at least $30,189 USD to experience the wonders of this IWC watch.

Chopard L.U.C. Perpetual Twin Ref. 168561-3001

front view of Chopard L.U.C. Perpetual Twin Ref. 168561-3001 watch

Another Swiss watch brand known for its lineup of grandiose and fine chronographs is Chopard. There is a plethora of high-caliber watches in its extensive catalog, including its collection of perpetual calendar timepieces. One model that features a perpetual calendar movement is the Chopard LUC 168561-3001, which retails at just $16,699 USD. The 43mm case is made from stainless steel, which goes perfectly with the exquisite silver dial and the black alligator strap. 

The dial features three chronograph subdials for the day of the week, the month, and the small seconds. You can also find a rectangular date display at the 12 o’clock position. In addition, this watch allows its users to mechanically calculate and display the duration of months that end in either 28, 30, and 31 days. This Chopard LUC watch is powered by a top-notch caliber L.U.C. 96.22-L movement. It offers 65 hours of power reserve when fully wound. 

Astronomical Calendar Watches

At this point, we are done discussing conventional calendar watch types. Now, let us take a look at a niche complication that very few people have. That is, of course, the astronomical calendar. If you buy one of these, you will get information on the moon in addition to your full calendar. For astronomers and space-lovers, this type is the perfect pick! 

Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre  “Far Side Of The Moon Watch” FB 1L.4  

closer view of Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre  “Far Side Of The Moon Watch” FB 1L.4   watch
Photo from Ferdinand Berthoud

The Ferdinand Berthoud “Far Side of the Moon” FB 1L.4  is one of horology’s most sought-after astronomical calendar timepieces. Ferdinand Berthoud only released ten pieces of this exquisite, limited edition timepiece. In addition, the brand innovatively combined the in-house tourbillon movement with a new exhibition of the phases of the moon. 

This astronomical calendar watch features a 44mm 18K white gold case and a striking grained, galvanized and lacquered black dial. This dial displays a cut-out center and comes with 18K white gold hour and minute hands, an 18K blue gold power reserve hand, and a rhodium-plated bronze seconds hand. The black alligator strap completes its fancy appearance. 

Furthermore, the patented complication of the watch is combined with the powerful caliber FB-T.FC.L. This guarantees that the watch has astronomical precision, promising no more than a one-day difference in 577 years of operation.

Hermès Arceau L’heure De La Lune Watch

front view of Hermès Arceau L’heure De La Lune Watch
Photo from Watchuseek

This is an extraordinary astronomical calendar watch from the timeless brand Hermes. On the dial of this Hermès Arceau L’heure De La Lune watch you can see an incredible sight of Earth’s satellite, along with a concurrent display of the moon phases in both spheres. It also features a 43mm 18-carat white gold case, which perfectly matches the striking dial, and Hermes’s signature alligator leather strap.

This astronomical calendar watch is powered by a first-class in-house caliber H1837 movement with a 3.7mm thickness. This movement integrates the watch’s complication flawlessly, with no visibly mechanical elements. It also comes with minute, hour, and date functions, providing you with all the timekeeping features you need.

Final Thoughts

You have two decisions to make when you are shopping for calendar watches. First is what you want out of your timepiece. Is a simple date calendar watch enough? Would you like to have a perpetual calendar? Or is something in the middle best for you? Second, you should choose a price range. If your budget is unlimited, then a perpetual piece is definitely on the table. If you have less to spend, however, then you may want to target simpler watches with just a day-date indicator.

Ultimately, telling you the date, day, month, and even the year is yet another way timepieces can serve you. Now that you know the different types of calendar watches, you can purchase one that suits your tastes perfectly with confidence!

If you’re interested in the best chronographs available in the horology market today, then have some time to check and read our article about Top 30 Chronograph Watches Under 2000.

Photo credits to unless stated otherwise.

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