Though brands and collectors have long ceased competing in the number of complications presented in a single timepiece, the prestige and the attraction of the movement is still often determined by the functions not related to the basic timekeeping. A talk about any piece, whether in a media or in a private conversation, inevitably begins with a list of the watch capabilities, and so, the pieces with no extra ‘wow’ factor remain slightly in the shade.
Let alone the eternal controversy between the purists hating the date window and the supporters of its presence on the dial. If brands continue to equip most of their timepieces with this indicator, this probably means the majority of their customers are satisfied with such a scenario. Let's just move on to the main question: suppose, for aesthetic or purely practical reasons, you decided to purchase a watch that displays the time alone. What are the pros and cons awaiting you on the way?
Once you start browsing the catalogs, you immediately face quite an unexpected issue: there’s not that much truly uncomplicated luxury watches around. Those few roughly be divided into two major categories: pure dress watches like Patek Phillipe Calatrava, A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin, or Faberge Altruist Black, and sports three-handers – think of Panerai Marina Militare, Rolex Submariner ref 114060, or Roger Dubuis Excalibur. Sure, if you are after some statement designs, you can always look for skeletonized pieces or watches featuring various sophisticated decorative techniques, but that's totally a different subject. If we’re talking classical exterior mixed with a complete absence of complications be prepared for a couple of models per brand. On the other hand, the practical side fully compensates the drawbacks of pursuing a rare beast. Even common sense suggests, that the more parts there are in a movement, the sooner some of them fail. Of course, any watch would require regular maintenance, but a minute repeater or a split-chronograph are by their very nature much more fragile pieces than, say, a three-handed divers.
While everything depends on personal taste, there’s no denying that with the disappearance of additional functionality, the design inevitably goes cleaner. And if you like readable dials, not overloaded with information, you don’t expect to become a star of the party (never works actually) demonstrating to people around the chime of gongs or a smiling silhouette of the moon, exactly coinciding with its phase in the sky, two or three hands would suffice. And again, the highest price range and prestige level pretty much don’t depend on the complications. Just check out Philippe Dufour’s masterpieces.