I used to really dislike dates that weren't at 2, 6 or 9, but I've mellowed now, and it no longer bothers me (in fact, I have a CW Trident with the date at the position shown above).
I think that is chosen as it means all of the cardinal markers (ie 3, 6, 9, 12) can match and the watch is balanced. Below 4 seems quite common, as again, it doesn't interfere with that marker- not an issue for the CW, but definitely for the Spork, which uses this location to great effect I think, and very discretely.
I'm a bit undecided about the cyclops- I've had a couple of Rollies that had them, but they are so part of the Rolex look that they were ok. That said, these days I would prefer a Sea Dweller to a Sub, for that reason.
One thing I do not like is date windows that don't match the colour of the dial. Not so bad if your dial is yellow or orange, but white on black/ black on white? No thanks!