The only reason bath tubs come with an overflow is because of insurance purposes. So the answer is, no you don’t have to have an overflow in your bath. However, it is recommended to have an overflow if you have kids and a lot of carpets in the house. So kids+carpets-overflow can spell a bad thing ito bank balance, cause the insurance will not pay out if there is no overflow in your bath.
So what to do if you really do not want an overflow in your expensive free standing bath. Well the answer is simple, you install an odourless floor drain. It is very similar to a shower waste which is placed close to the bath tub. The secret for an effective wet bathroom is that the depth of the floor. It should be at least 5-10mm lower than any other floor that is connected to it. Ideally one should also allow for a 1% slope towards the odourless floor waste. So why do I call it an odourless floor waste. Simple, is has a small hatch inside that opens up whenever water fall onto it. You cannot use a shower waste since it has a p-trap which must always be full of water. If the water level goes down, air will come through the trap from the effluent pipes into the bathroom. Let me guarantee you, you don’t not want that.
So on which baths are overflow’s optional? Mainly the free standing stone types such as the Acanthus, Deonne, Elaine, Maya, Carmen, Emily, Moloko, Barcelona, Ravello etc. With single rim baths an overflow is not a problem, but you will see the piping on the outside of the bath. With double rimmed baths, such as the Acanthus and Moloko, you will not see the plumbing, but you will need an access hatch.
An access hatch is only a problem if you want to install deck mounted taps which are accessible at the front of the bath, not at the wall side. You cannot have deck mounted taps or an overflow without an access hatch, your poor plumber will never be able to install these items.