13 Great Panda-Dial Watches from Under $700 to Over $30,000
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13 Great Panda-Dial Watches from Under $700 to Over $30,000

Panda-dial watches — a category of chronographs that derive their nickname from their two-tone dial colorways, generally defined by black subdials on a white main dial — have gone from a niche favorite to a widely popular genre for collectors and enthusiasts, who prize their high-contrast sharpness and legibility. Even in an era of watchmaking when bolder and brighter colorways seem more dominant than ever, there is something about the black-and-white simplicity of pandas, and their mirror-image cousins, the so-called “reverse pandas” (white subdials on black dial), that still strike a chord. Here are 13 of our favorites.

Seiko Prospex Speedtimer SSC813

Price: $675, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 13.3mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45.5mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Seiko Solar Caliber V192

The original Seiko Speedtimer, released in 1969, was among the world’s first self-winding chronograph watches, equipped with the legendary Caliber 6139. When Seiko revived the Speedtimer, as part of its sport-oriented Prospex collection, it decided to eschew the automatic mechanical movement in favor a new, high-tech, solar-powered one, Caliber V192, which enhances reliability and runs up to six months on a single charge from any light source. This panda-dial model matches a black tachymeter-scale bezel to a matte-white dial with three black subdials and black-bordered hands. Seiko’s proprietary LumiBrite substance illuminates the hands in the dark, while red detailing for the central seconds hand and the elapsed minutes hand on the subdial at 6 o’clock make for easy reading of the chronograph displays.

Tissot PRX Automatic Chronograph

Price: $1,895, Case size: 42mm, Thickness: 14.8mm, Lug to Lug: 46.5mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic ETA Valjoux 7753

Tissot’s 1970s-inspired PRX family welcomed its first Automatic Chronograph models in 2022. The watch’s satin-finished steel case measures 42mm, larger than the three-hand models, and a relatively modest 14.5mm in thickness. The first PRX Automatic Chronographs offer another retro-yet-trendy visual element with their bicolor “panda” or “reverse panda” dial layout, with subdials at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock and a date window at 4:30, along with luminous-coated baton hands and faceted indexes. Inside the case beats the sturdy, self-winding ETA Valjoux 7753 movement, which boasts an impressive level of high-horology finishing for a timepiece in this price range as well as an extended, above-average power reserve of 60 hours.

Hamilton American Classic Intra-Matic Auto Chrono

Price: $2,345, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 14.4mm, Lug-to-Lug: 49mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Hamilton H-31 (Valjoux 7750 base)

Based on the original Hamilton Chrono-Matic — one of the world’s first self-winding chronographs, debuting in 1968 — the Intra-Matic Autochrono has a 42-mm steel case with elongated lugs, pump-stye pushers, and a large, right-side-mounted crown. Its black-on-cream “panda” dial has an outer black tachymeter scale, applied hour markers with luminescent inserts, and two parallel, snail-finished black subdials for running seconds and 30 elapsed chronograph minutes. A vintage-style Hamilton logo appears at 12 o’clock. The movement is the automatic Hamilton Caliber H-31, based on the ETA 7750, which maintains a 60-hour power reserve. The Milanese-style mesh steel bracelet adds another appealing “retro” touch calling to mind the era of the original watch.

Maurice Lacroix Aikon Chronograph

Price: $3,550, Case size: 44mm, Thickness: 15mm, Lug Width: 25mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200 meters, Movement: Automatic Caliber ML112 (ETA Valjoux 7750 base)

Maurice Lacroix’s Aikon collection has planted itself firmly at the forefront of the Swiss brand’s extensive portfolio, prized by enthusiasts for its sporty, avant-garde aesthetic, integrated-bracelet design, and value-proposition pricing. The Aikon Chronograph features all the hallmarks of the popular three-hand editions, including the hobnail-textured Clous de Paris motif and applied baton indexes on the dial, and six claw-like tabs on the circumference of the bezel. The white dial hosts a vertically oriented assortment of black, snailed subdials at 12, 9, and 6 o’clock, balanced by the day and date in a double rectangular window at 3 o’clock. Tha case, with its meticulous array of brushed and polished finishes, flows seamlessly into the supple link bracelet. The ETA-based ML112 automatic caliber beats inside, powering the time and calendar functions in addition to the stopwatch, activated by the button-shaped pushers flanking the octagonal screw-down crown.

Frederique Constant Flyback Chronograph Manufacture

Price: $4,295 - $4,595, Case Size: 42mm, Case Height: 15.5mm, Strap Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meter, Movement: Automatic FC-760

Powered by an in-house movement developed specially for it, Frederique Constant’s Flyback Chronograph is inspired by models from the 1930s. The automatic Caliber FC-760 inside has an unconventional, star-shaped column wheel that governs the integrated stopwatch’s start, stop, and reset functions and works in unison with the operating lever to ensure the mechanism’s exceptionally smooth operation. The case measures 42mm in diameter and available in either stainless steel or rose-gold-plated steel. The tricompax dial, here in black-and-white “reverse panda” splendor, features subdials at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock for the 30-minute chronograph counter, analog date display, and small seconds indicator, respectively. In another nod to its historical inspirations, the tachymeter scale appears on the dial’s periphery rather than on the bezel. A high complication at an amazing price point, this watch’s value is enhanced by the haute horlogerie decorations on the movement, visible through a sapphire caseback.

Tudor Black Bay Chronograph

Price: $5,000 - $7,200, Case Size: 41mm, Case Thickness: 14.79mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200 meters, Movement: Automatic Tudor Caliber MT5813

Tudor’s flagship Black Bay collection, which takes its cues from vintage models of the Rolex-owned brand’s Oyster Prince Submariner, welcomed its first chronographs in 2017 and added crowd-pleasing “panda” and “reverse panda” models in 2021. To develop the movement for the Black Bay Chronographs, Tudor turned not to parent brand Rolex but to fellow Swiss sports-watch giant Breitling. The resulting Caliber MT5813, which uses Breitling’s self-winding B01 movement as a base, features an integrated chronograph powered by a column wheel, a 70-hour power reserve and a COSC chronometer certification. The anodized aluminum bezel on the Black Bay Chronograph’s 41mm steel case is inscribed with a tachymeter scale rather than the dive-time scale characteristic of the Black Bay family. The screw-down crown and chrono pushers help ensure the same 200-meter water resistance as the diving models.

Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Bicompax Annual

Price: $8,100, Case Size: 41mm, Case Height: 14.05mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic Caliber CFB1972

Carl F. Bucherer introduced the Bicompax Annual in 2019, basing its vintage-look design on a chronograph that the Swiss watchmaker originally released in 1956. The modern timepiece, which comes in a 41mm stainless steel case and, in the model featured here, a silver-and-black “panda” colorway for the dial, offers the rare combination of a chronograph and an annual calendar. The latter function features a  large date display in the upper half of the dial and a month indication in a small window, positioned between 4 and 5 o’clock. Two subdials at 3 and 9 o’clock tally the elapsed minutes and running seconds, and an old-school tachymeter scale around the edge of the dial adds another layer of functionality. Other historical details include the dial’s syringe-shaped hands, vintage-style Arabic hour numerals, and a box-style sapphire crystal. Carl F. Bucherer developed the Caliber CFB 1972 (an ETA base movement with a Dubois Dépraz module) to power the multifunctional timepiece, which is limited to 888 pieces, in homage to the company’s founding date of 1888.

Breitling Chronomat B01 42

Price: $8,750, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 15.1mm, Lug-to-Lug: 50.5mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Breitling Caliber B01

The most recent update of Breitling’s historical Chronomat collection takes inspiration from the fondly remembered 1980s models, resurrecting those watches’ ratcheting bezels with easy-to-grip rider tabs and adding a functional element: the tabs at 12 o’clock and 3 o’clock are interchangeable, which means the first 15-minute interval on the scale can be used for either counting up or counting down. The Chronomat B01 42 rolled off the runway in 2020, with a substantial but not overly imposing case diameter of 42mm and a profile slightly over 15mm. Its tricompax dial, here in a two-tone “panda” configuration, has subdials at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock for chronograph minutes and hours and running seconds, respectively. The chronograph pushers flank a fluted crown that screws down securely into the case for a 200-meter water resistance. The timepiece contains the Breitling Caliber B01, which holds a lengthy 70-hour power reserve, and comes on a distinctive “Rouleaux” integrated bracelet, a retro element resurrected from earlier generations of Breitling watches.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 2023 Edition

Price: $15,100, Case Size: 40mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Rolex Caliber 4131

In 1962, Rolex became official timekeeper of the Daytona 500, and one year later it released the Ref. 6239 Cosmograph, nicknamed the “Daytona,” its now-famous racing-inspired chronograph watch. The Daytona famously nicknamed “Paul Newman” was indisputably one of the first and most famous “panda dial” watches, and its spirit lives on in the model released for the Daytona’s 60th birthday in 2023 (above), which is distinguished from its forebears by subtle refinements in the case for more pronounced light reflections; new dial colorways to harmoniously accentuate the contrast between dial, subdials, and subdial rings; and a new movement, Caliber 4131, an evolution of Caliber 4130 enhanced with Rolex’s energy-saving Chronergy escapement, a host of new decorative finishes, and a yellow-gold rotor. For the first time in the series, the Daytona proudly displays this high-octane horological engine behind a sapphire exhibition caseback.

Zenith Chronomaster Original Triple Calendar

Price: $13,900, Case Size: 38mm, Case Height: 13mm, Lug to Lug: 46mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic El Primero 3610

Most watch aficionados know Zenith for its distinctively designed chronographs, equipped with the game-changing, high-frequency El Primero caliber, What many don’t know is that El Primero was designed from the beginning to be easily augmented with calendar and moon-phase functions in addition to its built-in stopwatch. The recently released Chronomaster Original Triple Calendar, here in its “panda” version, uses the same 38mm steel case, bezel-less construction, and domed sapphire crystal as the never-released prototypes from 1970; in fact, the watch is based on the exact blueprint used for the original Ref. A386 El Primero model of 1969. The black subdials on the opaline white dial, for elapsed minutes and hours and running seconds, are joined by two unobtrusive, symmetrical windows for the day and month in the upper part of the dial, while the date takes its traditional position at 4:30 and a moon-phase display is elegantly integrated into the 60-minute chrono counter at 6 o’clock. The rose-gold-toned hands and hour markers echo the gold moon in the lunar disk. The movement inside is El Primero Caliber 3610, with a power reserve of 60 hours and accuracy to 1/10 second for the chronograph thanks to its lightning-quick 5-Hz frequency.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Chronograph

Price: $18,600, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 12.01mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Caliber GP03300

Introduced in 1975, and redesigned frequently over the years since, the Laureato returned to its elegantly simple sport-luxury roots in 2016, and expanded into chronograph versions in 2018. The octagonal bezel and clous de Paris checkerboard pattern on this model’s “panda” dial are mainstays of the original design, as are the baton hands and seamlessly integrated H-link bracelet with alternating brushed and polished surfaces. A keen eye will also note the octagonal shape of the chronograph subdials, two for the chronograph minutes and hours counters, the third for the running seconds display, echoing the look of the bezel. The larger model, in the 42-mm case, has its hour markers secured to the minutes circle features a clear sapphire caseback that provides a view of the in-house movement, the self-winding GP03300-01 caliber, with 63 jewels, a 28,800-vph frequency, and a 46-hour power reserve. 

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Panda

Price: $32,400, Case Size: 42.5mm, Case Thickness: 13.7mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 150 meters, Movement: Automatic Vacheron Constantin Caliber 5200

Tracing its aesthetic roots to a fondly remembered sport-luxury watch that Vacheron Constantin released in the 1970s, the 222, the Overseas collection has become a versatile and popular cornerstone of the centuries-old Genevan manufacture’s current lineup. In early 2023, a new panda-dial version of the Overseas Chronograph made its debut, with a silver sunburst dial, black velvet-finished subdials, and a black minute track on the dial’s periphery. The 42.5mm steel case is topped by the hallmark six-sided bezel of the Overseas family, inspired by Vacheron’s Maltese Cross emblem, and mounted on either a rubber strap or a steel case with the same Maltese cross motif defining its shaped links. The in-house, self-winding Caliber 5200 powers the watch; its solid gold rotor, visible through a sapphire caseback, features a relief engraving of a wind rose, a nod to the model’s nautical inspiration.

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Moonshine Gold

Price: $32,400, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 13.2mm, Lug to Lug: 47.5mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Manual-winding Omega Caliber 3861

Omega’s Speedmaster gained renown as the first watch on the moon, and the Swiss maker celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing in grand style in 2019 with the unveiling of a special tribute edition of the Speedmaster in a new precious metal called Moonshine Gold. Omega subsequently used the proprietary alloy, composed of yellow gold, silver and palladium, for the case of the Speedmaster “Gold Panda” edition in 2022, which features a dial made of the same material as the case and hosting three blackened subdials and indexes and a black ceramic tachymeter bezel. The watch is mounted on an integrated black rubber strap with a relief lunar-surface pattern on its inner side, a visual and tactile bonus for fans of the Moonwatch and its history. Purists will also appreciate the movement inside, Omega’s Caliber 3861, which is still manually wound, like the one that ticked on the moon back in the summer of '69,  but has also been enhanced with a co-axial escapement, a silicon balance spring, 50 hours of power reserve and 15,000 gauss of antimagnetic resistance.


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