The Panda Dial: A Roundup of Some Favorites

Since its inception in 1969, the chronograph has quickly become one of the most popular complications. Its design is instantly recognizable. It features a distinct layout with either two or three registers organized on the dial. The result is highly functional and easy to read while equally sporty and versatile. Over the years, certain brands have played with this design, making it even more iconic. For instance, Rolex introduced a unique variation showcasing a white dial with contrasting black subdials with the Daytona. Soon, the community dubbed this style the panda dial. Shortly after, Breitling created an inverse of the design featuring a black dial, contrasted by white subdials with the Superocean. This combination aptly became the reverse panda. Since then, both iterations of the panda dial have become highly coveted among chronographs. Here, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite models showcasing this beloved design.

OMEGA Speedmaster Date

There are many reasons to love the Speedmaster. It is, of course, the watch that went to the moon. However, before the Speedmaster became the Moonwatch, it was simply a sports and racing chronograph. It was also the first model OMEGA’s first to feature a triple register dial. Here, we see it with a classic panda dial. The brand further emphasizes the black and white contrast with the black tachymeter bezel insert framing the white dial. There’s also a unique yet subtle date display nestled between the four and five-o’clock positions. The result is the perfect example of what makes the panda dial so iconic.

TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 17 Jack Heuer Limited Edition

The TAG Heuer brand is synonymous with their sports and racing chronographs. The Carrera certainly wasn’t their first. However, it may very well be their most well-known and popular chronograph model, all thanks to Jack Heuer. Jack Heuer was the great grandson of the brand’s founder. He’s responsible for the creation of the Carrera in 1962 and the revival of the model in 1996. Since then, the brand has continued to honor and celebrate him through special edition iterations of the model. One example is this unique reverse panda dial variation. Here, we have a two-register chronograph with a horizontal arrangement and a date display at the six-o’clock position.

Longines Heritage Diver Chronograph

As the name suggests, Longines’ Heritage Diver Chronograph is a vintage inspired watch, down to its reverse panda dial. The model features two white registers in a horizontal layout on a black dial along with prominent red accents throughout. In addition, you’ll notice other iconic 1960s features like the helmet style case and faceted outer bezel. Together these carefully crafted design elements truly create an authentic retro look and feel. Inside, you’ll find a modern upgrade in the form of the Longines’ Caliber L651 self-winding mechanical movement with a 42-hour power reserve.

  

Franck Muller Master Banker Chronograph Transamerica Limited Edition

Franck Muller offers a unique interpretation of a panda dial in their Master Banker Chronograph Transamerica Limited Edition. The model features a distinctive arrangement of four registers. First, there’s a date display subdial at the three-o’clock position. Then, there’s the option for two additional time zones in the subdials at the twelve and six-o’clock positions. Next, there’s a small seconds subdial at the nine-o’clock position. Lastly, the 30-minute chronograph complication runs around the exterior of the dial. Despite this one-of-a-kind arrangement, the model reflects the classic color scheme with a white dial, black registers, and red accents.

Tudor Tiger Prince Date Chronograph

Legendary golfer Tiger Woods has had a number of partnerships within the watch space throughout his career. Though he’s most closely associated with Rolex, he had a short stint working with Tudor from 1997 to 2002. Their collaboration resulted in the creation of a single, namesake watch: the Tiger Prince. The model is a special edition variation of the brand’s Prince Chronograph. It’s an excellent choice for the green or anywhere a sport or adventure might take you. Throughout its history, the Prince has been associated with the ruggedness whether on the job or on the road. This particular version features a classic panda dial in addition to a black bezel and red accents on the chronograph hand and “Tiger” logo.

Breitling Superocean Chronograph

The Breitling Superocean is one of the original reverse panda dials. Today, early references of the model have become highly sought after in the pre-owned market. For instance, one fetched over $65,000 at auction in 2016. While this particular example is a more modern reference, it still showcases the iconic design. Here, the rich black dial features a distinctive concentric circle pattern that adds a unique texture. In addition, Breitling has positioned the three, white chronograph subdials in a vertically oriented layout. This allows the dial to accommodate the day and date indicators at the three-o’clock position.

IWC Big Ingenieur Chronograph

Once more, we see yet another take on the panda dial with the IWC Big Ingenieur Chronograph. Here, the brand has created a reverse panda dial with the chronograph registers arranged vertically. Inside the subdial at the six-o’clock position lies a date window. IWC goes on to create balance and symmetry on the dial by offsetting this vertical arrangement with the brand and model name situated horizontally. The color scheme remains predominantly black and white with one small red accent at the 60-second marking.

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Caitlyn is the founder of Grey Ghost, a New York City-based boutique content marketing agency with a passion for artists, entrepreneurs, small businesses, and startups. She believes in quality over quantity, creative thinking, and, above all, using language as powerful tool to build lasting connections.

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