Maybe I’m going colourblind or maybe it’s becoming more prevalent – either way, I’m spotting more and more panda dials out there on wrists. Actually, who am I trying to kid — it’s definitely a trend, a flow-on from the overwhelming vintage onslaught that has dominated watch design over the last decade or so. In case you’re not au fait with the nomenclature, a panda dial refers to a white dial with black sub-dials resembling, you know, a panda.
With that in mind, here are eight of the best …
The Rolex Daytona ref. 116500LN
Yeah, we had to include this. The latest gen-Daytona is still one of the hottest properties in watches, even though it was released in 2016. And while we’re fully aware this model is stretching the panda definition thanks to its black rim only sub-dials, thanks to Rolex’s huge panda legacy we can’t not include it.
The Omega Speedmaster CK 2998
Omega has made a few impressive panda takes on the Speedmaster over the years, and the CK 2998 is no exception — with its high-contrast design, petite case size and subtle red pops, it’s hard not to fall in love with it.
Seiko Automatic Chronograph 50th Anniversary SRQ029J
So two of the three sub-dials are panda, which is good enough for us. Plus, the size, style and unimpeachable history of this anniversary Seiko make it an obvious choice in this line-up.
Dan Henry 1962 Racing Chronograph
If you like the panda chronograph look but want it for less — Dan Henry is your guy, or at least his 1962 Racing Chronograph is. Heavily inspired by heritage bangers from the likes of Universal Genève, this quartz chrono is more of a loving tribute than an calculated appropriation, and that’s a good thing.
TAG Heuer Autavia Jo Siffert Collector’s Edition
You can’t have a list of racing chronos and not include TAG Heuer. And the Autavia Jo Siffert Collector’s Edition, an exceptionally limited edition put together by Calibre 11, is one of the best in the business.
Girard-Perregaux Laureato Chronograph
Girard-Perregaux doubled down on the dial details here — the panda layout is (almost) overshadowed by the rich Clous de Paris effect, for a watch that is as mesmerising as it is attention-seeking.
Tissot Heritage 1973 Chronograph
Tissot is another brand with a proud motor sports heritage, and this cushiony panda (inspired by a 1973 model) is a particularly hot take on the genre. Love those highlights!
Zenith El Primero A384
And finally, the first — the El Primero that is. Zenith’s tribute to their pioneering high-beat automatic chronograph, in a funky case shape to match the funky dial, is a perfectly pitched panda.