Panda chronographs are favourites among watch fans. Providing high-contrast readability, these sport watches with white or silver dials and contrasting black sub-dials – or the opposite, the so-called reversed panda, with black dial and light sub-counters – became all the rage during the 1960s and 1970s. However, their modern-retro flair never went out of style, and 2021 brought its crop of Panda dials. We’ve selected five that we think are the best among this specific style of chronograph.
Carl F. Bucherer Heritage BiCompax Annual
The elegant Carl F. Bucherer Heritage BiCompax Annual is back with a reverse Panda dial featuring a black galvanised background and snailed silver-coloured counters. The retro Arabic hour numerals, the tachymeter scale, the syringe-style hour and minute hands and the double-domed sapphire crystal underscore the watch’s vintage flair. Visible via the exhibition caseback, the automatic movement combines a chronograph and annual calendar indications with a big date at 12 and a subtle rectangular aperture lodged between 4 and 5 o’clock for the month. More details in our hands-on article here.
Quick facts: 41mm steel case – calibre CFB1972 (ETA 2894 base) – automatic chronograph / annual calendar – water-resistant to 30m – calfskin or rubber strap – limited edition of 888 pieces – EUR 6,900
Hamilton Intra-Matic chronograph H
The retro-styled Hamilton Chronograph was available only with automatic movements until the recent launch of the Intra-Matic H. 40mm in diameter, the ‘H’ is powered by a hand-wound version of the iconic ETA – Valjoux 7750. It is available either with a Panda or reverse Panda dial, on a leather strap or on a mesh bracelet. Retail price starts from EUR 1,895 which, as often with Hamilton, seems excellent value of the money. More details in our hands-on article here.
Quick facts: 40mm steel case – calibre H-51 – hand-wound chronograph based on the 7753 architecture, specifically developed for Hamilton – water-resistant to 100m – leather strap or mesh bracelet – from EUR 1,895
Parmigiani Fleurier Tondagraph GT
Introduced last year, the Tondagraph GT is a line of luxurious sports watches with integrated bracelets. This year, the collection welcomes new versions of the chronograph fitted with superb hand-guilloché Panda dials. The 42mm streamlined case stands out with its knurled bezel, elegant tear-drop lugs and pushers. The steel version features a rare combination of a chronograph and an annual calendar. It is available either on a black rubber strap or bracelet. More information in our introducing article here.
Quick facts: 42mm steel case – in-house calibre PF043 – automatic chronograph with annual calendar – water-resistant to 100m – CHF 18,500 on strap, CHF 19,500 on bracelet
Piaget Polo Blue Panda Automatic Chronograph
Released in a limited edition of 888 pieces, this elegant yet sporty take on the Polo chronograph comes with a silver-and-blue colour scheme, contrasting elements and an integrated textured rubber strap. Turning the watch over, the sapphire caseback offers an unimpeded view of the calibre 1160P, a thin and compact integrated chronograph movement with column wheel and vertical clutch. More details in our hands-on article here.
Quick facts: 42mm steel case – in-house calibre 1160P – automatic integrated chronograph – water-resistant to 100m – blue rubber strap – limited edition of 888 pieces – EUR 15,800
Tudor Black Bay Chrono Panda
Since its introduction in 2012, this vintage-inspired diver’s watch has been Tudor’s most successful collection. For 2021, the brand has presented an interesting evolution of the Black Bay Chronograph available with Panda or reserved Panda dials. The 41mm case has been slimmed down (now at 14.2mm) and is now fitted with a contrasting anodised aluminium bezel. The calibre MT5813 still powers the watch. Based on the Breitling B01, this modern integrated chronograph features a column wheel and vertical clutch, but also a variable inertia balance, an anti-magnetic silicon balance spring. Its precision is chronometer-certified by COSC. More details in our review with video here.
Quick facts: 41mm steel case – calibre MT5813 – automatic integrated chronograph – water-resistant to 200m – steel bracelet, bund leather or textile strap – EUR 4,920 on bracelet