Good news: it seems the black-and-white “panda” dial chronograph is back in fashion. Rolex’s Daytona update from last year was no doubt early to the revival, but only a month into 2017, we’re already seeing brand-new panda-dial offerings from the likes of Hamilton, Audemars Piguet and Zenith. It’s a bit surprising that it’s taken so long, considering the popularity of vintage chronographs from the ’60s and ’70s which popularized the black-and-white two-tone look.
Although the color scheme is coming back, and although it once was actually quite common, some of the coolest vintage pieces from the era are absolute rarities. And that’s exactly what we have here, should you be looking to scratch that panda-dial itch: a sought-after Seiko, a forgotten Heuer and an iconic actor’s favorite Rolex, all for sale and all rocking our favorite two-tone look.
Seiko 6138-8020 ‘Panda’
What we like: Seiko fans love their nicknames, and, go figure, this black-and-white version of the 1970s 6138 chronograph is affectionately named the “Panda.” The 6138 is an evolution of Seiko’s first automatic chronograph, the 6139 (which is also one of the first automatic chronographs ever and their first to be worn in space), adding a second subdial. Despite its provenance, the 6138 is a great value on the vintage market, considering that more saught-after Pandas usually come in at a bit over $1,000.
From the seller: “The chronograph works and resets very well. The watch features Seiko’s date adjustment system and functions correctly, and the watch is keeping time and running strong.”
What we like: This Heuer Montreal is a bit of an oddity. It had a relatively short production run of 11 years and shared the same basic case as the Monza, had splashes of bright color on the dial and, originally, featured Heuer’s in-house caliber 12 (later versions used the Valjoux 7750). The Montreal was never made in particularly large numbers to begin with, and according to Analog/Shift, the panda configuration is even less common.
From the seller: “The case is in fantastic condition with no signs of over-polishing. Light signs of wear from regular use. White panda dial is crisp and shows light, even signs of patina on the luminescent elements. The hands are similarly in excellent condition, with matching patina. Original case back and signed Heuer crown.”
1970 Rolex Daytona 6262 White Paul Newman Dial
What we like: Though it’s almost identical to a standard Daytona (aside from some deails on the dial), the Paul Newman is a rare bird; supposedly, one Newman was made for every 20 Standard Daytonas. It was famously worn by — you guessed it — Paul Newman, for decades, up until his death. Thus, it generally sells for four to five times as much as a standard vintage Daytona. For most vintage collectors, it’s a grail.
From the seller: “Excellent pump pusher case with light wear from use and correct 727 movement and clean 200 UPH bezel. The dial has aged to a bright cream color. The three o’clock marker is partially chipped and the five o’clock maker has aged to a darker hue. The watch is running at COSC spec.”