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These 7 Chronographs Sport Our Favorite Colorway

The classic black-on-white design of the 1960s called the “Panda Dial” is making a comeback on modern chronograph watches.

american classic intra matic chronograph h watch
Hamilton

It’s funny — as popular as the panda dial is among vintage watches, it took a while to catch on again in modern watches. The black-and-white, high-contrast design, named after everyone’s favorite bamboo-eating bear, usually refers to a chronograph with a white main dial and two or three black subdials, usually at three, six and nine o’clock. The reverse is called, well, a “reverse panda,” naturally.

It was a staple on chronographs made during the ’60s and ’70s, perhaps worn most famously on the iconic Rolex Daytona “Paul Newman.” Even for a design that by nature lacks any real use of color, it’s an eye-catching look and a favorite amongst enthusiasts. And as watchmakers have realized the love these classic black-and-white chronographs get from watch geeks, they slowly but surely brought them back to the industry. Here are seven you can buy right now.

Dan Henry 1964 Gran Turismo Chronograph
danhenrywatches.com
$260.00

The panda dial is a look, so there’s no need to spend thousands on a mechanical chronograph watch when you can get it in quartz for a couple hundred bucks. Dan Henry is particularly good at offering classic styles such as this, made with the eye for detail of a vintage collector, at budget prices. Housed in a 38mm case, it comes in a few variations, including versions with two or three subdials and reverse-panda variants as well.

Movement: Seiko VK63 meca-quartz
Size: 38mm
Water resistance: 50m

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Seiko Prospex Solar Speedtimer
Seiko seikousa.com
$675.00

With its solar-charging quartz movement, easy-wearing 39mm case, robust build and a respected name on the dial, you could do a lot worse for the money than this panda version of Seiko's Speedtimer collection. Referencing the brand's history of chronographs, the collection has a retro vibe but is consistent with the modern company's approach of reinterpreting its vintage watches with contemporary character.

Movement: Seiko V192 solar chronograph
Size: 39mm
Water resistance: 200m

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Yema Speedgraf
$1,499.00

Well, ok, the Speedgraf is styled as a reverse-panda and not a “true panda” (a limited edition panda version is, unfortunately, sold out), but we don’t mind if you don’t . It’s worth including here not least because it looks great, but also because it offers a strong value with an interesting Seiko mechanical chronograph movement. Here that movement comes in a captivatingly retro package from French brand Yema, with a tantalizing 39mm case and other goodies — like a domed, box-style sapphire crystal.

Movement: Seiko NE86 automatic chronograph
Size: 39mm
Water resistance: 100m

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Hamilton American Classic Intra-Matic Chronograph H
hamiltonwatch.com
$2,045.00

The Hamilton Intra-Matic collection is all about a classic 1960s style, and it’s captured perfectly by the Chronograph H. An evolution from the Intra-Matic Auto Chrono (also very cool and available in panda dial versions), the newest hand-wound version has a refined vibe and and feels like the epitome of the midcentury panda-dial look — though other dial variations exist as well. It’s powered by an ETA movement with a 60-hour power reserve, and its bi-compax layout and round case make it look a little sino-ursine, indeed.

Movement: H-51 hand-wound chronograph
Size: 40mm
Water resistance: 100m

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Tudor Black Bay Chrono
tudorwatch.com
$4,900.00

Utterly nailing the panda look, Tudor's 2021 versions of the Black Bay Chrono were widely received as its best yet. Also available in a reverse-panda option, they channel some vibes of sister brand Rolex's Daytona while still very much retaining a character all their own. More than a skin-deep update, these versions of the Black Bay Chrono offer a slightly thinner case than previously, making them more wearable than ever.

Movement: Tudor MT5813 automatic chronograph (COSC-certified)
Size: 41mm
Water resistance: 200m

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Zenith Chronomaster Revival El Primero A384
zenith-watches.com
$8,400.00

One of the first watches to house the famous El Primero automatic chronograph in 1969, the A384 has a unique look. So it was cool to see Zenith bring it back in 2019 for the movement’s 50th anniversary in a historically accurate recreation, even down to its 37mm sizing. Inside its got a modern descendent of the El Primero, of course, beating at its signature 5Hz. The fame and popularity of the original A384 is no doubt helped by its striking black-on-white dial.

Movement: El Primero 400 automatic
Size: 37mm
Water resistance: 50m

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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph
audemarspiguet.com
$26,331.00

This take on Audemars Piguet's chronograph version of the stalwart Royal Oak represents only aesthetic tweaks compared to existing watches. While there are few technical changes compared with other models, the biggest difference is a slew of two-tone colorways including — you guessed it — black sub-dials on a white background, which seems to suit the sleek, integrated design of the iconic sports watch perfectly. Want it in reverse-panda? They've got that, too.

Movement: Audemars Piguet 2385 automatic
Size: 41mm
Water resistance: 50m

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