With the historic sale of Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona, there’s been a renewed interest in panda dial chronographs in the watch community. What is a panda dial, you ask? A chronograph with a light color dial (usually white or silver) with contrasting (usually black) sub-dials is referred to as a panda dial by watch enthusiasts and collectors. This style was ubiquitous in the 1960s and 70s, but over the last six months we’ve seen a clutch of new chronographs that hark back to this classic design.
Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph
In December, Montblanc unveiled the TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph with a panda dial configuration and manufacture movement. It uses a 43 mm steel case with a fixed ceramic tachymeter scale bezel and semi-skeletonized lugs inspired by the air inlets of a car’s body. The motoring inspiration continues with a black DLC crown knurled like a vintage car radiator cap for better gripping and a caseback fitted with a smoked glass.
Montblanc’s manufacture calibre MB 25.10 has a traditional column wheel and horizontal coupling to control the chronograph functioning. The monobloc rotor, made of black rhodium-plated tungsten, is shaped like a steering wheel. Price: $4,500.
TAG Heuer Autavia Jack Heuer Edition
To celebrate the 85th birthday of honorary chairman Jack Heuer, the legend behind chronographs like the Carrera and Autavia, TAG Heuer unveiled a limited edition panda dial version of the neo-retro Autavia Caliber Heuer 02 unveiled at Baselworld 2017. The watch uses the same 42 mm stainless steel case as the standard model and is fitted with a polished black aluminum bi-directional bezel with a 12 hour scale.
The brushed silver sunray dial has three black sub-dials for the chronograph indications and the running seconds hand. The watch is powered by the Heuer 02 Caliber equipped with an 80-hour power reserve. The Jack Heuer edition is limited to 1,932 pieces (Jack’s year of birth) and is priced at $6,050.
Breitling Superocean Heritage II Chronograph B01 Chronograph
The Superocean debuted in 1957 and was aimed at military and professional divers. Fifty years later in 2017, Breitling introduced a new Superocean collection headlined by the much-loved Superocean Heritage II diver. This year the brand introduced a new Superocean Heritage II Chronograph powered by the in-house B01 movement.
It uses a 44 mm stainless steel case with a ceramic bezel and is paired with a stainless steel mesh bracelet (or a rubber mesh-like strap) and a silver dial with three black sub-dials. The result of over five years of R&D, the B01 (now referred to as Breitling 01) movement has a column wheel chronograph construction and a power reserve of 70 hours. It is priced at $7,665.
Girard-Perregaux Laureato Chronograph
This year at SIHH 2018, Girard-Perregaux launched a new range of Laureato chronographs clad in steel or pink gold. Available with a 42 or 38 mm case, the watch is paired with either a black leather strap or a steel bracelet with wide satin-brushed H-shaped links. The steel model comes with a silver dial that bears the “Clou de Paris” hobnail motif common to all Laureato models and houses three black sub-dials and a date window at 4.30.
The watch is powered by manufacture Caliber GP03300-0137, a self-winding chronograph with a 46-hour power reserve. While prices for the 38 mm start from $12,500, the 42 mm version begins from $13,600.
Omega Speedmaster CK2998 Limited Edition
At Baselworld this year, Omega introduced a new Speedmaster limited edition based on a popular vintage Omega model. The new CK2998 Limited Edition is based on the original model from 1959 and employs the popular panda dial configuration with a pulsometer scale bezel. The 2018 limited edition sports a black and silver color scheme. All three subdials are black, but the big difference is seen on the bezel – the polished ceramic bezel has an enamel pulsometer scale instead of the usual tachymeter marking seen on the 1959 original and the 2016 tribute piece. Powered by the hand-wound Caliber 1861, the watch is priced at $5,850 and is limited to 2,998 pieces.