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Everything You Need to Know About Panda Dial Watches
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Everything You Need to Know About Panda Dial Watches

Inspired by the facial markings of a panda
Jan 15, 2024

The watchmaking industry always comes up with something unique and appealing, especially when it comes to design. In this case, let's talk about a panda dial watch that flaunts a distinctive watch face design – as if you're looking at a panda's face. 

You read it right! Pandas don't just exist in the wild but also the world of horology. A panda dial watch simply refers to a white dial usually accompanied by three black sub-dials, representing a set of eyes and a mouth. There is also a reverse Panda variant which is the opposite configuration.

In this article, we will explore the allure and significance of the panda dial watch, the early story, and the brands that have embraced this classic design. Let's get straight into the discussion!

What Is a Panda Dial Watch?

A panda dial watch is a timepiece characterized by a distinctive design featuring a white or light-colored dial with contrasting black sub-dials, reminiscent of the facial features of a panda. The term "Panda Dial" is derived from this color scheme, where the watch face resembles a panda's face, with the main dial acting as the face and the sub-dials representing the eyes and mouth.

The origin of the panda dial design can be traced back to the mid-20th century, particularly during the golden era of motorsports in the 1960s and 1970s. The design gained popularity in chronograph watches, which were used by racing drivers to measure elapsed time during races. The high contrast between the white dial and black sub-dials made it easy for racers to read the time at a glance, providing both functionality and a stylish aesthetic.

Legendary watchmakers such as Rolex, Heuer (now TAG Heuer), and Omega were among the pioneers who adopted the Panda Dial design for their chronograph models. These watches became iconic not only for their precision and reliability but also for their striking and easily recognizable appearance.

The connection between panda dial watches and motorsports helped elevate their status, and over time, the design transcended its racing origins. Today, panda dial watches are appreciated not only for their historical significance but also for their timeless and versatile aesthetic. 

They have become a symbol of classic design in the world of horology, with contemporary watchmakers continuing to pay homage to this iconic style. Whether in vintage models or modern reinterpretations, panda dial watches remain a sought-after choice for those who appreciate the perfect blend of form and function in a timepiece.

Design Features

Every panda dial watch usually comes with these common features, such as high contrast design and chronograph function. Let’s take a look at each feature below!

1. High Contrast

The hallmark of a panda dial watch is its high contrast color scheme with a predominantly light-colored dial and contrasting dark sub-dials. This design not only ensures excellent legibility but also adds a touch of elegance to the timepiece.

2. Chronograph Functionality

The term panda dial chronograph is also a common name for this watch as many feature chronograph complications. This allows wearers to measure elapsed time with precision and add a sporty element to the watch, making it a versatile accessory for various occasions.

3. Subtle Details

Beyond the color scheme, panda dial watches often boast subtle design details that contribute to their overall appeal. These may include well-crafted indices, precisely aligned sub-dials, and carefully chosen font styles for numerals.

Read also: What You Need to Know About Watches with Tropical Dial

The Best Panda Dial Watches to Buy 

Already convinced to grab a ‘panda’ for yourself? Discover our curated selection of panda dial watches that combine classic design with modern craftsmanship, ensuring a stylish addition to your collection. Let’s dive in!

Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Chronograph White Ref. SBDL085

Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Chronograph White Ref. SBDL085

Movement

Caliber V192

Dimension

39mm in diameter, 45.5mm lug to lug, 13.3mm thick.

Water resistance

100m


The first panda dial chronograph you should look forward to is the Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Chronograph White. The pristine white dial serves as the perfect canvas, adorned with three contrasting black sub-dials that mirror the iconic features of a panda's face. 

The careful placement of sub-dials and precisely crafted indices showcases Seiko's commitment to precision and craftsmanship. With its classic design and reliable chronograph functionality, this panda chronograph seamlessly blends style and performance.

Price: $475.00 USD

Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph White - Bracelet Ref. H38416111

Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph White - Bracelet Ref. H38416111

Movement

H-31 automatic movement

Dimension

40mm in diameter, 49.2mm lug to lug, 14.6mm thick.

Water resistance

100m


Hamilton panda chronograph also offers an appealing design as presented in Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph White. The watch features two sub-dials placed at the 3 and 9 o’clock position. 

The attention to detail is evident in the precision of the chronograph functions and the well-crafted indices. Powering the watch is the most recent H-31 automatic movement with 60 hours of power reserve and a frequency of 28,800 bph.

Price: $2,130.00 USD

Read also: Top 7 Recommendations of Hamilton Watches under $1000

Alpina Alpiner Extreme Chronograph Automatic Silver - Bracelet Ref. AL-730SB4AE6B

Alpina Alpiner Extreme Chronograph Automatic Silver - Bracelet Ref. AL-730SB4AE6B

Movement

AL-730 caliber automatic movement

Dimension

41mm in diameter, 51mm lug to lug, 11.5mm thick.

Water resistance

200m


The Alpina Alpiner Extreme Chronograph Automatic Silver effortlessly combines Swiss precision with a bold and contemporary design. Encased in robust stainless steel, the timepiece exudes durability and elegance.

The silver-toned dial, adorned with contrasting black sub-dials, follows the iconic panda dial design to ensure optimal legibility and a touch of sophistication. With its seamless blend of style and performance, the Alpina Alpiner Extreme Chronograph is a compelling choice for classic aesthetics and modern innovations.

Price: $3,195.00 USD

Yema Rallygraf Meca Quartz Alpine Endurance Team Blue - Leather

Yema Rallygraf Meca Quartz Alpine Endurance Team Blue - Leather

Movement

Seiko VK64

Dimension

39mm in diameter, 48mm lug to lug, 11mm thick.

Water resistance

100m


The best panda chronograph you can have is the Yema Rallygraf Meca Quartz Alpine Endurance Team Blue. With its distinct panda dial design featuring a crisp white face and contrasting blue sub-dials, it pays homage to the classic racing chronographs of the past.

The precision of the Meca Quartz movement ensures accurate timekeeping, while the Alpine Endurance Team branding adds a touch of motorsport heritage. The leather strap not only enhances comfort but also adds a luxurious feel to the watch.

Price: $359.00 USD

Final Thought

The panda dial watch appears as an enduring appeal of classic design in the watchmaking industry. Its timeless elegance, historical significance, and versatility make it a sought-after choice for watch enthusiasts who appreciate the perfect blend of form and function. 

As trends come and go, the panda dial watch remains a steadfast symbol of sophistication and style, proving that some designs truly stand the test of time. 

Read also: 5 Appealing Salmon Dial Watches to Enhance Your Style

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