15 BEST Panda Dial Chronographs (Black 'n White Goodness!)
Home / Blog / 15 BEST Panda Dial Chronographs (Black ‘n White Goodness!)


15 best panda dial watches

15 BEST Panda Dial Chronographs (Black ‘n White Goodness!)

The panda dial first caught my eye on a Seinfeld episode. Jerry wore a Breitling Chronomat with a reverse panda dial. The dial and “rouleax” were on full display as he talked over a cup of coffee.

But luxury watches with black-on-white or white-on-black dial designs reigned long before Seinfeld and are back to stay. As you probably know, they are named after the cute and clumsy Panda bear. There’s no telling who named it, but it’s clearly a befitting name for the design. 

Take a stroll back in time with me as we trace its origins to the 60s. And enter the moment with a list of 15 adorable panda dial watches in 2023.

History of The Panda Dial on Watches

The panda dial was a trend that took off in the 1960s, but its origin is unknown. However, most enthusiasts attribute its origin to the king, the Rolex Daytona. While there’s some truth to that, it’s technically not factual.

The earliest known panda dial is Breitling’s original 1957 Superocean. But it was a reverse panda dial.  White-on-black dial chronographs only took off after the Rolex Daytona 6239 hit the market in 1963. With its success, top luxury watchmakers released panda dial versions of their favorite timepieces. 

Maybe it was too cute to resist, or their designers just wanted a share of this new market–we’ll never know! Ultimately though, Rolex Cosmograph Daytona ref. 6239 is the first known pure panda dial (white dial with black sub-dials). 

Breitling released its first true panda dial in 1964, TAG Heuer (Carrera) in 1968, and Zenith’s El Primero in 1969 was the first multi-colored version.

Design That Pops

There’s a saying that people buy with emotions, not reason. Sure, there are features you may love, but you eventually purchase an item based on how it makes you feel. This can’t be any truer with the panda dial. Watch enthusiasts love the dial for its name, look, and how it’s a surefire way to show off a chronograph. 

The panda has no special features except for the watchmaker’s complication for that model. That’s why it’s a timeless style. You can buy a “nameless” brand, wear a quartz watch, and still enjoy the black-and-white appeal. 

Choosing one boils downs to your budget and level of craftsmanship on the dial, first of all. Then your choice of strap material, movement complications, or bezel design is at the heart of it. Fortunately, our extensive list cuts across many options to meet your taste. 

Types of Panda Dial Watches

As you may have noticed earlier from the history of panda dials, it’s not exclusive to the typical white-and-black color combination. Here are three types of panda dials you’ll come across. 

1. True Panda Dial 

True to the face of the Chinese panda, true panda dial watches have a white dial and two or three black sub-dials. 

2. Reverse Panda Dial

It’s a watch with the reverse of a pure panda dial – a black main dial with white sub-dials. And it can be a non-black-and-white color scheme. But they are also available in several combinations, like Zenith’s El Primero, with gold dial and black sub-dials. 

3. Multi-colored Panda Dial 

The multicolored or tri-colored panda dial has a single-colored base dial with sub-dials in multiple colors. Zenith originated this style with its 1969 El Primero models with a white background and subdials in three colors. The tri-colored A386’s sub-dials were silver, black, and blue. 

The 15 Panda Dial Watches Worth Buying in 2023

Here’s my selection of the best panda dial watches on the market. Some are iconic chronographs from celebrated brands, and a few are innovative quartz timepieces for the budget-conscious enthusiast.

1. Rolex Cosmograph Daytona

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona

Starts from approximately $14,000 

The Daytona line (past and present) includes some of the rarest watches worldwide. For one, Paul Newman’s Paul Newman Daytona (ref. 6239) is the most expensive wristwatch ever sold at auction. 

The original series from the 60s had four-digit serial numbers and are the pioneer panda dial watches. They were hand-wound and had solid sub-dial colors, unlike the modern Daytona editions. You’ll spend no less than $100,000 on a vintage Daytona. 

However, modern Daytonas, like the ref.116500, sport a less prominent panda design. The sub-dials are less pronounced because only their outer tracks have a contrasting color. But pricier models like the 116528 feature the solid panda face we’d love to see in a yellow-gold case. 

It’s not just the technical and artistic prowess that makes the Daytona special. Wearing one with a panda dial also puts you in the one percent of collectors and enthusiasts. 

2. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak ref. 26331ST.OO.1220ST.03

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak ref. 26331ST.OO.1220ST.03

Starts from approximately $46,000

The Royal Oak is arguably one of the greatest luxury sports watches for men. And its panda dial version is no different when you consider the level of attention to detail in crafting it. 

The iconic “Grand Tapisserie” embossing on its silver-white dial is only found in AP Royal Oaks. There’s also an artistic spiral pattern on the blackened sub-registers you’d only see from brands like AP and GP.

Since the panda dial is only a look, there’s plenty more to stare at if you’re prepared to whip out the cash. The Royal Oak also has white-gold applied hour markers and a 41mm scratch-proof octagonal stainless steel with a brush finish that’s a beauty in the eye of the beholder and onlookers. 

The pushers are carved in a matching octagonal style and are level with the screw-locked crown. Audemars Piguet provides matching Royal Oak cufflinks to rock your timepiece like royalty to top off the look. 

3. Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph (ref. AB0118221G1P1)

Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph (ref. AB0118221G1P1)

Starts from approximately $8,750

Breitling Chronographs got me enchanted when I first saw Jerry wearing the Chronomat and Navitimer. But I thought the latter was quite oversized. Breitling provides solace, though, in the Premier B01 chronograph AB0118221G1P1. It’s the polar opposite with a sleek 42mm stainless steel case and “true” panda dial. 

The bi-compax – only two subdials – panda dial is simple yet handsome. Its contrast of black and white and subtle red on the inner bezel is refreshing. Although some enthusiasts may wish it was more clutter-free. 

The B01’s sleek old-school stopwatch-like crown and pushers have the graceful low-key look of a sports watch. Perhaps even a dress watch. The two rectangular pushers stay flush on the same line as the crown.  With the absence of a bezel, you’ll appreciate the discreet push-down buttons even more.

4. Omega Speedmaster Pulsometer (ref. CK2998)

Omega Speedmaster Pulsometer (ref. CK2998)

Starts from approximately $7,000

CK2998 is a vintage Omega Speedmaster from 1959 and the first Omega in space. Omega re-introduced this classic in a stunning panda dial and aesthetic leather strap. It’s set in a 39mm case with three subdials.

This rare panda dial watch is limited to only 2,998 pieces. It’s powered by a manual winding movement and has a rare pulsometer, which completes its vintage status. The pulsometer – used to check heartbeats per minute – is inscribed onto its black ceramic bezel. 

On the contrary, Omega beautifully signs the limited edition number on the CK2998’s case back. It’s like a certificate of its exclusivity. 

With this status and design, the Moonwatch Pulsometer is one of the best panda dial chronographs within the $10k range. It has all the requirements for a good resale: scarcity, value, and demand. 

5. Zenith Chronomaster El Primero A384 Revival

Zenith Chronomaster El Primero A384 Revival

Starts from approximately: $7,000

The Zenith El Primero is one of the more manly chronographs with a panda dial. Its tonneau shape – rectangular with rounded edges – case wears well as a bold sporty, or dressy watch. But even more impressive is how it encircles the white-lacquered panda dial and black tachymeter in a 37mm darkened steel case. 

Like the Omega Moonwatch, the A384 (Ref 03.A384.400) Revival is a modern remake of the vintage A317. It was Zenith’s first steel watch to use the El Primero high-frequency automatic caliber from 1969. 

You’ll experience the El Primero movement sweeping across the lacquered dial at 36,000 beats per minute for 50 hours non-stop. Not to forget the ladder bracelet originally produced by legendary watch designer Gay Freres. It’s a relatively slim-profile and lightweight strap with a classic stamped clasp. 

6. Tudor Black Bay Chrono (ref. M79360N-0002)

Tudor Black Bay Chrono (ref. M79360N-0002)

Starts from approximately $5,450

The Tudor Black Bay Chrono is a great panda dial chronograph for hobbyists and followers of new-school tool watches. 

Released in 2021, the Black Bay Chrono M79360 offers both original and reverse panda dials and a few strap attachments. The M79360 has two “panda eyes” at (3 and 9 o’clock) a tachymeter scale, and trademark Tudor indexes and hands. 

This model has a stainless steel bracelet, but you can get black fabric and leather options. The only gripe with this M79360 is how it’s hard to wind and has a possibly shorter power reserve than its estimated 70 hours. But it packs a ton of value with the features it offers at its price point.

A COSC-certified Omega or Rolex with 70 hours of power reserve, chronograph, lume, and tachymeter will cost a few more thousand. Not to mention its five-year guarantee coverage. Plus, it sports a vintage Daytona look that will pass as a budget alternative.

7. TAG Heuer Autavia Chronometer Flyback (ref. CBE511B.FC8279)

TAG Heuer Autavia Chronometer Flyback (ref. CBE511B.FC8279)

Starts from approximately $6,750

The Autavia Flyback panda is the third release from TAG Heuer’s 60th anniversary. It came in after the Black edition with a refreshing gray dial and multicolored panda. 

The bold design includes black subdials and a silver window at 6 o’clock. Complete with a sporty screw-down crown and chronograph pushers. The Autavia Flyback is even more beautiful at night when the SuperLuminova-applied hands and Arabic numerals light up. 

This model is the perfect everyday watch. While the 42mm Flyback Chronometer looks oversized, it’s considerably lightweight. 

But the real magic of this watch lies in its performance. Its COSC-certified movement is a powerhouse with a power reserve of up to 80 hours and is made in-house. It also has a trademark flyback function to set and reset the stopwatch with a single button. 

Also, if you’re a fan of the exhibition-style casebacks, Tag Heuer Autavia has one for you. And the Flyback movement is one beauty to behold. Overall, though, this model with a panda dial is a great option if you’re looking for a masterful combination of style and function. 

8. Omega Speedmaster Apollo XI 35th Anniversary (ref. 3569.31.00)

Omega Speedmaster Apollo XI 35th Anniversary (ref. 3569.31.00)

Starts from approximately $16,950

The Omega Speedmaster Apollo XI is another panda dial on the list celebrating one of humankind’s greatest achievements – the moon landing. And what better honor than to use one of the most iconic dials of the 60s. 

Its panda dial has a clean, artistic silvered white background and three close-knitted subdials. Flip the watch, and you’ll be greeted with a colorful Bald Eagle soaring over the moon on its case back. It’s the original Apollo XI mission patch. 

And, of course, the robust stainless steel case and tachymeter scale Speedmaster fans have adored for decades. 

Powering the watch is an in-house Omega 1861 movement with a decent 40-hour reserve and 21,600 beats per minute. What’s interesting, though, is that caliber 1861 is an evolution of the 861s from the original Moonwatch models. 

Get a Speedmaster Apollo XI 35th Anniversary if you love timeless, exclusive watches. Each watch is even inscribed with a number to prove its exclusivity. 

9. Girard Perregaux Laureato Chronograph (ref. 81020-11-131-11A)

Girard Perregaux Laureato Chronograph (ref. 81020-11-131-11A)

Starts from approximately $5,000

This GP Laureato 42mm carries an astoundingly stunning panda dial! But its beauty goes beyond the panda dial for a watch with craftsmanship similar to the Patek Philippe Nautilus and AP Royal Oak. Firstly, the Laueato’s dial is a Clous De Paris guilloche with small pyramid-like knobs, also seen in brands like Patek Philippe and Breguet

Secondly, it’s clothed in a unique octagonal 904L – contains high chromium – case with sublime scratch resistance. Or simply, wear the Laureato in an 18-carat pink gold case. If you pay attention to the detailing on your watches, you’ll appreciate the contrasting polished finish on the bezel and pushers. 

The GP Laureato is also incredibly comfortable to wear with its matching integrated 904L steel bracelet. It’s unsurprisingly one of the best luxury sports watches from this decade. 

Girard Perregaux Laureato uses an in-house GP03300 automatic movement with 48 hours of power reserve. Interestingly but unsurprising, it’s also gem-studded with 63 jewels, so you can bet it’ll run for generations. This chronograph is perfect if you want a panda dial chronograph at the top of your collection. 

10. Bremont ALT1-C

Bremont ALT1-C

Starts from approximately $6,295

A two-face panda dial, the ALT1-C is another classic masterpiece worth your time. Its timeless design dates back to military use as a pilot watch. Its panda design speaks for itself with contrasting white-on-black backgrounds and subdials facilitating easy reading. 

Although I prefer Arabic numeral indexes on a dial, Bremont replacing them with stick indexes gives the dial a clean, minimalist look. Not to mention that they’re in-laid with Super Luminova, which provides it with a pristine look in the dark. 

What’s more, the ALT1-C’s 43mm satin-finished case complements the overall look of the dial perfectly. The case is missing a functional bezel-like tachymeter, but this actually makes it a dressier option.

And its see-through case back exhibits the Caliber 13 BE-50AE with 25 jewels and 42 hours of power reserve. Like most top-tier watches on our list within its price range, the Caliber 13 is a highly accurate and reliable movement. And it has a COSC certification as proof of quality. 

Ultimately, the Bremont ALT1-C is a relatively average chronograph in this review. But that means it’s durable, accurate, and a beautiful panda watch.

11. Montblanc Timewalker (ref. 118490)

Montblanc Timewalker (ref. 118490)

Starts from approximately $5,400

Again, I’m a big fan of dials with Arabic numerals, and hopefully, there’s a comrade who also sees this beauty. 

If not, you can consider the Montblanc Timewalker as a budget alternative to the Omega Apollo XI. Although you won’t enjoy the prestige of the Moonwatch or its Apollo XI medallion, you’ll save over $10,000 and get an equally beautiful panda dial. 

This Timewalker model is a solid 43mm timepiece with high-quality materials like a ceramic bezel and solid stainless steel build. It runs on a Richemont ValFleurier – a respected Swiss movement maker – caliber 25.10. A powerful self-winding column wheel movement with 46 hours of power reserve. 

I’ll recommend the Montblanc Timewalker 118490 for a watch enthusiast who values quality and economy over prestige in a panda dial watch.

12. Hamilton Intra-Matic Auto Chrono (ref. H38416711)

Starts from approximately $2,000

I’ve always had a soft spot for Hamilton watches, and the Intra-Matic Auto is no different from its vintage-inspired design to its reliable movement. 

The Intra-Matic Auto has a classic look reminiscent of the 60s and is a remake of a 1968 signature piece. While you can’t help but appreciate its distinctive two-eyed panda, you’d love the classic dial even more. 

Its internal bezel fills the “empty” appeal of the polished case and pushers. The calf leather strap is eye candy and develops a unique shine as you break it in. 

And if you cherish movement engineering, you’d be proud of its H-31 movement. It displays great attention to detail and craftsmanship for its price with features like a column wheel mechanism, a monobloc rotor, and perlage on the main plate. 

For the more casual enthusiasts, this translates into reliable 60 hours of power reserve and steady accuracy of +/-30 seconds a day. The Hamilton Intra-Matic Auto Chrono is a great pick for a retro-watch lover gunning for a complete vintage panda on a budget. 

13. Seiko Prospex Speedtimer SSC813P1

Seiko Prospex Speedtimer SSC813P1

Starts from approximately $680

The Seiko Speedtimer SS813 is the most affordable panda dial chronograph with some interesting features to boot.

Arguably its standout feature is its solar-powered movement. A solar ring on the edge of the dial charges the movement, which means the watch can run forever without a battery change or winding. Actually, it has a power reserve of up to six months.

Although touted as “cheap” by hardcore watch enthusiasts, a solar chronograph is an innovative, practical, and eco-friendly feature newbie watch enthusiasts love. 

The SSC813’s panda dial is a change from what we’ve sear. The hazy look of its finish has a striking contrast against the black bezel that can grow on you. And there’s the case and bracelet with the famous Seiko hairline and brush finish, which even quartz haters respect. 

14. Tissot PRX Automatic Chronograph (ref. T1374271101100)

Tissot PRX Automatic Chronograph (ref. T1374271101100)

Starts from approximately $5,200

The Tissot PRX is a GP Laureato lookalike that’s functional enough to be a budget alternative to the $18,000 powerhouse. 

Now, don’t expect to see the level of craftsmanship of the Laureato, like the guilloche-patterned dial, in the PRX. But you’ll get a 42mm clean satin-finished octagonal-cased timepiece with a lovely panda dial. 

It moves away from the conventional green ta blue-colored SuperLuminova hands and indexes. What’s more, the Tissot PRX has an integrated-like bracelet with quick release. However, it doesn’t have micro-adjustment, and you’ll have to settle for half links to resize it. 

In terms of functionality, the PRX is highly capable, with a stronger 60-hour power reserve Valjoux A05.H31 movement. However, it’s only accurate to -10/+20 seconds a day. 

15. Longines Heritage 1973 (ref. L2.791.4.72.0)

Longines Heritage 1973 (ref. L2.791.4.72.0)

Starts from approximately: $2,900

The Longines Heritage 1973 is a watch that oozes retro charm. It’s a stunning homage to a bygone era, with a design inspired by the racing chronographs of the 1970s. 

Its cushion-shaped case, combined with the white dial and contrasting black subdials, and blue-numbered tachymeter, creates a striking visual impact that is impossible to ignore.

The tonneau case is only 40mm, so it would perfectly fit most hands and is a prime candidate for a versatility watch. It’s brushed on the top and polished on the sides, which is an eye-catcher in my opinion. 

The Longines Heritage 1973 is also one of the more affordable panda dial watches from a reputable Swiss brand. And its resale value has been on the rise for almost a decade. It might be a sporty chrono, but it still carries a dressy vibe which is Longines’ prestige anyway.


Panda dial watches are no doubt timeless. But you don’t have to break the bank or settle for less. There’s an endless list of options, as seen in our showcase of the 15 best panda dial watches on the market. 

With its unparalleled precision, durability, and reputation, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is undoubtedly the crown jewel of our list. It is a watch that combines iconic design with legendary performance, making it a must-have for any serious collector.

At the same time, the Seiko Speedtimer SSC813 proves that luxury doesn’t always have to come with a hefty price tag. This watch offers exceptional value for money, combining a classic panda dial with reliable Japanese craftsmanship.

Regardless of whether you’re an avid collector or a newbie enthusiast, you’ll find one suitable for your budget and style. So, why not consider adding one to your collection and experience the timeless allure of this vintage design for yourself?

About Exquisite Timepieces

Established in 1998, Exquisite Timepieces is your one-stop shop for all things luxury watches! We are an authorized dealer for 60+ luxury watch brands including Omega, Hublot, Seiko, & Longines! We are proud to showcase one of the world’s largest pre-owned watch collections, including renowned brands like Rolex and Patek Philippe. Check out our brand new watch arrivals here and popular pre-owned listings here.

as seen on
To Top