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Comparison - Panda Watches

Comparison Panda Watches

In the 1960s, chronographs that featured three black registers on a white dial were given the nickname “Panda” – because they looked like the face of the cute Chinese herbivore

Three black registers located at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock, against a white background. This distinctive dial architecture was particularly popular in the 1960s and 1970s, especially among Italian collectors. It didn’t take them long to find a nickname that tickled their playful imagination. The two counters at 3 and 9 were the eyes, and the 6 o’clock counter was the mouth. Ever since, the layout of these chronographs has been known as “panda”.

Montres de nounours

Intra-Matic © Hamilton

Three black registers located at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock, against a white background. This distinctive dial architecture was particularly popular in the 1960s and 1970s, especially among Italian collectors. It didn’t take them long to find a nickname that tickled their playful imagination. The two counters at 3 and 9 were the eyes, and the 6 o’clock counter was the mouth. Ever since, the layout of these chronographs has been known as “panda”.

Montres de nounours

PRX, Royal Oak, Carrera Sport © Tissot, Audemars Piguet, TAG Heuer

Even today, if the word “panda” is uttered in a horological context, no one will be thinking of the once-endangered creature from central China. No, the topic of conversation will inevitably be one of these charming black and white chronographs. And there are plenty of conversations taking place, given that sport-chic watches are currently riding high on the vintage wave. Indeed, the phenomenon was almost certainly magnified by a timepiece that has become an undisputed icon today.

The Rolex Daytona worn by Paul Newman has spawned a number of imitations that can be found in the current catalogues of several manufactures, with a range of stylistic variations.

Montres de nounours

Portugieser, Daytona, El Primero, Mille Miglia GMT © IWC, Rolex, Zenith, Chopard

Alongside the faithful interpretations of the 1960s icon (Tissot, Zenith), if we’re looking exclusively at chronographs, the dials vary from black on white to white on black, and rather than three registers there might only be two “eyes” and no mouth (Hamilton, TAG Heuer, IWC). Some even dare to replace the black of the subdials with white outlined in black (Rolex) or midnight blue (IWC). Audemars Piguet goes a step further, with a grey metallic dial decorated by the house signature “Grande Tapisserie” motif. And then there’s Chopard, which has chosen to shift the Panda’s features from the classic 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions to the adventurous 6, 9 and 12 o’clock locations! Clearly, anything goes, when you’re following a trend!

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