IF you’re somehow closing out 2018 without a panda watch on your wrist, you’ll have missed out on the fun. The high-contrast and predominantly black-and-white timepieces don’t just hark back to an exciting time in watchmaking history where motorsport racing was all the rage – the principle of making highly-legible dials and subdials make for stylish faces that go great with both formal and casual wear.

The last couple of years have been kind to the trend, so here’s some of the more striking ones you may want to pick up.

01: Breitling B01 Chronograph 42

Within the same year as the Navitimer 8 B01 comes this classic looker from Breitling‘s recently-launched Premier collection. The B01 Chronograph 42 (mm) is perfect for conservative looks, what with its two dials and clean visage. A fine update of what was arguably the OG reverse panda dial. Interestingly, also comes in an alluring Bentley British Racing Green, which subtly places the automaker’s name on the left side of the case.

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02: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph

Among Audemars Piguet‘s 20th anniversary salute to its Royal Oak Chronograph is this 41mm ticker. Those who don’t quite find white dials appealing can turn to this silver-and-black combination instead. The three and nine o’clock subdials are enlarged relative to the six – you can almost spot the panda in this one.

03: Montblanc Timewalker Manufacture Chronograph

Montblanc‘s 43mm Timewalker Manufacture Chronograph matches steel, a ceramic bezel and a dial that’s just slightly off-white. You guessed it – the movement’s done in-house. Perfect for those who favour clean and legible numbers in a casual ticker, and set on a bund-style strap.

04: Rolex Cosmograph Daytona

No discussion of panda watches is complete without mentioning the record-shattering US17.8m auction of the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona worn by Paul Newman when he was behind the steering wheel – a reminder of when and why the watches even came into vogue in the 1960s.  It also made a brief appearance in actor Pierre Png’s hands in the hit movie Crazy Rich Asians. The most updated version is a classic 40mm number, which may have been overshadowed by the hubbub over the new “Pepsi” and scintillating Everose dials this year.

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05: Zenith El Primero 36,000 VPH Perfect Duality


You can’t quite leave out the radical design of Zenith’s El Primero 36,000 VPH, which clusters all three dials in the middle. It could resemble a certain famous character of sorts, but hey, that’s a good a conversation starter as any. Available in reverse panda as well.

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written by.
Xiangjun Liao
XJ is the associate digital editor and works the F&B, tech, watch and motoring beats. Correspondingly, he's an alcoholic carnivore with a boyish fascination for all things mechanical. No prizes for guessing which Jaguar he wishes to commandeer.

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