We all love a good chronograph, don’t we? But what determines what makes a chronograph, well, good? For some, it might come down to the design, for others, it has all to do with perceived value for money or the type of movement (manual vs. automatic), and then there are those looking for complexity like flyback or rattrapante functionality. But what we can all pretty much agree on, is the allure of a Panda-dial chronograph, if done right! There’s just something very appealing in a white (or silver) dial with black contrasting subdials. So much so, that in 2021 creative masterminds MB&F decided to go a step further and present an actual Panda watch for the Only Watch charity auction (admittedly, not a chronograph) and it’s making somewhat of a return for this year’s edition it seems. Sticking with the topic at hand though, here’s our little celebration of the ever-popular Panda-dial chronograph, with a subtle splash of colour mixed in for good measure.
Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Sport Chronograph
Parmigiani Fleurier recently merged the elegance of the Tonda PF collection, with the sportyness of the Tonda GT Chronograph to create the new Tonda PF Sport range which includes this dashing chronograph. The result is a very fine, but slightly less formal take on the brand’s luxury sports watch. The difference lies in the more pronounced guilloché decoration on the silver dial, with black subdials of course, fewer knurled edges in the bezel and the integration of a black rubber strap. The high-frequency integrated chronograph movement is made in-house. It retails for EUR 29,500 in stainless steel, or EUR 51,200 in 18k rose gold.
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Quick Facts – 42mm x 12.9mm – stainless steel or 18k rose gold – screw-down crown – knurled bezel – 100m water-resistance – silver dial with guilloché pattern – black subdials – applied gold indices and hands with Super-LumiNova – calibre PF070, in-house – automatic high-frequency integrated chronograph – 5Hz/36,000vph – 22k rose gold rotor – black rubber strap with steel or rose gold folding clasp – EUR 29,500 in steel or EUR 51,200 in rose gold
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph Panda
The Panda edition of the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph was a long time coming, and it’s a pretty darn good-looking watch. It has a very sporty look with its signature 6-sided bezel and tonneau-shaped case, complemented by the silver dial with black subdials and minute track. It’s also the most robust watch of the series, as it has a soft-iron casing ring to protect the Calibre 5200 from magnetic forces and 150m of water resistance. It comes with an interchangeable steel bracelet, integrated of course, as well as rubber or leather straps. Priced at EUR 36,700, it’s one of the more costly options in this Buying Guide.
For more information, please visit Vacheron-Constantin.com
Quick Facts – 42.5mm x 13.7mm – stainless steel case, brushed & polished – sapphire crystal front & back – soft-iron inner case – 150m water-resistant – silver sunray brushed dial – black subdials & minute track – applied indices & hands with Super-LumiNova – Calibre 5200, in-house – Geneva Seal – automatic integrated chronograph with column wheel & vertical clutch – 263 components – 28,800vph – 52h power reserve – interchangeable integrated steel bracelet, black rubber strap or leather strap – EUR 36,700
Tissot PRX Chronograph Blue Panda
The Tissot PRX is not only a very cool luxury sports watch at an affordable price, but the collection also consists of a slightly larger but very impressive Chronograph. It comes in three variants so far, including this Blue Panda configuration. The silver dial has blue subdials and a blue minute track around the outer edge. The ETA A05.H31 inside is based on the Valjoux 7753, and packs 59 hours of running time. Worn on an integrated steel bracelet, it packs a seriously cool visual punch. It’s also quite reasonably priced at EUR 1,995.
For more information, please visit TissotWatches.com
Quick Facts – 42mm x 14.5mm – stainless steel case, brushed & polished – sapphire crystal front & back – 100m water-resistant – vertically brushed silver dial – blue recessed subdials – applied indices & hands with Super-LumiNova – ETA A05.H31 automatic (Valjoux 7753 base) – 28,800vph – 60h power reserve – integrated single-link bracelet with folding clasp & interchangeability system – EUR 1,995
Longines Conquest Chronograph
The second Panda-style chronograph with a touch of colour is the sporty-chic Longines Conquest Chronograph with a champagne-tone dial. The collection was redesigned just recently, and looks seriously good, especially in this combination. The fixed black ceramic tachymeter bezel and black recessed subdials provide a striking contrast, while the champagne colour adds a touch of sophistication. At 42mm it’s not overly large, but it has some serious wrist presence. The L898 automatic chronograph inside provides a running time of 59 hours. The well-equipped and stylish Longines Conquest Chronograph costs EUR 4,000.
For more information, please visit Longines.com
Quick Facts – 42mm x 14.30mm – stainless steel case, brushed & polished – fixed black ceramic tachymeter insert – sapphire crystal front & back – screw-down crown – 100m water-resistant – champagne dial with sunray-brushed finish – black recessed sub-dials – applied indices & hands with Super-LumiNova – calibre L898, ETA 2892 base – module automatic chronograph – 28,800vph – 59h power reserve – stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp – EUR 4,000
Bvlgari Aluminium Chronograph
The Bvlgari Aluminium is a modern-day icon, constructed out of lightweight aluminium, clad with a rubber bezel and fitted to a segmented rubber strap. Bvlgari relaunched the collection in 2020, including a chronograph model, and slightly updated it in 2023. The Aluminium is a very graphic black and white chronograph, with recessed subdials, large gloss-black indices and hour and minute hands and white hands for the chronograph and small seconds. Power comes from the B381 automatic, which is a Selita SW300 base with a Dubois-Depraz module on top. This very original and striking watch retails for EUR 5,000.
For more information, please visit bulgari.com
Quick Facts – 41mm diameter – aluminium case with titanium caseback – crown and pushers with DLC coating; rubber bezel – sapphire crystal – 100m water-resistant – white dial with black subdials – automatic calibre B381 (Sellita base, Dubois-Depraz module) – 28,800vph – 42h power reserve – Rubber strap with aluminium links, aluminium pin buckle – EUR 5,000
TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 60th anniversary Edition Panda
Forget the Glassbox (for a moment at least), as one of the very best Panda dials of the year has to be the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 60th Anniversary Edition. Celebrating the legacy of the Carrera Chronograph, it’s modelled after the ref. 2447N from 1963. The very faithful recreation has a silver sunray-brushed dial with stark black subdials. The indices and hands are finished with black details and beige Super-LumiNova to add even more vintage character. Luckily, not all is old with this one, as it’s powered by the very good Calibre Heuer 02 automatic chronograph. Limited to 600 pieces, it retails for CHF 6,600.
For more information, please visit TAGHeuer.com
Quick Facts – 39mm x 14.55mm – stainless steel case, polished – fixed bezel – sapphire crystal front & back – 100m water-resistant – silver sunray-brushed dial – black subdials – applied indices and hands with Super-LumiNova – Calibre Heuer 02, in-house – automatic integrated chronograph with column-wheel & vertical clutch – 28,800vph – 80h power reserve – black leather racing-style strap with folding buckle – limited edition of 600 pieces – CHF 6,600