PANDA: PROTECTED SPECIES
Three circles in a tricompax layout on a white or ivory surface. The eye-catching and easy-to-read arrangement has been in fashion since the 1950s and 1960s. The stylish and sporty two-tone design brings to mind everyone’s favourite cuddly Asian herbivore, the panda. That’s why the unique-looking dials have been named after the animal. One model made them iconic on the watchmaking scene in 1969. The Rolex Oyster Cosmograph Daytona reference 6264 worn on screen by Paul Newman (1925-2008) in Winning became a must-have among wealthy collectors. It’s a rare model and its price puts it out of the realm of mere mortals. The actor’s personal watch sold for 1.8 million dollars in twelve minutes at auction in 2017.
Fortunately, other contemporary chronographs have made the panda style affordable. The recent vintage trend among watch brands means you can wear one of these bold timepieces today. Omega’s Speedmaster Moonwatch 39.7mm, a limited edition (2998 available), celebrates the original CK 2998 dating back to 1959. The inky counters jump off the sand-blasted silver dial whilst you can measure short time with the 1861 manual wind movement.
The design also appears on the Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph’s 43mm case rimmed by a high-tech ceramic bezel. The time features are fuelled by a self-winding MB25.10 calibre.
The Royal Oak Self-Winding Chronograph in the Audemars Piguet catalogue enhances the panda dial with its signature Grande Tapisserie design.
Some pieces swap colours including the TAG Heuer Heritage Calibre Heuer 02 with white counters on a black background. Others are true to the spirit but only have two counters on the dial e.g. the Anonimo Militare Chronographe Vintage, Hamilton Intra-Matic Auto Chrono and Breitling Premier 01 Chronograph 42.
All these models pair iconic designs with a self-winding movement. Coco Chanel (1883-1971) always said “fashion changes, but style endures”, and in 2019, the panda dial illustrates her words to perfection!
By Dan Diaconu
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