There are many types of watches and even more types of dial designs but there are not a lot more iconic than the so-called Panda dial.
The Panda dial features a white or light-colored dial with black sub-dials that are most of the time chronograph timers, usually within a black or dark-colored case.
Though the name “Panda” is relatively new, the concept of the Panda dial has been around for generations and has been used by some of the most iconic watch brands in existence.
First introduced in the 1970s by a popular Swiss luxury watchmaker, Tag Heuer, the Panda dial was originally seen on sport watches such as those made for racing or diving. The contrast of the black and white colors on the dial made it easier to read the time at a glance, which was crucial for timing events or keeping track of time underwater.
Over the years, the Panda dial has evolved from its utilitarian roots and is now seen on all types of watches, from dressy to casual.
After the popularity boom of the original Panda design, some watchmakers started tweaking the concept and came up with the Reverse Panda dial. And this leads us to the question – what is a reverse Panda dial?
Panda vs Reverse Panda Dial: the Difference
As the name suggests, a Reverse Panda dial is simply the inverse of the original Panda dial. So instead of a white or light-colored dial with black sub-dials, you have a black or dark-colored dial with white or light-colored sub-dials.
The most notable difference between the two designs is the level of contrast between the dial and sub-dials. On a Panda dial, the contrast is starker and pronounced, while Reverse Panda dial watches have the colors more muted and subdued.
Some watch enthusiasts believe that the Reverse Panda dial is a more sophisticated take on the original Panda design. Others simply prefer the aesthetics of the Reverse Panda dial over the Panda. There is no right or wrong answer, it simply comes down to personal preference.
Whichever you prefer, the Panda or Reverse Panda dial, there’s no denying that both are iconic designs that have stood the test of time. So which one will you choose?
Popular Panda Dial Models
Some of the most popular watches with Panda dials include the Tag Heuer Carrera and Omega Speedmaster.
Tag Heuer Carrera
The Tag Heuer Carrera is one of the most iconic racing watches ever made. First introduced in 1963, the Carrera was designed to be worn by race car drivers (its name is actually derived from the Carrera Panamericana, a now-defunct Mexican road race). The original Carrera featured a clean and simple dial with three sub-dials, and over the years the design has been tweaked and updated but always remains true to its roots.
The Omega Speedmaster is another watch with racing origins. First introduced in 1957, the Speedmaster was designed to be worn by race car drivers and timing crews (and was even worn by astronauts on the Apollo missions). The original Speedmaster featured a black dial with three white sub-dials, and like the Carrera, the design has been updated over the years but always remains true to its racing roots.
Popular Reverse Panda Dial Models
If you’re looking for a watch with a Reverse Panda dial, some popular choices include the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore and Patek Philippe Nautilus.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore is a modern take on the original Royal Oak watch that was first introduced in 1972. The Royal Oak Offshore is a bit larger and more muscular than the original and features a bolder design with three chronograph sub-dials. The most popular version of the Royal Oak Offshore features a black dial with three white sub-dials, making it a perfect example of a Reverse Panda dial.
Patek Philippe Nautilus
The Patek Philippe Nautilus is another modern classic. First introduced in 1976, the Nautilus was designed by famed watch designer Gerald Genta and is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful and iconic watches ever made. The Nautilus features a clean and elegant design with two sub-dials, and the most popular version features a black dial with two white sub-dials, making it another perfect example of a Reverse Panda dial.