There are no grey areas when it comes to our affection for the panda – and rever sep anda – chronograph, a modern icon distinguished by a distinctive, sporty aesthetic that also makes it a cinch to read.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

There are no grey  areas when it comes  to our affection for the panda  –  and rever sep anda  –  chronograph, a  modern  icon distinguished by a  distinctive, sporty aesthetic  that  also  makes  it a cinch to read.

+ To mark the 20th anniversary of the Royal Oak Chronograph last year, Audemars Piguet released a collection of twotone models, including this silver-and-black-dial panda variant in steel. (Quick note: The term “panda” traditionally refers to white or silver dials with black subdials, while the “reverse panda” features an inverse colour scheme.) Other design tweaks to this 41mm automatic watch include upsized chronograph counters at nine and three o’clock.
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+ When Vacheron Constantin launched its revamped Overseas collection in 2016, the brand avoided describing the watches as “sporty”, preferring instead to focus on how they were designed with travel in mind. However, the latest Overseas Chronograph – with its reverse-panda dial featuring 12-hour and 30-minute counters, as well as a small seconds – can definitely be filed under the luxury sports watch category. The 42.5mm steel automatic watch is powered by an in-house column-wheel chronograph movement.
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+ In recent years, Girard-Perregaux has wasted no time in expanding its octagonal-bezelled Laureato family, based on a design first released by the brand in 1975. One of the surefire crowd-pleasers in this family is the Laureato Chronograph, an automatic steel timepiece that comes in 38mm or 42mm. Set against a silver Clous de Paris hobnail dial, the chronograph registers at nine and six o’clock, as well as the small seconds at three o’clock, feature a snailed finish that provides aesthetic finesse as well as solid legibility.
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+ Under the stewardship of MD Davide Cerrato, Montblanc Watches has been updating and streamlining its offerings. Inspired by the world of vintage racing with touches such as its off-white dial and contrasting black subdials, the Timewalker Manufacture Chronograph is powered by an – as its name suggests – in-house column-wheel chronograph movement. The automatic watch comes in a 43mm steel case with a ceramic bezel.
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+ One of the highlights of Breitling’s new Navitimer 8 collection, the Navitimer 8 B01 Chronograph has a B01 manufacture calibre – an automatic column-wheel movement. Its reverse-panda black dial features contrasting white registers at three, six and nine o’clock, as well as details – such as its numeral font – inspired by aviation instruments made by Breitling in the 1930s and 1940s. The 43mm steel timepiece is also available in red gold.
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+ Released to mark the 85th birthday of Jack Heuer – great-grandson of Tag Heuer founder Edouard Heuer – the Autavia Jack Heuer Limited Edition is a special version of a wrist chronograph from the 1960s. Driven by the Heuer 02 automatic chronograph movement, the 42mm steel watch features a silver sunray brushed dial with black snailed chronograph counters (at three and nine o’clock) and a small seconds at six o’clock.
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+ Available with either a panda (shown here) or a reverse-panda dial, the latest models of the Zenith El Primero 36,000 VPH are powered by the brand’s high-frequency automatic chronograph movement. While not small at 42mm, they are relatively light as a result of being made from ceramic oxide-coated aluminium. The overlapping registers also offer a slightly different take on the traditional panda aesthetic.