There’s just something about wearing a wristwatch that offers function and durability to withstand the most extreme conditions during a day out, yet elegant and stylish enough to sport at a glossy cocktail party that same night.
And if you’re a racing fan partial to vintage car design, well, that’s where YEMA comes in, steeped in motorsports history and speed since the 1960s with legendary pilot Mario Andretti even flossing the brand’s watch during his historic Indianapolis 1969 victory.
Based out of France’s watch craftsmanship region of Morteau, YEMA has been designing sports watches catering to active lifestyles since 1948. From diving and sailing to aviation, and of course, car racing, the third-generation family watchmaker successfully fuses resilience with refinement in all their designs.
They offer a wide collection of chronographs; one of them is the Mechanical Quartz Chronographes series launched in late 2019: a collection of four distinct Panda dial style watches all under $500, including this piece you see here, the YEMA Rallygraf Panda priced at US$349. This collection includes:
- YEMA Rallye Mario Andretti Special Edition – $420
- YEMA Rallygraf Panda – $349
- YEMA Rallygraf Reverse Panda – $349
- YEMA Rallygraf Blue Tarmac – $349
A quick refresher on the Panda dial
Most prevalent in the 1960s and 1970s, with the Rolex Dayton “Paul Newman” arguably the most sought after recently selling for a cool $17.8-million, the panda dial features a lighter coloured watch dial with contrasting, darker coloured elements within it — essentially, mimicking the face of a panda bear with its whtie face and large black spots surrounding the eyes. Here are 7 other great examples over at GearPatrol.
The Rallygraf Panda takes on this look with its white face and black sub-registers at 3 and 9 o’clock, designed and inspired by vintage car dashboards. It’s an uncommon design that not only looks sharp but offers a much needed practical use like additional legibility.
In contrast, a reverse panda dial is when the base colour of the dial is black and the sub-dials are white; three of the four watches in the Mechanical Quartz Chronographes are of this variety.
Closer look at the Rallygraf Panda
The quick specs:
MOVEMENT: Seiko VK64 Hybrid Mechanical quartz
DIAL & HANDS: 5 versions of “Panda” style dial and hands with luminous white – Rep-tipped seconds hand – hours dial at 6 o’clock
BANDS: Leather vintage or Stainless steel Mesh
CASE: 39mm Stainless steel case; Tachymeter bezel
CRYSTAL: Mineral domed crystal, AR treatment
PRICE: US$ 329 with Leather vintage strap; US$ 349 with Mesh bracelet
Available with either a brown leather strap for a sportier look or a steel mesh band more on the upscale side (seen here), the Rallygraf takes on a more contemporary look with its 39mm stainless steel case and tachymeter bezel.
Standout features include double domed mineral crystal, date window, 60-minute chronograph and 24-hour indicator. All powered by Seiko’s hybrid VK64 Mechanical-Quartz movement for smoother, sweeping ticking, and void of winding and dealing with power reserve. YEMA states this setup functions the way you’d expect from a quartz, where upon resetting it snaps back to zero.
A true racer’s watch
A pair of checkered flags on the lower part of the face is a nice touch, paying homage to Grand Prix races of the past. Paired to the Rallygraf’s aluminum tachymeter bezel measuring the average speed over a given distance, it’s clear this chronograph is designed for and fuelled by motorsports and speed.
And when the sun goes down, this panda dial watch’s hands and index are treated with a luminous coat for ideal readability when needed.
The Rallygraf Panda is a great pick for vintage car lovers seeking a contemporary watch with the classic panda dial design which not only looks distinct but provides exceptional readability. From the 60-minute chronograph and 24-hour indicator to the smooth Mechanical-Quartz movement and vintage car dashboard-inspired design, the Rallygraf Panda takes on sportier vibe with the brown strap, or ramp up the elegance with the steel mesh band.
All YEMA watches come with an international 2-year manufacturer’s warranty. Check out YEMA’s entire Mechanical-Quartz collection here.