I don’t think I’ve ever met a watch enthusiast who doesn’t like chronographs with a panda dial. The contrast between the main dial and the sub-dials just makes for a very elegant and easy-to-read look. It’s not easy to get the proportions right, though. The size of the case, the dial, the sub-dials, the numerals, and the hands all have to play together in perfect harmony. That’s certainly not the case on all of these (vintage-inspired) chronographs. But — spoiler alert — I think the dimensions on this all-new Depancel Legend 60s chronograph are nearly perfect.

I’ve often toyed with the idea of adding a chronograph with a panda or reverse-panda dial to my collection. I’m still torn, though, between going for a truly vintage or a vintage-inspired one. Good vintage pieces, such as the ones from Heuer, Breitling, and Universal Genève, start at around €4,000 and go up to a lot more than that. I also really like Hamilton’s vintage-inspired Intra-Matic Auto Chrono, which sells for almost €2,400 now. But what if you’d like to get a mechanical chronograph with those irresistible panda looks for under €1,000? Well, then Depancel has you covered with the Legend 60s chronograph from the Allure collection.

Depancel and its Allure collection

For those of you who don’t know Depancel yet, it’s a young French brand that focuses on producing and selling affordable (sub-€2,000) car-inspired watches. We already reviewed quite a few of the brand’s models, such as the AUTO RS collection, the ETA-powered Serie-A, and the meca-quartz Stradale. Those last two are also part of the Allure collection, which is Depancel’s most classic line of watches. I’d say, though, that the Legend 60s chrono we’re looking at today is the most classic-looking watch in that collection so far.

Price-wise, it falls right between the other two watches. While the Stradale, at €400, is cheaper because of its meca-quartz movement, the Serie-A, at €1,608, was a bit more expensive because of its automatic ETA 7753 movement. The Legend 60s is powered by a hand-wound Seagull ST1901. That’s the same movement that Studio Underd0g uses in its colorful chronographs. And with an introductory price of €655 (including VAT), the Depancel Legend 60s is in a very similar bracket. All right, it’s about time to take a look at the watch.

The Depancel Legend 60s

The 39mm case of the Legend 60s is almost fully brushed. Only the bevel along the edge of the lugs and the case and the very thin bezel are polished. While the lugs may look long in some of these photos, they’re actually rather short, resulting in a comfortable length of about 45.5mm. And the case, including its box-shaped sapphire crystal on top and the sapphire case back, comes in at 13mm thick. That’s not too bad for a mechanical chronograph. And because the mid-case is also fairly slim, it doesn’t feel like a thick watch at all.

Although I think the pushers are nicely proportioned, the octagonal crown does feel a tad small. But it could also be the lack of grip that it offers, which bothers me a bit. This is especially because there’s a hand-wound movement inside, which means you’ll have to interact with it daily. Initially, I thought that the black ring on the crown was made of rubber, but it’s not, and it doesn’t offer any additional grip. That’s a very minor point of criticism, though, because the case, pushers, and crown feel very sturdy overall. And with a water resistance rating of 50 meters, you can even wear it close to the water.

A perfectly balanced (reverse-)panda dial

Now we get to my favorite feature of the Legend 60s, and that’s the panda dial. You can choose between two options. There’s the original panda, which is mainly silver, or you can go for the reverse-panda version, which is the one we got to try. Other than the color inversion, both watches have identical dials. There’s a contrasting double scale (tachymeter and pulsometer) on the edge of the dial, and then we get to the inner dial, which is slightly vertically brushed. The contrasting sub-dials have a snailed texture and are somewhat recessed.

Then, at all the hours, except for where the sub-dials are, there are applied Arabic numerals for the hour indices. At this price point, you often see brands choosing to go for a flatter design. But I really like how the three-dimensional numerals and the sunken sub-dials add a sense of depth to the dial. I also thoroughly enjoy the font and size of the numerals. They’re fairly straightforward and sized just right. At 12 o’clock, you’ll find the applied Depancel badge logo and printed brand name. And at 6 o’clock, “Motor Racing Instrument LTD” is printed on the dial.

Although the idea of a panda or reverse-panda dial isn’t very original, I still think the designers at Depancel deserve kudos for the execution. You can see that they put a lot of thought and attention into getting the dimensions and the overall look right. Chapeau!

Five-year warranty (!)

As I said, all of the watch’s five hands are driven by Seagull’s ST1901 hand-wound column-wheel chronograph movement. It’s based on the Swiss Venus caliber 175, and it runs at 21,600vph with a power reserve of 45 hours. On our review unit, the chronograph hand didn’t run very smoothly. I’ve handled quite a few watches with the same movement, and on those, it wasn’t a problem. So I assume this will not be an issue on the eventual production models that will ship this October.

And if you do have any problems with your Depancel watch, it’s nice to know that it comes with a five-year warranty covering all manufacturing defects. So if anything goes wrong within those five years (barring owner-inflicted wear and tear), just contact Depancel, and it’ll get taken care of. And although the ST1901 is a fairly basic movement in terms of quality and finishing, it’s still nice that you can take a look at its mechanical complexity through the exhibition case back.

Final words

You might have already noticed it throughout the article, but I’m quite excited about what the Depancel Legend 60s offers. I think that for €655 including VAT (or €701 after the pre-order period), you get a very good-looking and well-proportioned hand-wound mechanical watch. So if you’re in the market for a watch with a (reverse-)panda dial but don’t want to break the bank, then I think the Depancel Legend 60s is a very good option.

The watch is available now for pre-order, and it comes with your choice of a black or brown leather racing strap. You can also choose to get it on a stainless steel beads-of-rice bracelet for €101 extra. The pre-ordered watches will be delivered at the beginning of October 2023. Finally, the Legend 60s is limited to 240 individually numbered pieces per dial. This number is engraved on the side of the case. For more information, please visit the official Depancel website.

What do you think of the Depancel Legend 60s for the brand’s Allure collection? Let us know in the comments below.

You can also find and follow me on Instagram: @fliptheparrot

Watch specifications

Legend 60s
Panda or reverse panda colorway with satin-finished main dial, recessed and snailed sub-dials, and applied Arabic numerals
Case Material
Stainless steel
Case Dimensions
39mm (diameter) × 45.5mm (lug-to-lug length) ×13mm (thickness) × 20mm (lug spacing)
Box-shaped sapphire
Case Back
Stainless steel with sapphire exhibition window
Seagul ST1901 — hand-wound column-wheel chronograph, 21,600vph frequency, 45-hour power reserve
Water Resistance
Black or brown leather racing strap; also available with a stainless-steel beads-of-rice bracelet (+€101)
Time (hours, minutes, sub-seconds), chronograph (30-minute sub-counter, central seconds), pulsometer, and tachymeter
€655 (€701 after pre-order period)
Five years