The History of Skeleton Watches and What’s Trending Now

Skeleton watches are mechanical watches where most of the moving parts are visible from deliberately cut openings on dials or on back. Any non-functional part from the dial is trimmed out to expose the mechanical movements. We also shortlisted ten best skeleton watches trending now.

Intricate, aesthetic and perceptible— skeleton watches turns heads by its jaw-dropping craftsmanship, most of which comes visible from the top. While not necessarily a luxury, but enthusiasts pay for its brilliant showcase. If not the time itself, the wearer watches a show of intricate details brushing up against each other to fabricate time.

A skeleton watch, simply put, is mostly a mechanical watch where most of the moving parts are visible from deliberately cut openings on dials or on back. Any non-functional part from the dial is striped cut and the mechanical movements from underneath are made visible. Many enthusiasts love to stare at this old-school complex mechanical wind-up.

Now, a mechanical watch requires periodic winding to drive a spring (aka mainspring). Here, the winding force powers a balance wheel, which in turn oscillates at a fixed rate to move the second hand of the watch. Hence the ‘ticking’ sound! As opposed to this, an automatic watch does not need regular winding when worn. The wearer’s hand movements power a rotor that generates time. Both these mechanisms are incorporated in today’s’ skeleton watches.

The earliest skeleton watch was probably crafted in the late 18th century, 1760 to be precise. There are two sides of this story. Hence, the use of ‘probably’! The official part says a watchmaker named André-Charles Caron (Father of skeleton watches) came up with this brilliant idea of revealing some mechanics which runs a watch. Therefore, he crafted the first skeleton watch, trimming some 60-70% of a mechanical watch.

On the flip side, this soldier from the Napoleon’s Grand Army was an engraver by profession. During his wait with a broken rifle, he opened up his pocket watch and did some curving and cutting. This was on 2 December, 1805 and diffuses brightly into the history of earliest ‘skeletonization’ of watches. The museum of the Napoleonian Army in Paris still showcases this watch. Whether official or not, these two incidences, occurring in about the same time, starts the timeline of such watches.

Now, the best brands are introducing every possible feature and fusion to these classic no-battery watches. From purely mechanical, to automatic to a blend of both—are their movements. Some have won Guiness records for the sleekest women’s skeleton watch, some as others. Watch connoisseurs find them as classy as is luxury. Their mesmerizing movement, intricate engraving and delicate detailing—all tell the story of how painstaking their birth is.

One single watch, depending on its complexity, could take three years to make”–goes  the luxury watchmaker Roger Smith when covered by BBC Future. Smith’s watchmakers

To list down ten such watches is hard because each has its unique beauty. Popular preference, reviews and price range (because one can cost even million dollars!) shortlist these ten:

1. Orient Men’s CFTAB002W Power Reserve Semi-Skeleton
orient skeleton watches
This Japanese automatic movement with semi skeleton from renowned Orient stands out bold. The white rectangle dial with 22 mm SS chain is water resistant to 100 meters. The small opening for skeletonized dial offers a great mechanical view. There is also a racecar windshield on the dial. This extremely durable SS watch with SS chain comes in at just over $500.

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2. Moog Paris Chameleon Women’s Automatic Watch with Skeleton Dial
moog skeleton watches
This Skeleton dial with Swarovski elements from the French brand Moog Paris displays analog watch through automatic movement. It comes rose gold SS case and women’s standard band with butterfly buckle. This unisex watch with stunning looks and a 2-year warranty at just $370 is a fashion element to die for.

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3. Jiusko 210LSG02 Luxury Skeleton Watch
jiusko skeleton watches
Another neat skeleton from Jiusko is their silver-golden 210LSG02 Luxury Mens. The minimal designed of whatever is left on the dial pushes the focus to the jaw-dropping golden mechanical parts. The four diamond markers at 3, 6,9,12 only complements the beautiful crown and the butterfly buckled elegant chain. The scratchproof sapphire glass, SS chain and the 100m resistance make it bolder-than-beauty.

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4. JORD Automatic Skeleton Wooden Watch
jord skeleton watches
Picture a mechanical watch with solid black metal dial with contemporary numerals—all that nestled in a wood watch. Hard to visualize? However, that is exactly what comes from the JORD Dover Series Skeleton Automatic men’s. This natural but durable handmade construction offers ultra accurate time without any batteries at $325. The accentuated grain on the wood are polished smooth with splash proof Tung oil.

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5. Stuhrling Original Men’s 368B.33152 Symphony Aristocrat Gemini II

After the wooden Bezel, comes this coin edged bezel with dual balance wheel skeleton dial within a Krysterna crystal front-and-back glass.  I often wonder whats more intriguing—the  movement itself or the wide variety of cases that house a skeleton watch. The black Roman numerals play a hide and seek with the black alligator embossed calfskin leather straps. This amazing Stuhrling comes in under $360.

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6. Stuhrling 217.331516 Symphony Eternity Chernabog Skeleton Mechanical Watch
stuhrling-original
Coupled with the above, another from Stuhrling with a little drama carefully tweaked in. The SS case with the silver, gold and bronze mechanical movement acts perfectly with the 17 jewels and the blue hands. Its Krysterna scratch resistant crystal with 50M water resistance with obviously the amazing hand engraved skeleton costs $223.16

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7. Rougois Mechanique Silver Skeleton
rougois skeleton watches
This 44mm silver Bezel watch is as stunning as is functional. The two-tone watch with additional trimming serves the skeletonization best. The large crown goes well with the SS rivets on the leather straps. The blue hands and a  subdial for the second hand tweaks the design and all these awesomeness comes in at just over $170.

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8. Stuhrling Original Men’s 644.02 Legacy Automatic Skeleton
stuhrling skeleton watches
Inheriting the Stuhrling nucleus, the Legacy 644 from the same family displays an exquisite skeltonized dial nestling graceful ultra accurate mechanical movements. Stuhrling cares for precision, for Ingenuity; and the bit reflects that. The 1.3-pounds 42mm SS watch closes in a folder over clasp. The unique skeleton comes in under $200.

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9. Kenneth Cole New York Men’s Automatic Stainless Steel
kenneth skeleton watches
This beige Kenneth Cole Japanese Automatic movement featuring skeleton dial and see through case back is just jaw-dropping. The solid black 44mm case harmonizes healthy around the black hour markers over some moving silver mechanics. The sewn calfskin leather reflects back the chic Kenneth Cole style. This awesome timepiece is available at just below $100.

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10. WINNER Unisex Classic Gold Tone Skeleton
winner skeleton watches
And finally a golden rectangular case housing some mesmerizing mechanical movements. This WINNER Unisex Classic watch incorporates Hardlex glass over a finely trimmed dial to expose its beauty. The genuine leather, the SS case and 10 meter resistance- all give it a good buy at just $60.

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Consequently, whether Skeleton watches are mechanical demonstration or a thing of luxury—is the ultimate showdown. Because one such watch can cost $2.7Million! (Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4) (http://blog.karlexwatches.com/skeleton-watches/ )Yes, you heard it right. Because one such watch can take three years to take shape. Because each is so priceless that, they deserve a place in the museum.

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