FEATURE

Bare Bones: 10 Standout Skeleton Watches


In skeleton watches, the watchmaker strips the watch’s dial and/or movement to their bare essentials, revealing as much of the watch’s interior as possible. For watch aficonados who love the technical “openwork” artistry that goes into skeleton watchmaking, these timepieces give them a detailed look at a watch’s inner workings. Below we take a look at 10 skeleton watches introduced in recent years.

1. Blancpain Squelette 8 Jours

Blancpain Villeret Squelette 8 Jours
Blancpain Villeret Squelette 8 Jours

The Blancpain Squelette 8 Jours (Ref. 6633-1500-55B), from the brand’s elegant Villeret collection, offers one of the most intricately executed openworked movements on the market. The manufacture movement on display through the front and back sapphire crystals is the manual-wind Calibre 1333SQ, which is equipped with a titanium balance, a Breguet balance spring, and three series-coupled barrels that provide the timepiece an impressive eight-day (“8 Jours” en Francais) power reserve. Click here for more details on the Blancpain Squelette 8 Jours.

2. Chronoswiss Timemaster Chronograph

Chronoswiss Timemaster Chronograph Skeleton - blue hands
Chronoswiss Timemaster Chronograph Skeleton

At Baselworld 2014, Chronoswiss released, for the first time ever, a skeletonized version of its sporty Chronoswiss Timemaster Chronograph, which allows wearers an unencumbered view of the watch’s filigreed and decorated automatic movement and offers two different dials, both surrounded by robust, DLC-coated bezels. Both versions of the Chronoswiss Timemaster Chronograph Skeleton have stainless steel cases (44 mm in diameter and 15.3 mm thick) with bezels made of polished, black DLC. For more details on this watch, click here.

3. Glashütte Original Senator Manual Winding Skeletonized Edition

Glashutte Original Senator Manual Winding Skeletonized Edition
Glashütte Original Senator Manual Winding Skeletonized Edition

German luxury watch brand Glashütte Original introduced the Senator Manual Winding Skeletonized Edition at Baselworld 2014. It features an all-new, skeletonized movement created in-house, Glashütte Original Caliber 49-18. The watch, which has a 42-mm-diameter case made of polished 18k rose gold, showcases its intricately openworked movement in the center of its galvanized silver, openworked dial. A black railroad track minutes ring and finely drawn Roman numerals decorate the dial’s periphery, while blued, stainless steel hour and minute hands keep the time. Click here for more on the watch.

4. Hublot Classic Fusion Classico Ultra-Thin All Black

Hublot Classic Fusion Classico Ultra-Thin All Black
Hublot Classic Fusion Classico Ultra-Thin All Black

Recently, Hublot introduced a new addition to its line of Classic Fusion skeleton watches: the Hublot Classic Fusion Classico Ultra-Thin All Black. The ultra-thin watch has diameter of 45 mm and a case thickness of just 8.3 mm. The skeletonized movement, Hublot’s manual-winding HUB1300 “Classico” caliber, was designed and built entirely at the brand’s manufacture in Nyon. Composed of 130 parts, including 23 jewels, it measures a wafer-thin 2.9 mm in thickness. Because of the openworked structure of the movement, wearers can view the watch’s regulating organ, its balance and its escapement, at work even while they’re reading the time. The Classico beats at a frequency of 21,600 vph (3 Hz) and boasts a 90-hour power reserve.

5. Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Squelette Torque

Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Skeleton
Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Squelette Torque

Maurice Lacroix recently added the Masterpiece Squelette Torque to its Masterpiece collection. This skeleton watch has a 43-mm stainless steel case with a domed sapphire crystal to show off the skeletonized Caliber ML 134. which features automatic winding and as 45-hour power reserve. The bridges, disks, and wheels are on full display; the bridges are treated with tantalum or gold-colored PVD and coated with a satin finish. The main bridge is decorated with Maurice Lacroix’s familiar “Grand Colimaçon” finish and sandblasted.

6. Piaget Altiplano 38mm Only Watch 2013 Skeleton 1200S

Piaget Altiplano 38mm Only Watch 2013 Skeleton 1200S
Piaget Altiplano 38mm Only Watch 2013 Skeleton 1200S

Made for the Only Watch 2013 charity auction, this Piaget watch shattered another record for thinness, a skill for which this brand is well-known. The watch contains in-house Caliber 1200S, the world’s thinnest automatic openworked movement (2.40 mm thick). In this unique piece, Piaget has treated both the movement and the 18k white-gold case with a black PVD finish. The watch, with a case measuring only 5.34 mm thick, is the most slender in the world equipped with an automatic skeletonized movement.

7. Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Italdesign Edition

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider ItalDesign Edition
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider ItalDesign Edition

The Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Italdesign Edition, limited to just eight pieces worldwide and was released alongside the “Italdesign Automobili Special,” an ultra-limited series customizable car from Moncalieri, Italy-based Italdesign, a renowned producer of cutting-edge prototype show cars. The eight pieces will be available exclusively in Roger Dubuis boutiques. All info about the watch here.

8. Tissot T-Complication Squelette

Tissot T-Complication Squelette
Tissot T-Complication Squelette

The Tissot T-Complication Squelette has a wheel-inspired design, with five spokes, behind which can be seen the skeletonized movement. The seconds counter is located on one of the spokes, engraved with the word “sec.” The lugs on the stainless steel case are shaped to resemble the spokes of the dial, as well. the watch is powered by a manual-wind movement exclusive to Tissot.

9. Ulysse Nardin Skeleton Manufacture

Ulysse Nardin Skeleton Manufacture
Ulysse Nardin Skeleton Manufacture

Ulysse Nardin launched its Skeleton Manufacture, its first watch with a skeleton tourbillon movement completely developed in-house, in 2013. The manual-wind mechanical movement contains a flying tourbillon that comprises a balance spring, anchor and escapement wheel made of silicon. Below the 12 o’clock position is a ratchet wheel, engraved with the brand’s name, and an indicator for the impressive 170-hour power reserve. On the rose-gold version (seen here), each train wheel is rhodium-plated, while those of the platinum version are finished in 18k yellow gold. The Ulysse Nardin Skeleton Manufacture is available in two limited editions: 99 pieces in rose gold and 99 pieces in platinum.

10. Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art Mecaniques Ajourées blue

Vacheron Constantin Metiers d'Art Mecaniques Ajourees blue
Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art Mecaniques Ajourées blue

According to Vacheron Constantin, the inspiration for its Métiers d’Art Mecaniques Ajourées collection (“ajourée” is French for “openworked”) came from the architectural design of 19th century European railroad stations — the Gothic arches and airy vaults of the Industrial Revolution, along with the distinctive railway wall clocks and their Roman numerals. The movement in these watches, Caliber 4400 SQ (“squellette”) is described by the company as “hand-sculpted,” featuring manual beveling, engraving, and straightening, fine interior angles and contrasting brushed and polished finishes. The outer rings (in black, gray, or blue; there is also a high-jewelry version with baguette diamonds on the bezel) are made of grand feu enamel. The white gold cases are 40 mm in diameter, and the movement bears the Geneva Hallmark. to see other watches in this collection, click here.

This article was originally published in 2013 and has been updated with new material.

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24 Responses to “Bare Bones: 10 Standout Skeleton Watches”

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  1. Margaret hird

    I have a skeleton watch it wind up but it does not got no maker mark on it so how do I find out who the maker is

    Reply
  2. Jean-Pierre

    Thank you for your fine review. I have been in the market and have done a lot of research. Your review is the best that I have seen.

    Best regards,

    Jean-Pierre

    Reply
  3. Love these skeleton watches. However, not on the list the Parmigiani Tonda 1950 version is my absolute favorite!

    Reply
  4. Hi, I think you have ther wrong Maurice Lacroix. Photo is of another masterpiece skeleton.

    Could you check on this?

    Thank you.

    Reply
  5. Rado Centrix Skeleton automatic. $1800 list. Got it at Macy’s, where I would never normally buy a watch, for half price on “Friends and Family” sale. Watch is very nicely made and great to look at. I always think that Rado gives you a lot for the money and most of their watches are very scratch resistant.

    Reply
  6. The Maurice Lacroix is stated as automatic but it appears to be a manual wind by my research. Can someone verify?

    Reply
  7. Debashish

    Skeleton watches are fantastic to look at, but these watches are really tough to read.

    Reply
  8. José Luis Espinosa

    Definitivamente creo que el Maurice Lacroix es la mejor opción en esta selección. La relación costo-beneficio es la mejor, en un reloj perfectamente hermoso. El segundo lugar pondría a Tissot y en tercero al Hublot.
    Qué hace Chronoswiss con un reloj deportivo en esta selección?
    Saludos.

    Reply
  9. One of the best value Skeleton out there (IMO) that was left out is the Orient Star Skeleton. Has a 50 hour power reserve plus a PR indicator.
    Costs about the same as Tissot but offers more complications and since it is a manually wound watch a more stable time-keeping.
    I am very happy with mine.

    Reply
  10. SkeletonKey

    I have to say, I am a sucker for skeleton watches. Thank you for going in-depth here. Instead of heading out to each manufacturer, I can just let you do the hard work.

    Right now I’m more than happy with my ToyWatch Chrono luxury watch (okay, affordable luxury)
    Then again, I do love window shopping. Any chance of a 2014 collection of skeleton watches? Or is the trend largely over?

    Reply
  11. MrTissot

    If you don’t care much for a stop seconds function, then buy a Tissot T-Complication Squelette. Absolutely a steal at the price. I have one and it’s worth every cent.

    Reply
    • Happy-T

      I’m always happy to see my watch, the tissot, in these kinds of lists (in the same list with a RD excalibur no less). Its good to know that price does not dictate taste, at least for some watch snobs though.

      I do however miss the openworked watches by richard mille and franck muller.

      Reply
  12. Pierre Glemot

    In the review both Tourbillon are referred as Flying Tourbillon, when in fact they are central tourbillon. There seems to be no difference between the axis of the flywheel and that of the cage.

    Reply
  13. MrTissot

    These skeletonized watches are truly for the watch connoisseurs who don’t care that the time cannot be read easily. They appreciate the art that has gone into the making of the timepieces. It truly is all there for the appreciation aspect. They are remarkable and personally I would settle on a Breguet Tradition 7047BR Tourbillon for any day of the week! One of the greatest IMHO

    Reply
  14. Uma kastury

    I bought recently a gold (not plated)skeleton watch by maurice lacrose. It is beautiful mechanical and very detaile you can see thru the mechanism front thru back

    Reply
  15. stephedongres

    Thanks for sharing the newest collection of watches it’s very beautiful and has a luxury styles to wear on hand.

    Reply
    • Happy-T

      I have my phone to read the time off.
      Watches are jewelry to me that happen to tell time in an unnecessary complicated fashion.

      Reply
    • Doraneko

      Have been using the Tissot one and it is a beauty. Unlike most other skeleton watches it is easy to read time from it thanks to its large hands, the clear minute marks and the industrial polish of the parts which does not distract you from identifying the position of the hands.

      Reply
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