Skeleton watches — timepieces whose mechanical movements have been stripped down to their “bare bones” in order to offer the wearer a view of their innermost workings — remained a popular category at this year’s Baselworld watch fair. Here are some notable new skeletons, in a variety of price ranges.
The Arnold & Son UTTE Skeleton, the latest in the brand’s Instrument Collection, is the world’s thinnest skeleton tourbillon watch on the market, with a 42-mm, 5N rose gold case measuring just 8.34 mm thick, containing a manual-wind tourbillon movement just 3.3 mm thick. The movement, Caliber A&S220, is a reinvented version of Arnold & Son’s ultra-thin Caliber A&S200, which retains the base movement’s large, three-dimensional tourbillon cage and lengthy power reserve, but has been heavily modified through skeletonization of key components. These include an all-new mainplate; a totally revised tourbillon cage for the one-minute flying tourbillon, which occupies a massive 14 mm of the movement’s 32-mm diameter; and new skeletonized barrels for ensuring constant force and 90 hours of power reserve. Haute horlogerie finishes abound, including the brand’s hallmark côtes de Genève rayonnantes pattern on the mainplate and bridges. Limited to 50 pieces and attached to a hand-stitched brown or black alligator strap with a rose-gold pin buckle, the watch retails for $76,750.
Also pushing the boundaries of horological slimness is the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Skeleton, whose hand-wound, openworked movement, Caliber BVL 128SK, comes in at barely 2.35 mm thick but still provides a power reserve of 65 hours. The baseplate and bridges of the movement have a black coating, with circular satin-brushed finishing and chamfered edges; contrasting rose-gold is used for the hour and minute hands, the small seconds hand at 6 o’clock, and the power-reserve-indicator hand between 9 and 10 o’clock, as well as the bezel on the 40-mm Octo case, made of stainless steel with a black DLC coating. The screw-locked winding crown is also in rose gold, with a black ceramic insert, and rose-gold screws fasten the exhibition caseback. The black alligator leather strap integrates smoothly into the case lugs and fastens by means of a black-DLC-coated titanium pin buckle. The price: $26,900.
The movement in the Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton, Caliber GP01800-0006, is based on Girard-Perregaux’s existing GP1800 caliber, but here all the important components, including bridges and plates, have been painstakingly skeletonized and treated with a galvanic process to give it an anthracite-gray ruthenium finish. This openworked structure — with its chamfered, polished, satin-brushed and hand-finished surfaces — renders components that would normally be invisible to naked eye, including gears, levers, and bolts, to be exposed, on both sides, behind nonreflective sapphire crystals; it also allows for the unusual arrangement of parts that places the balance wheel at 12 o’clock, framed by leaf-shaped hour and minute hands. Both the movement and case of the watch are elegantly slender: 30.6 mm in diameter and 4.16 in thickness for the movement, 38 mm-diameter and 9.27 mm thick for the case, which is made of 18k rose gold. The watch comes on a black alligator strap fastened by a rose-gold pin buckle and is priced at $55,400. Read our “Watch to Watch” article on the Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton for more details.
The Oris Artix Skeleton, which sports various shades of black and gray plating on its skeletonized movement parts, is one of the more accessibly priced skeleton watches among this year’s offerings, at just $2,800. Among its clever aesthetic touches is the Oris company logo, discreetly milled into a dial-side movement bridge near the 3 o’clock position, and well-placed openings that allow the wearer an occasional glimpse from the front of Oris’s signature red rotor. Of course, the presence of the rotor means that this watch also features automatic winding (the movement is a modified version of the Oris Caliber 734, based on the Sellita SW 200-1). The multi-part steel case is a relatively modest 39 mm in diameter (as compared to 42 mm for the original Artix), water-resistant to 100 meters, and features a screwed back with a mineral crystal window. The applied indices and nickel hour and minute hands are filled with Super-LumiNova. The Oris Artix Skeleton is fitted with a black leather strap with steel folding clasp, and is also available with a steel bracelet with butterfly clasp.
Bargain seekers will also want to check out the Raymond Weil Freelancer Skeleton, another black-on-black timepiece with a 42.5-mm PVD-coated steel case, a black galvanic dial with a large opening for a view of the openworked movement, and a matching black calfskin leather strap. Like the Bulgari watch, this one also features rose-gold details for contrast: the barrel-shaped, central hour and minute hands and applied hour indices are rose-gold plated. Like the Oris, it is equipped with an automatic movement, Raymond Weil’s Caliber RW4215 (also Sellita-based), whose skeletonized bridges have been treated with circular graining and a ruthenium finish. The screw-down caseback features a sapphire window; the crystal over the dial has a dual-sided anti-glare coating. The strap’s folding clasp is in black PVD-coated steel and has a double-push-button security system. And the price on this watch certainly won’t break the bank for most: just $2,595.