5 Standout Skeleton Watches From SIHH 2015

Cartier Crash Skeleton - frontThe WatchTime editorial team recently returned from SIHH 2015, and one of the trends we noticed at this year’s fair was a number of brands putting their own spin on the classical skeleton watch. Here are five new skeleton watches worthy of a closer look.

The first Cartier Crash watch appeared in 1967 and its oddball, asymmetrical design — inspired by an actual damaged (“crashed”) Cartier watch — became an icon of the Swinging London era. Over the years, various versions of the Crash have appeared, produced in very limited editions, becoming cult favorites among Cartier watch enthusiasts. This year’s Cartier Crash Skeleton, however, is a true milestone in the collection — the first Cartier Crash with an openworked movement that is actually shaped to conform to the “crashed” dimensions of the case. The skeletonized, manual-wind movement, Cartier’s in-house Caliber 9618 MC, has distinctively sculpted plates and features bridges that flow into the shapes of curvy Roman numerals, allowing the movement itself to serve as the dial. The steel components boast satin finishing and the Roman numeral bridges have chamfered and polished flanks. The platinum case measures 28.15 mm x 45.32 mm and includes a see-through caseback. The hands are sword-shaped and made of blued steel, and the winding crown is adorned with a blue cabochon. The movement is made up of 138 parts, including 20 jewels, and holds a power reserve of approximately three days. The Cartier Crash Skeleton comes on a gray alligator leather strap with double folding clasp.

Cartier Crash Skeleton - front
Cartier Crash Skeleton, front (above) and back (below)

Cartier Crash Skeleton - back

Parmigiani introduced a new version of its familiar Tonda 1950 collection with a new skeletonized movement. Caliber PF 705, the automatic movement powering the new Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Squelette, is just 2.6 mm thick and 30 mm in diameter. It has 144 components, including 29 jewels, a 42-hour power reserve and a frequency of 21,600 vph. Caliber PF 705 uses a platinum micro-rotor, which is visible through the back of the case at the top right. (Thanks to the openworked design, it can also be seen through the front.) An invisible sapphire crystal is placed above the movement and under the hands. It has a metallic rim, which serves to hide the points of contact between the movement and the case and thus giving the watch the appearance of having no dial at all. At the top of this rim you’ll find the Parmigiani Fleurier logo. The case of the Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Squelette is 39 mm in diameter and only 7.8 mm thick. It comes in rose gold or white gold and comes on an alligator strap made by Hermes. Click here to read more.

Parmigiani Tonda Squellette - front
Parmigiani Tonda Squelette, front (above) and back (below)
Parmigiani Tonda Squellette - back


Piaget, the “king of thin,” sets another watch-world slimness record with the Piaget Emperador Coussin 1270S Ultra-Thin Tourbillon Automatic Skeleton: it is the world’s thinnest watch with a skeletonized automatic movement that also features a tourbillon. The watch, part of Piaget’s Black Tie collection, has a cushion-shaped case (hence “coussin,” French for “cushion”) measuring a mere 8.85 mm thick. The movement, Caliber 1270S, is similarly slender, made up of 225 parts (35 jewels) but just 5.05 mm thick. Like the Parmigiani Tonda, this watch has an off-centered, platinum micro-rotor for its automatic winding (most skeleton movements are manual-wound) and a tourbillon topped with a stylized Piaget “P” emblem. These two elements are juxtaposed in a figure eight motif in the upper left of the dial, while the hours and minutes are indicated by off-center hands in the lower right. There are two versions of the Piaget Emperador Coussin 1270S, one in white gold, with black PVD treatment on the screws and micro-rotor; and the other with both the case and the movement in rose gold (pictured below).

Piaget Emperador Coussin Skeleton - front
Piaget Emperador Coussin 1270S Ultra-Thin Tourbillon Skeleton, front (above) and back (below)
Piaget Emperador Coussin Skeleton - back


Ralph Lauren Watches and Jewelry added pieces to its Automotive collection, whose design was inspired by Lauren’s own 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe. These included a new chronograph as well as the brand’s first openworked watch, the Ralph Lauren RL Automotive Skeleton. The movement, Caliber RL1967, is manually wound and features a black finish on the plate and bridges, echoing the treatment on the shot-blasted stainless steel case. The initials “RL” are set into a black disk offset from the mainspring barrel at 12 o’clock. The black elements of the movement contrast with the steel and brass gear train elements, the large balance wheel, and the sword-shaped hour and minute hands coated with beige Super-LumiNova. Like other timepieces in the Ralph Lauren Automotive line, the bezel is made of amboyna burl, a wood with distinctive swirling grain patterns that has long been used in the interiors of luxury automobiles.

Ralph Lauren Automotive Skeleton - reclining
Ralph Lauren Automotive Skeleton, front (above) and back (below)
Ralph Lauren Automotive Skeleton - back

Of all the watch brands exhibiting at SIHH, Roger Dubuis truly went all-in with the skeleton theme this year, declaring 2015 to be the brand’s “Year of the Skeleton.” Among its many openworked offerings (click here for others) was the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Tourbillon, the sportiest of its new models, with a titanium-and-black DLC case and a number of eye-catching, aluminum elements in sports car red, including the bezel ring, crown, and case band. Limited to 188 pieces, the watch contains the RD01SQ caliber (which Roger Dubuis built from the ground up as a skeleton movement rather than simply taking an existing movement and carving elements out of it) and is available with several strap options, Like Roger Dubuis’s other “Astral Skeleton” watches, this one has openworking on the case as well as the movement, and its movement features the “star” motif as well as the spiderweb-like patterns of the bridges that give the watch its “Spider” moniker. To read what our colleagues at the Monochrome watches blog had to say about the Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Tourbillon, click here.

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Double Tourbillon
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Double Tourbillon (above) and its movement, Caliber RD01SQ (below)


Roger Dubuis Caliber RD01SQ
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  1. Debashish

    These skeleton watches look fabulous, but reading time on these skeleton watches would be real tough.

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