Top Five Skeleton Watches
With its inner workings proudly on display, a skeleton watch can’t help but create a sense of intrigue.
Showing off just how complicated it is to keep track of time, ditching the dial has helped to create some of the most striking automatic timepieces of the last 20 years, such as TAG Heuer’s Carrera Calibre Heuer 01 and the first skeletonised Rolex Daytona which was released last year.
What is a skeleton watch?
First invented in the 1760’s by a Frenchman called André-Charles Caron, a skeleton watch is definitely designed to show off.
The dial is removed to reveal all the intricate inner workings of the movement; allowing glimpses of whirling cogs, tightly wound hair-springs and cut-away bridges with intricate finishes.
However, whilst Caron’s skeleton pocket watches captured the imagination of Parisian courtiers, it wasn’t until the quartz revolution changed the face of watchmaking around 200 years later that the skeleton watch really caught on.
Back to the bare bones
In the 70’s and 80’s quartz was king when it came to ultra-reliable, slim and affordable timepieces. We fell out of love with mechanical watches in favour of the new digital wristwatches which were a symbol of the exciting new high-tech world.
But, just as Caron’s design reignited the love affair with pocket watches by showing off more of the movement; lifting the hood to reveal the good old-fashioned engineering inside did wonders for the luxury mechanical watch industry.
Suddenly brands were showing off just how complicated their luxury mechanical watches were with openwork dials revealing the beautiful movements inside.
Today, skeleton watches range from beautiful baroque-inspired timepieces which evoke the romance of a by-gone era, to bold, high-tech pieces whose skeleton dials demonstrate the best of modern-day engineering.
One thing’s for certain; having a skeleton watch is a really cool way to stand out from the crowd. They really are beautiful to look at, putting the spotlight on an intricate, timeless craft and offering up a front-row view into the world of mechanical engineering.
Our five best skeleton watches
When it comes to making an unmistakeable style statement, we’re all about dropping the dial.
Ingersoll Herald Automatic -£455
Trendy, retro and with all the clever little details of mechanical timekeeping proudly on display, what more could you want from this Ingersoll Herald men’s skeleton watch?
The movement’s contrasting finishes and metals really demonstrate the intricate craftsmanship that goes into each watch, whilst the exhibition caseback allows you to admire the detail from every angle.
If you’ve got your heart set on adding a skeleton watch to your collection, Ingersoll have plenty of options to choose from.
A masterpiece of refined style and watchmaking know-how, gazing into the dial of this watch gives you a true sense of what makes this Swiss brand tick.
Raymond Weil Freelancer Skeleton - £2,195
Making keeping track of time a work of art, this men’s skeleton watch is an elegant, baroque-inspired take on this eye-catching style.
We love the blued-steel hands and hour markers which adds another dimension to the Freelancer’s vintage vibe.
Bulova Automatic - £399
The great thing about skeleton dials is that they look great on ultra-modern, sporty styles too.
This black skeleton watch from Bulova proves the point, combining stand-out design with innovative style to create a look that’s all about powerful mechanical engineering.
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Skeleton Automatic Chronograph - £8,900
Taking the trend for blackout watches to new levels of luxury and precision, if you’re looking for a black skeleton watch that allows you a glimpse of one of the most impressive movements around, then the Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Skeleton is for you.
Subtle and understated, this men’s skeleton watch shows off what’s going on under the hood without ever being too brash or overbearing - we love it.
Want a luxury watch without everything on show? View our guide on the Ten Luxury Watches To Be Seen In to find the perfect watch for you.