Skeletonized watches, yay or nay?

Skeletonized watches, yay or nay?

Truth be told, watches that are skeletonized, skeleton or openworked have been pretty much out of mind for the Everest Journal team. We admire that you can see the inner workings of the watch from the dial, but we didn’t really imagine adding one to the collection. 

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Skeleton Watch Carbon

Photo courtesy of Hodinkee

That is until we saw the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked in black ceramic pop up late last year. It doesn’t hurt that it’s from the Royal Oak line and has an ultra cool black ceramic case. The execution has made us rethink the skeleton watch as an entire category.

The concept of a see-through dial to a hollowed-out movement is by itself an interesting concept. If we enjoy clear casebacks to admire a movement, why not showcase the movement while the watch is on the wrist.

While our watch rolls are mostly filled with Rolexes and Tudors, there's no denying this would look pretty incredible inside as well.

An old concept that experienced rebirth

Skeletonized watches were invented in the 1700s by Watchmaker André-Charles Caron but became more popular as a way for watch manufacturers to showcase their differences with the emerging quartz watches in the 1970s and 1980s.

It’s an incredible feat to pull off a skeletonized watch that looks good and is still able to allow its wearer to quickly tell the time. The AP referenced uses pink gold hands and indices to help legibility. Unfortunately, the AP comes with a $84,300 price tag, but there are some more affordable options that might work if you want to scratch the skeletonized watch itch.

Oris Atelier Skeleton Watch

Photo courtesy of Oris

Oris still continues to amaze us

Oris remains independent and is able to carry a complete line of watches, from divers to dress watches to pilots’ watches and seemingly everything in between. The Oris Artelier Skeleton, at 40mm and priced at $2,600, is a handsome package. The fact that the outer rim of the dial is not open-worked allows it to provide more legibility and the ends of the lumed minute and seconds hands extend into the area of the dial with the solid background.

Hamilton Jazzmaster Skeleton 2020

Even more affordable

If you want to try a skeleton watch but have a smaller budget, check out the Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic Skeleton for $1,195. It has an industrial look, softened by the calfskin strap, that will surely be a conversation starter. At 40mm, it’s a great size if you want to wear it as a casual piece.

Piaget Altiplano 900p

Photo courtesy of

A marvel of watchmaking

Piaget often gets overlooked when it comes to the elite level of watchmaking. The company is known for producing some of the world’s thinnest movements and their take on the skeleton watch is simply stunning in execution. 

The Altilplano 900P (starting at $20,000)  is the thinnest mechanical watch on the market at 2.3 millimeters. The movement is integrated into the 38mm white gold case and features a dial design that separates the time-telling component from the visual treat of the see-through dial.

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