Whether you’re an entry-level watch aficionado or a horological veteran who understands everything there is to know about movements, complications, and timekeeping, there are a variety of offerings that strive to satiate your thirst for established wristwear. Sure, a classic, full-bodied watch might seem like the perfect companion for every occasion — from board meetings and international travel to a night out on the town — but what about self-expression? An homage to your individual creativity? A signifier of your commitment to well-built Swiss craftsmanship? If you’re searching for a way to set yourself apart from the crowd, a skeletonized watch is often the perfect solution.
Now, skeletonized watches might not be for everyone — after all, they can be a little outlandish. The exclusion of the watch’s solid dial, a non-transparent case back, and traditional details might seem a little bit off of the beaten path when it comes to your usual, comfortable wristwatch. However, if you’re the type of person who enjoys the craft of renowned timekeeping, and you have a healthy respect for the small, intricate trappings of the classic wrist adornment, there’s no better option for stylish wear. These complex accessories pair perfectly with high-end tailored suits, lavish dress attire, and refined footwear. But they’re just as handsome when donned next to a well-thought-out casual outfit. From luxurious alligator and premium leather straps, polished titanium and PVD-coated cases, and intricate movements, skeleton watches have found a way to integrate a high-fashion mindset with that of practical, everyday wear. We know that, due to their niche following, it might be difficult to sort out what’s what when you’re looking for your next skeleton — but never fear. Below, we’ll outline the best skeleton watches you can buy right now and give you a quick rundown of the companies that are leading the pack when it comes to intricate wristwear.
Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic Skeleton Gent Auto
Hamilton’s 40mm Jazzmaster Viewmatic Skeleton Gent Auto is a testament to the quality of the Pennsylvania-based watchmaker, which has consistently married timeless American style and classic Swiss influence for their extensive wristwear catalog. An exposed escapement, barrel, and hairspring bring the manufacturer’s H-20-S movement to life, giving meaning to every stroke, while a skeletonized dial gives perspective to the watch’s inner workings. A calf leather strap, stainless steel case, and 50-meter water resistance ensure that the Skeleton Gent will stay ticking for years to come.
Tissot T-Complication Squelette
Tissot’s notable timekeepers have received high praise over the lifetime of the company, making it even easier to believe that the exposed caliber of their T-Complication Squelette would warrant such an admired reaction from wearers. A visible mechanical skeleton movement blends the watch’s surprisingly modern (and sleek) internal architecture with a 43mm 316L stainless steel case and black leather strap, offering a classic look that still embodies hints of present-day design principles. The T-Complication’s domed, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal utilizes a double-sided anti-reflective coating and see-through case back — providing the perfect contemporary timepiece for those who want to take a step outside of the box.
Raymond Weil Freelancer Calibre RW1212
Raymond Weil’s Freelancer Calibre RW1212 is the perfect watch for those who admire the smallest details when it comes to design. The brand’s all-black 42mm case features an open-faced assembly that visibly declares the internal workings of the watch, alongside a black dial which highlights the Freelancer’s impeccably crafted balance wheel — one of the primary aspects of the watch’s movement. An anti-glare sapphire crystal, steel-screwed and fluted crown, and a black calf leather strap add a tasteful array of peripheral qualities to the RW1212, while a 38-hour power reserve and 100-meter water resistance give it a few technical aspects as well.
Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre Heuer 01 Automatic Skeleton Dial
While Tag Heuer’s Carrera Calibre Heuer 01 Automatic Skeleton Dial might not adhere to the definition of a traditional skeleton watch, it certainly falls in line with some of the style’s most redeeming qualities. In fact, the Carrera’s skeleton dial and silver-toned hands work swimmingly alongside the watch’s transparent case back and semi-visible internals. A fine-brushed, polished steel case and PVD coating ensure that you get the best of both worlds when it comes to both luxury and taste, while the 01’s fixed bezel, tachymeter scale, and 45mm case give you an overstated accessory that will earn the admiration of others. To top it all off, the 100-meter water resistance and sport-style silhouette help the watch to fulfill its mission to mix class and utility — giving the skeleton watch a place among your collection as the quintessential piece of dual-purpose wristwear.
Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Squelette Torque
Maurice Lacroix’s Masterpiece Squelette Torque isn’t only market-oriented wordplay, it’s actually a well-fashioned accessory, representative of the watchmaker’s extensive, craft-honed knowledge. The 43mm wonder sports an exceedingly handsome design that utilizes a black crocodile strap, polished stainless steel case, and Rhodium plated hands to achieve a timeless look — placing it at the forefront of the industry as one of the best skeleton watches around. To grasp the watch’s powerful, yet technical design, Maurice Lacroix implemented a black PVD with Grand Colimaçon and sandblasted finishings alongside an intricate manufacture manual ML134 movement and 45-hour power reserve — all of which are visible through the watch’s domed sapphire crystal.
Chronoswiss Timemaster Chronograph Skeleton
Chronoswiss is no stranger to the chronograph community, and their skeletonized Timemaster adds one of the manufacturer’s most highly-regarded watches to the list of aesthetically pleasing wristwear. The sport-inspired watch utilizes a skeletonized, galvanic matte black dial and Super-LumiNova hands to define its top side, while a 44 mm stainless steel case and satin-finished case back house the manufacturer’s touted Caliber C. 741 S automatic movement. A side knurled, screw-down bezel secures the Timemaster’s sapphire crystal, protecting the intricate parts within. Sticking with the chronograph’s clearly defined sport aesthetic, a rubber strap, folding clasp, and 100-meter water resistance come standard with the watch — proving that a refined accessory also has a place outside of the board room.
Hublot Classic Fusion Ultra-Thin Skeleton Titanium
The Hublot Classic Fusion Ultra-Thin Skeleton Titanium is one of those watches that speaks to the status of the individual wearing it — offering a niche design that can only be appreciated by a true connoisseur of the wristwear world. A 45mm polished and satin-finished titanium case houses the accessory’s trademark HUB1300.4 manual-winding skeleton movement, 90-hour power reserve, and sapphire dial with polished rhodium-plated appliques and hands, while six H-shaped screws secure the watch’s anti-reflective sapphire in its place. You have a choice between either a black rubber or alligator strap system, as well as a stainless steel deployant buckle clasp that adds the perfect, tasteful touch to the timepiece.
Chronoswiss Sirius Analog Chronograph
The Sirius collection is one of Chronoswiss’ most lauded selections of wristwear, and the Analog Chronograph skeleton does well to define itself among a variety of its peers. Utilizing a glorious 18-karat red gold case and satin finished screw-down case back, the Analog strives to retain the qualities of classic skeletonized watches while adding a hint of modern design into the mix. A 42mm diameter, full-thread bezel houses the watch’s Caliber C. 741 S automatic movement, while a sterling silver, skeletonized dial works in tandem with the Chronograph’s Breguet Losange hands to create a sleek, aesthetically pleasing silhouette. To round out the classic offering, Chronoswiss decided to include a 46-hour power reserve and 30 meters of water resistance — welcome utilities for the avid wearer.
Audemars Piguet Millenary 4101
Audemars Piguet is certainly one of the most “animated” watch manufacturers in the industry today, and their Millenary 4101 skeleton watch is no departure from the brand’s trademark style. An oval-shaped, 4101 caliber mechanical automatic movement, transparent case back, and 18-karat gold case give aficionados a miraculous view of the watch’s internal trappings, while an anthracite and silver-toned dial adds a touch of class to the visible areas of the Millenary’s topside. If the 4101’s luxurious case and movement aren’t quite enough, the black crocodile strap and 18-karat rose gold deployant clasp might be. What’s more — each dial and movement comes adorned with Audemars Piguet’s personal signature — so you can rest assured knowing that you’re wearing a truly unique item.
Piaget Altiplano White Gold Ultra-Thin Skeleton
Piaget Altiplano’s White Gold Ultra-Thin Skeleton watch is a top-of-the-line accessory, and the watchmaker’s renowned Swiss heritage is surely to blame. As an unerring competitor in the skeleton watch space, the manufacturer’s 38 mm, 18-karat white gold case is a testament to luxurious watch construction and features a unique sapphire skeleton back, a 1200S automatic movement, and a silvered dial that personifies the term “essential wristwear.” An Ardillon buckle and black alligator strap outfit the timekeeper with a pair of lavish peripherals, while the watch’s 03 ATM water resistance gives you peace-of-mind while using your expensive skeleton around dangerous water.
Complications: The Chronograph Watch Explained
Now that you’ve decided on the quintessential skeleton watch for your tasteful wardrobe, it’s time to expand your horological knowledge to match your timepiece. A quick read through our detailed explanation of the chronograph watch will certainly start you on the path to wisdom.