The Appeal of Skeleton Watches for Men

Skeleton watches aren’t a new concept, but they definitely seem to be on the rise. With so many different styles of skeleton watches for men out there I want to give you some tips on finding the perfect skeleton watch to fit your style. More and more watch brands are creating skeleton watches in their collections to feed the ever growing demand of these beautiful time pieces. What makes them unique is that you get to see the inner workings of the watch which brings awe and wonder to anyone that sets their eyes on them. Let’s see what makes skeleton watches for men so appealing.

What Makes A Skeleton Watch So Special

There is nothing wrong with a well crafted watch dial. Watch dials give your watch character and there are so many ways to differentiate a watch based on dial alone. Everything from the hands, to the indices there is much variation and many options to choose from when choosing a watch based on it’s dial alone. So if watch dials are what give your watches character than what makes a skeleton watch so special?

There is nothing more beautiful than seeing your watch tick. This is why many watches especially mechanical and automatic ones provide an exhibition or clear case back so that you can glare in awe at the inner workings of your watch. A skeleton watch takes it to the next level by allowing you to see the inner workings of your watch from the front as well. Being able to see all the parts working together ever so smoothly from the front and back is truly an awesome site. Especially depending on the movement being used.

Many watches contain jewels in their movements as bearings to help your watch run smoothly. The jewels are smooth and don’t cause much friction so they don’t wear down as easy and help your watch parts move more smoothly. Skeleton watches allow you to see the many beautiful jewels in your watch that can range anywhere from a few to more than 30. This helps your skeleton watch have an even more luxurious look by showing off the many jewels and well polished components from within.

Skeleton Watch vs Open Heart Watch

Jaeger-LeCoultre: Master Eight Day Perpetual Skeleton Watch
I own a Fossil Townsman Automatic and this watch has what is called an open-heart dial. I actually went and purchased my father-in-law a very expensive Swiss made Earnshaw Beagle open-heart watch for Christmas that is a beautiful piece of work. However, an open-heart watch is not the same as a skeleton watch. Let’s not get confused here. A true skeleton watch must strip itself to it’s bare bones. Originally created in the 18th century by a (Frenchmen) named Andre’ Charles-Caron. He named this style of watch the openwork or skeleton watch dial. Have you ever seen a race car that has a window to view it’s engine. Skeleton watches are very similar in that you get to see the engine of your watch in full view.

For those who want to see their watch movement and still enjoy a dial. You can opt for an open-heart watch

Edox-Les Vauberts: Open Heart Watch
like one of the two examples I mentioned above. Just make sure that you understand the different between the two because an open-heart dial is essentially the best of both words giving you a dial and a window into the heart of your watch, whereas a skeleton watch doesn’t need any of those features because the beauty is in the movement itself.


Another thing to note about skeleton watches is that the watch makers often put extra detail and craftsmanship into the movements of the watch to make the movement standout more so than the movement inside a watch that is being hidden by a dial. You will often see more jewels, and engravings on the movements as well as highly polished parts within. The more luxurious and expensive skeleton watches will even have parts that are made of pure gold or other precious metals to really help your watch shine and sparkle.

The Movement Says It All…

17 Jewel, Swiss ETA-1280 movement from the 1950’s

We live in a day and age where more and more watch brands are being created every day. You have your big and well-established brands producing skeleton watches like TIssot, Tag Heuer, Oris, and Bvlgari as well as many indie brands and newcomers like Stuhrling. Even Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Audemars Piguet have created skeleton timepieces for those watch collectors that have the money to buy them. At the end of the day your skeleton watch price will be dependent upon the movement itself. After-all the movement of your watch is the main show when it comes to skeleton watches.

There are 3 main countries that provide the movements for the majority of watches on the market.

  • Swiss
  • Japanese
  • Chinese

Swiss movements tend to be the most expensive and usually the most intricate. A very popular Swiss movement that you will find in much of the market is the ETA movement. That isn’t to say that the Japanese aren’t far behind. They have very reliable movements that in some cases are even better than their Swiss counterparts. However, the price is usually in the mid-range with these. The most popular Japanese watch movements are manufactured by Seiko and they dominate the Japanese market. Of course the Chinese have come a long way and their movements have become quite good in the last decade or so. You can find automatic skeleton Chinese watches as cheap as $20.00. In many cases they just aren’t as reliable and good as the ladder. The most reliable Chinese movements are manufactured by Seagull and their movements aren’t bad by today’s standard.

So What Have We Learned…


Skeleton watches aren’t going anywhere. They have been around for 100’s of years since the first one was produced. The demand is on the rise and you can bet your favorite watch that you will be seeing more and more of these skeleton watches from watch brands in the future. We know that skeleton watches give you a view to the engine of your watch and that even though all skeleton watches have the same concept, there are many ways to differentiate by the craftsmanship of the movement and the movement itself.

When looking for your next skeleton watch, make sure it fits your budget, it looks good on your wrist, the movement is of superior quality (regardless of it’s country of origin) and as always, make sure it’s a watch to remember…

***Let me and the community know what skeleton watches you have in your collection in the comments below***

4 thoughts on “The Appeal of Skeleton Watches for Men”

  1. Hi,

    I remember these watches being quite the fad 20 years or so ago, I loved them then and certainly am glad to see them back in fashion now.

    Very interesting article and certainly nice to learn the difference between the skeleton and open-heart.

    Might just be time for me to hint the other-half what I want for my birthday!

    • Hehe, yeah, I have to take a break from buying anymore watches as I went on a watch buying spree last year. I don’t actually own any skeleton watches at the moment. I do however have an open-heart watch. I will surely be adding a skeleton watch to my collection in the future, just haven’t found one that really tickled my fancy yet.


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