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The term skeleton watch sounds eerie to anyone not acquainted with the world of watches. However, behind that awkwardly named wristwear style is one of the most artistic types of watches you can find.
By removing a significant portion of the traditional dial surface, it is possible to showcase the intrinsics of a complex mechanical movement consisting of more than a hundred working parts.
Missing out from such masterpieces would be regrettable, which swiftly takes us to the aim of this particular post.
Since the market is overflowed with skeletonized wristwatches, we’ve decided to list the best skeleton watches that will not only look stunning on your wrist but will also serve you a long time.
Given the wearers’ different preferences to how much finances should be invested into a quality skeleton watch, we’ve diversified the selection with presenting timepieces that have price tags for all sorts of budgets, from an affordable $100 piece up to a premium multi-thousand ticker.
Without further ado, here are the best skeleton watches for men in no particular order.
Best Skeleton Watches
- Bulova BVA Series 96A135
- Stuhrling Executive Automatic Skeleton
- Hamilton Jazzmaster Open Heart Watch
- Relic by Fossil Damon Automatic Skeleton
- Invicta Pro Diver Skeleton Watch
- Orient Star Skeleton Watch
- Tissot T-Complication Squelette
- Michael Kors Halo Gold-Tone Watch
- Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic
- Bulova Automatic 96A187
- Invicta Specialty Mechanical Skeleton Watch
- Stuhrling Original 371 Skeleton
- Lucien Piccard Babylon Watch
- Fossil Townsman Automatic
- Tag Heuer Carrera Skeleton Watch
Bulova BVA Series 96A135
Case Size: 41mm
When talking about quality skeleton watches, then Bulova is often one of the first brands getting mentioned. The American brand under the Citizen Group’s firm wing has delivered some very bold designs that are coupled with reliable quality and affordable prices.
The watch strikes with its polished metallic coloring around the eye-catching golden balance wheel. The dial’s outer ring is occupied by the Roman numerals, while the center of the face features a textured pattern. You’ll not find the second hand sweeping on the main dial due to its placing on one of the subdials, along with 24-hour time.
Beneath the flashy face ticks a 21-jewel Japanese automatic movement, which is also visible through an exhibition caseback. It keeps decent time, holds 40-some hours of power reserve, and rarely disappoints.
The quality and extravagant design of this 41mm stainless steel Bulova are available for less than $500. Backed with high Amazon ratings from hundreds of verified buyers, you are guaranteed of its reliability.
Stuhrling Executive Automatic Skeleton
Case Size: 44mm
If you were to pick a watch brand with the most extravagant appeal, it would be Stuhrling. Homages to famous Rolex and Omega models, as well as golden-toned vintage pocket watches, are the “thing” of the company. However, the best among the best are the skeletonized mechanical pieces.
The Stuhrling Executive Automatic watch boasts a 22-jewel Chinese-origin automatic movement with its complex wheel and gear works visible behind the Hardlex covered dial. One of the features you’ll not find from many other watches is the unique second’s hand subdial – when one hand sweeps from zero to 30 seconds, the other one counts the rest of the figures.
The 44mm stainless steel case is paired with an alligator-embossed genuine leather, making it appropriate for both casual and smart casual wear. Constituting to the versatility is the thickness of 11mm, which slips neatly under the sleeve if needed.
Although Stuhrling watches don’t possess the prestige of the industry’s heavyweights, they’ve nevertheless achieved an admiring reputation for having ultra-stylish and over-the-top designs.
Hamilton Jazzmaster Open Heart Watch
Case Size: 42mm
The courage to manufacture audacious wristwear is natural to Hamilton. Just gaze at the triangular Ventura watch that was loved by no other than the King of Rock&Roll himself.
But besides the Ventura and many other Hollywood featuring timepieces, the former U.S brand has several spectacular watches available, like the Jazzmaster Open Heart, which is one of the best skeleton watches for its superior quality.
Probably the most significant factor for many to buy this Hamilton piece is the H-10 automatic movement with an 80-hour power reserve. When a typical self-winding mechanism keeps approximately 40 hours of power reserve, then this one from Hamilton has double the amount.
The looks won’t disappoint either with partly exposed inner works on a deep blue dial. The watch is a fine dress piece for possessing fitting dimensions at 42mm in case diameter and 11mm in thickness, and featuring a classy light brown leather band.
The quality defining measures are guaranteed with an inclusion of a scratch-resistant and anti-reflective sapphire crystal and high-grade stainless steel case.
Relic by Fossil Damon Automatic Skeleton
Case Size: 50mm
The American fashion watch conglomerate Fossil caters to a younger audience of watch wearers with flashy styles and bold colors. The Relic brand was acquired by Fossil precisely for that cause. With the next entry, the Relic Damon Automatic, we see why the manufacturer is so appreciated by fashionistas.
First off, the watch has a striking golden skeletal dial fitted on a large 50mm stainless steel case. The case size is huge, which makes it aesthetically questionable for slender wrists. However, since the prime purpose of fashion watches is to catch the attention rather than stay unanimous, it probably won’t be a problem for the majority of wearers.
This Relic piece is also very affordable, considering the flamboyant appeal. Barely reaching the three-digit sum, it is one of the most affordable skeletal watches on the market.
The reason this Relic by Fossil is one of the cheapest can be constituted to the lower quality of materials and movement used in the timepiece – it runs on a cheaper-end automatic caliber and comes with a mineral crystal.
However, the fact the watch has a 2-year warranty upon purchase ensures it is more than just a two-month love affair that ends as suddenly as it began.
Invicta Pro Diver Skeleton Watch
Case Size: 47mm
Another brand that has placed greater emphasis on striking appeal is Invicta. Several of its watches look way more expensive than they really are, therefore attracting heightened attention. Although several of the company’s approaches have received somewhat negative feedback, which we also cover in our Invicta brand review, its watches are nevertheless sought-after due to the appealing price tag.
One of the brand’s skeletal timepieces, the Invicta Pro Diver Skeleton, sticks out from the crowd with a transparent face with only a thin horizontal line composed of the essential gears and wheels.
It’s also a hand-winding mechanical piece, meaning that it doesn’t power itself through natural motion, but requires regular winding almost daily.
The Pro Diver watches are built to stand water pressure. Thus you’ll find this timepiece a handy companion during your water adventures. This particular model comes with a 100m (330ft) water resistance, screw-down crown, and luminous hands and indices. The mineral crystal protects from shatters, while the 47mm stainless steel case and band provide durability in extreme conditions.
The affordable price, coupled with a sleek design and decent quality, make Invicta pieces one of the top dive-inspired watches on the market.
Orient Star Skeleton Watch
Case Size: 41mm
The Orient brand may be in the shadow of the two Japanese greats Seiko and Citizen, but not in terms of quality, especially when it comes to the Star collection. The entirely Japanese-made watches are on par with premium Swiss brands, and often even eclipse them.
The Orient Star Skeleton doesn’t have its full dial exposed but instead displays the inner workings through small cuts dispersed all over the face. The heart that ticks inside the 41mm case belongs to the top of the game – an Orient in-house mechanical caliber 40S62 holds up to 40 hours of power reserve (indicator visible at 12 o’clock), is hackable and manually windable.
The best glass you can find in any watch, a sapphire crystal, is used for dial protection, while a comfortable and durable calfskin leather band harmonizes perfectly with the overall brownish appeal.
Such a high-quality watch costing below four digits makes it one of the best skeleton watches among the premium-class category.
Tissot T-Complication Squelette
Case Size: 43mm
One of the most robust examples of high-quality skeletonized timepieces is the Tissot Squelette. The designers have cleverly engaged the mechanical caliber’s metal constructions for giving the watch an industrial appeal.
The watch runs on an acknowledged Swiss mechanical hand-wind movement, which explains the four-figure price tag. The ETA-origin calibers are known for their accuracy and longevity when adequately taken care of, so the valuation of this Tissot is all loud and clear.
This Tissot is also easily readable with the contrasting dark blue hands and indices that also contain lume. The durability is guaranteed with sapphire crystal covering the face and high-grade stainless steel protecting the intrinsics.
Tissot watches possess an outstanding reputation and are among the first go-to brands for people who desire their first Swiss-made watch.
Michael Kors Halo Gold-Tone Watch
Case Size: 43mm
Michael Kors may not be the perfect match for die-hard watch enthusiasts due to their preference for traditional manufacturers. However, the majority of wearers appreciate aesthetics more than anything else. In this sense, the Michael Kors Halo Gold watch ticks several boxes for many.
The prime reason for including this ticker on the list of the best skeleton watches is to do with the flashiness it beams.
A full skeletal dial with an all-gold appeal combined with a beautiful tachymeter ring (although only a visual feature) results in an appearance that can fool people into thinking it’s a very expensive timepiece.
Therefore, for only a couple of hundred bucks, you receive a watch full of luxurious appeal. And although it comes with a mineral crystal and is powered by a Chinese mechanical caliber, it nevertheless is worth a try.
Complementing a casual attire with a skeletal watch that stunning is sure to receive envious glimpses.
Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic
Case Size: 40mm
Yet another Hamilton among the best skeleton watches comes this time with an all-black and subtle design. The Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic is an excellent companion for dressier occasions but is also more than suitable for everyday wear at work and on holiday.
The automatic mechanical movement powering the timepiece boasts an 80-hour power reserve and is as accurate as you would expect from a renowned Swiss watchmaker. The mechanism’s workings are available to all to admire from cut-outs on the dial and transparent caseback.
The watch is neither large nor small, standing conveniently at 40mm of case size. It’s also water-resistant of up to 50m (165ft), which safeguards from rain and slight immersion with water, but not from more serious water activities.
Bulova Automatic 96A187
Case Size: 43mm
This Bulova out of the Automatic collection draws attention with a distinct blue and silver skeletal appeal, which has received utterly positive feedback from buyers. The Amazon rating of 4.8 out of 5 reflects a high level of durability as well.
The Bulova 96A187 runs on a quality Japanese automatic movement with 42 hours of power reserve. You can expect precise timekeeping due to the proven standards the Miyota caliber manufacture has shown over the decades.
The face comes almost entirely skeletonized, exposing the neat craftsmanship of the Japanese watchmaking wizards. Adding contrast to it are the blue Roman numerals sitting on the edge of the dial. Coupled with blue-colored hands that glow in the dark, the watch is legible from any angle and at every moment of the day.
Last but not least, the watch has a decent 43mm case diameter, features a classy stainless steel band, and is 30m (100ft) water-resistant.
Invicta Specialty Mechanical Skeleton Watch
Case Size: 42mm
If you’re after an affordable vintage-looking timepiece, then this one from Invicta is your go-to piece. Although it is the cheapest among the best skeleton watches, it has the looks of a much pricier ticker instead; as you would expect from someone like Invicta, to be true.
The Specialty Mechanical Skeleton watch doesn’t come with a self-winding option, which means it is through and out a classic mechanical model that requires daily attention. Just like in the old days. When the mainspring is fully tightened, it will keep the watch running for up to 44 hours.
The vintage appeal is visible from the old-school design of the face where Roman numerals lay graciously around the cut-out. The crocodile-embossed black leather straps all but complement the classic aesthetics.
The price is well below the $100 line, which necessarily doesn’t hint at guaranteed durability for long decades, but is nevertheless a perfect fit for those who want to diversify their style and caliber type array while not paying a fortune for it.
Stuhrling Original 371 Skeleton
Case Size: 46mm
When the Stuhrling brand emerged at the beginning of the millennium, it instantly rocked the industry with over-the-top designs. To this day, the company has continued to amaze with mouthwatering designs for various occasions.
The Stuhrling Anatol 371 is one of the top-selling models out of the company’s vast product line, and once you take a look at it, it is clear why. “A window into time” is what describes this timepiece the most – every little detail of the mechanism’s complex construction is displayed for all to see.
Standing at 48mm in case diameter, the watch houses four distinct elements on the dial – a Sun and Moon indicator (which has earned this piece a place on our list of the best men’s moon phase watches), GMT, a golden balance wheel, and Stuhrling Original label.
The whole compound harmonizes with an electric blue tint of the hands and indices, which comes to the rescue in improving reading time on such a busy face.
The luxurious aesthetics beam from the band as well – it is a premium American-made leather with an alligator-embossed motif.
Lucien Piccard Babylon Watch
Case Size: 46mm
Lucien Piccard, a former Swiss brand that has now gone international, offers watches with elegant appeal. One of the most notable models from the company, the Lucien Piccard Babylon, belongs to the best skeleton watches precisely for the exquisiteness that is so prevalent for the brand.
The 46mm watch doesn’t necessarily boast high-quality materials and movement as it is equipped with a 20-jewel Chinese-origin automatic caliber and has a Sapphitek crystal covering the dial. The latter isn’t at the same level as the highly appreciated sapphire crystal, so don’t get distracted by a similar name.
However, featuring both the Sun and Moon indicator and skeletal cut on a meticulously textured dial shows the company’s intent to provide its customers with luxurious-like timepieces, while not paying fortunes for it.
The watch is ideal for those who wish to add some elegance to their wrists, rather than a horological masterclass. It suits perfectly for a younger audience with a limited budget to spend on an eye-catching timepiece.
Fossil Townsman Automatic
Case Size: 44mm
The Fossil brand may not have many fully skeletonized watches available, but if it does, they’re definitely worth the attention. And since the company’s prime focus is to cater to fashion-oriented wearers, you can expect some truly eye-catching and unique examples.
The Fossil Townsman Automatic won’t disappoint in its appearance when the intrinsics of the mechanical self-winding caliber are visible through a satin-finished transparent dial, making it a sight to see.
On the other hand, the design has a minimalistic approach as well, with only the three-hand movement sweeping along the Roman numerics. Thus, the watch is flashy and humble simultaneously.
The case diameter at 44mm will suit most of the wrist sizes and shapes, as does the versatile brown leather strap.
But what the timepiece doesn’t go well with is the water – it may be resistant to depths up to 50m (165ft) and can withstand splashes of rain, but is not suitable for water sports or constant showering.
Tag Heuer Carrera Skeleton Watch
Case Size: 45mm
Finishing this list of the best skeleton watches is representative of a much pricier category.
Tag Heuer belongs to the entry-level luxury watch brands that rarely sell below a thousand dollar line. And that is for a good reason too, since the quality and reputation are unparalleled compared to other brands we’ve previously covered.
First off, the Tag Heuer Carrera Skeleton features a Heuer02 automatic chronograph caliber that consists of 33 jewel bearings and can hold an energy reserve for up to 80 hours. The case is of fine-brushed steel and ceramic, while the see-through caseback is covered with highly acknowledged sapphire.
Since the Carrera is meant for sportier occasions, you’ll also find a stopwatch measuring in 1/4-second increments up to twelve hours. It also comes with dual time visible at six o’clock position and a date window hidden beneath the multi-layered design.
The brand’s watches, including this particular piece, are popular among sports celebrities due to their proven reliability and masculine appeal.
Conclusion: Best Skeleton Watches
The best skeleton watches can have variegated designs. When one can knock you off with a fully exposed dial, where every single gear and wheel is visible, then the other with a humble open heart can amaze you as much. Luckily, for every price range, there’s a suitable watch.
Those with a limited budget can opt for an Invicta or Fossil piece without worrying over the bucks spent, whereas the wearers who have some more to spend may choose a Hamilton or Tag Heuer model. In the end, it doesn’t matter how much the skeleton piece costs, as long as it expresses your character and looks good while doing that.
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