CIGA Watchers

Skeleton Watches Differences Over Time

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In your quest to find the best men’s watches, you’ve probably come across some that have intricate designs on the watch face itself. Those amazing pieces of architecture are what is known in the watch community as Skeletonization or the watches themselves are called skeleton watches.

These types of watches are not everybody’s cup of tea. There are some that would rather have a much simpler watch face but there are some that really love such watches, mainly because the watch companies are able to express themselves in the best way possible.


Before and After

The skeleton design of certain watches has actually been used for quite some time now. In fact, there have been some major revisions in terms of the artistic expression of the watchmakers.

Skeletonization procedures before would have to be made by following the original watch movement. Watchmakers would have to carefully create and add the skeleton design without compromising the original movement of the watch.

Although some companies are able to express themselves in the watches that they create, the traditional method of creating skeleton watches were somewhat artistically limited.

Watchmakers back then would typically just add familiar shapes like circles, stars, or event hearts and they add them up so that the watch would seem that it has a skeleton design.

One of the best examples of the skeleton designs before is the Parmigiani Calibre PF707. It has a micro rotor that constantly moves and the watch company adds additional designs on top of it to retain the skeleton figure.

The company Patek Philippe also has watches that follow the old skeletonization scheme. However, they have somehow refined it in a way that still makes it somewhat contemporary. I suggest that you look at the Calatrava ref. 5180 for an example of this.

All of the traditional methods were now ditched in favor of the more modern approach.

The Neo Tourbillon Three Bridges Skeleton Watch is one of the best examples of the modern skeleton watch.

To achieve its iconic look, the watchmakers simply removed the floor of the watch so that they have more room to add the famous skeleton design that the said watch has.

Because of this change in design, the watchmakers are also able to put additional illumination so that the watch can shine brightly even in pitch-black scenarios.


Audemars Piguet took the modern approach even further to create their new Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph watch. The shapes have been modified to somehow emulate a more 3D effect while also making sure that the watch’s movement still remains to be visibly seen.

To achieve this, the watchmaking company has altered the bridges’ anchor so that the movement still remains despite the addition of the more intricate and modern design. Because of the way the watch is designed, they have completely changed the way this watch looks.

To put it simply, the contemporary approach to making skeleton watches is more favored by watchmaking companies simply because it allows for more artistic expression.