A skeleton watch is a mechanical timepiece that has its moving parts visible through the front and back parts. The dial on these watches reveals the detailed workings of the watch inside, showing the movement of the watch.
If you like to see the technical side of things, this would be an excellent watch for you. These days, more and more companies are producing creative designs, so you will not run out of excellent models to choose from.
Skeleton watches have unique and distinct designs. The intricacies are fascinating—being able to see what goes on inside a timepiece is a joy to watch, which is why the see-through designs are popular among horology enthusiasts and watch collectors alike.
One could say, however, that skeleton watches are an acquired taste. One of the possible downsides of having a skeleton watch is readability. Because you will be able to see what’s happening inside the timepiece, there will be a lot of things going on, and being able to see the time at a glance could take some getting used to.
Below, we will highlight skeleton watches for all budgets starting with affordable options and working our way up to watches from some of the best luxury brands.
Best Skeleton Watches For Men
Stuhrling Automatic Skeleton Dress Watch
The Stührling Anatol 371, which is off the brand’s Legacy Collection, is a 47mm skeleton watch featuring a stainless steel case and bezel, a silver dial, blue hands and hour markers, and an alligator embossed leather strap. The watch also has a dual time that could be useful for travelers. It has a second time zone subdial and a rotating am/pm indicator.
This watch has generally good reviews, with customers highlighting its looks and good automatic movement.
There are some, however, who expressed dissatisfaction, saying how the watch stopped working after a few months.
There’s also the Stührling Emperor’s Grand DT 3920 Automatic which is just about the same price.
This one has Breguet-style watch hands and an onion crown. Brooklyn-based Stührling has only been around for 15 years, but the brand has already established a good reputation.
Described by the brand as a “timepiece that’s rich in detail and regal in the display this is a skeleton watch perfect for formal occasions“.
Bulova Men’s Classic Automatic Skeleton Watch
Bulova is an American watch company founded in 1875 and is now owned by Japanese Citizen Watch Co.
If you’re looking to invest in a high-quality skeleton watch, this is a good brand to consider.
The Classic 43mm automatic watch, which is part of the Bulova’s Classic Automatic Collection, has a stainless steel case and bracelet, a blue skeleton dial, a double-press deployant closure, and a flat mineral glass. It’s also water-resistant to 100 meters.
This is the 96A187 model, and there’s also another version from the same collection with rose gold-tone accents (the 98A166).
The reviews of this watch are generally good, with users saying how well-designed and accurate it is (the brand is well-known for its accuracy). One of the possible downsides, however, is that it will stop running after a few days of not being worn, as it’s an automatic timepiece.
Orient Bambino Open Heart Automatic Watch
Orient’s Bambino collection holds a special place in my heart as this is my favorite timepiece for special occasions. Now, what visual embellishment could further enhance the highly refined aesthetic of this classic dress watch collection? How about a skeletal dial design?
The Orient Bambino Open Heart incorporates the skeletal dial design to its classic and proven aesthetic formula. As with all Orient Bambino timepieces, this model also includes the signature domed dial window made from rigid mineral crystal material.
The dial is pretty rudimentary, with its design featuring analog dial hands and Arabic numeral hour markers—the case measures at a snug 40mm. Within lies a precise Japanese automatic movement.
The construction of the round case also provides the Bambino Open Heart with a 30-meter water resistance rating. All in all, this is an excellent addition to your collection and a must-have for Orient Bambino timepiece collectors.
Invicta Men’s 1090 Russian Diver Stainless Steel Skeleton Watch
Moving on with a more affordable option, the Invicta 1090 Russian Diver watch is a tribute to the brand’s 1959 watch that was commissioned by the Russian Naval Fleet.
This is a large watch, 52mm so if you have small wrists, this might not be for you. That being said, it’s would be excellent for those who would like to use the watch as a piece of jewelry—a big and bold statement that will get compliments. Other features include a stainless steel case and bezel, a screw-down crown, and a strap made of stainless steel and polyurethane.
This watch is only water-resistant up to 50m, so while it can take some minor splashes and light swimming, you can’t use it for more serious water activities like snorkeling or diving.
If you’re deciding between the last two watches, check out our Invicta vs Stuhrling comparison here.
Lucien Piccard Men’s Loft Stainless Steel Skeleton Watch
This skeleton watch is one of the most affordable watches on this list.
The Lucien Piccard Loft is a 45mm stainless steel automatic watch with a leather strap, a synthetic sapphire dial window, and rose-tone markers. It’s also water-resistant to 50m, so it can handle some splashes and light water activity.
The watch is sleek and handsome, and many customers are satisfied with how affordable it is. The watch looks more expensive than it actually is. With a retail price of just around $50, this is an excellent present to give to your loved ones.
Lucien Piccard is a Swiss watch company that has been around since 1923, producing watches that cost up to thousands of dollars. One might wonder why the watches are affordable these days—this is because it filed for bankruptcy and was later bought by a Chinese company, allowing them to produce inexpensive watches.
This forum shows that despite the low prices, owners are generally happy with their watches—there is a good warranty, and the design remains excellent.
Swatch Swiss Quartz Transparent Watch
Leave to Swatch to deliver a highly contemporary take to the classic skeletal watch design.
The Swatch Transparent Watch is exactly what it sounds like – a timepiece that utilizes a transparent hard plastic material for its case.
This timepiece also brings a bold and eye-catching presence with its 47mm round case. With its Swiss quartz movement with analog dial display, you can expect it to keep up with precision—the question with a watch design as wild as this is readability. Fortunately, the Swatch Transparent has a solution to the apparent problem.
Swatch Transparent utilizes vibrant colors with the hour, minute, and second hand. The dial is surprisingly legible thanks to the utilization of the three primary colors – red, blue, and yellow. You can quickly tell the time even without the hour markers.
Also, this timepiece’s structure provides solid 30-meter water resistance. It also comes in several variations that do add index hour markers to the dial’s design.
Bulova 96A194 Men’s Automatic Skeleton
A skeleton watch is already eye-catching, but if you’re looking for something much more unique, this is something worth considering.
What makes the Bulova Men’s Automatic 96A194 skeleton watch stand out is the case shape. This one has a 35mm x 49mm rectangular case and has features such as a faceted sapphire crystal, an exhibition case back, and a 40-hour power reserve. It also has a 21-jewel self-winding movement (or what the brand refers to as “heartbeat movement”).
This model, which is a bit more expensive than the previous Bulova watches we’ve featured, does not have a second hand. Instead, Bulova incorporated a subdial between 4 and 6 o’clock that tracks the seconds.
While the watch is made from durable materials like stainless steel, it does not have very good water resistance. This model is only resistant to 30m, so while it can withstand some splashes of water, you cannot take it swimming.
If you would like to learn more about Bulova—its history, reputation, and best models—you can check out this article that we’ve published earlier.
Orient Star Modern Skeleton Automatic Watch
Orient watches are synonymous with class, and they continue to prove that with the Orient Star Modern Skeleton Automatic Watch.
The refined aesthetic of the skeletal dial further augments the brown dial and genuine leather strap.
The dial features bronze hour markers and luminous hands. It also features a stunning ‘open heart’ display along with two additional sub-dials. Orient managed to incorporate all these flourishes into the dial without making it look cluttered, which is an impressive feat.
The stunningly designed dial is encased within a scratch-resistant and anti-glare coated sapphire crystal window. Delving deeper into the timepiece, we see that it utilizes a Japanese automatic movement that perfectly complements the skeletal dial design.
Additionally, the 41mm stainless-steel case structure gives the Star Modern Skeleton a water resistance rating of up to 100-meter. This timepiece will match up with formal attire quite nicely.
Hamilton Men’s Jazzmaster Open Heart Skeleton Watch
Moving on to a luxury watch. The Jazzmaster Open Heart watch by Swiss brand Hamilton.
This has a stainless steel case, a luminous display, a skeleton case back, and a sapphire crystal window.
This watch is popular for its unique “cut out” design—it’s a skeleton watch, but the case is not as busy as the other watches on this list (you can only see some of the moving parts). The stunning design is intricate yet simple, which makes it perfect as both a dress and an everyday watch.
There are four Arabic numerals (12, 3,6, and 9), with a silver dial, gold accents, and a handsome leather band. This one’s a 40mm analog, with a Swiss automatic movement, a power reserve of 80 hours, and a water resistance to 50 meters.
Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic Skeleton
If the cut-out dial style of the Open Heart model is not for you, another similar design and that you can consider is the Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic Skeleton.
This one has a clear dial, so you will see more of the skeleton part. This one featured the H-20-S, one of the brand’s skeleton movements that highlight the caliber.
“American Spirit, Swiss Precision” is Hamilton’s tagline. This company, which was first founded in the US, specialized in pocket watches, making them popular for accuracy. In the late 1960s, the company later moved to a Swiss manufacturer—the Swatch group.
If you would like to read more about Hamilton’s history and other collections, you can read our previously published review of the company here.
You can also check out some of the best Hamilton watches here. (Spoiler Alert: The Jazzmaster Open Heart made it on the list, too).
Tissot T-Complication Squelette Swiss Skeleton Watch
Tissot, which is often dubbed as one of the more affordable Swiss luxury watch brands, has been making watches for more than a century and continues to produce high-quality and accurate watches to this day.
The Tissot T-Complication Squelette Mechanical watch has a wheel-inspired design and has a hand-wound mechanical skeleton movement. If you would like to invest in a watch where you can see all of the precise movements, this one is an excellent choice.
This one is 43mm, and has features such as a leather strap, a domed sapphire crystal that’s scratch-resistant, and has a power reserve of 46 hours. Like the previous Hamiltons, this one is also water-resistant up to a pressure of 50m.
You can read more about Tissot watches in this article, where we delve into the brand’s history and some of its popular models.
RADO True Square Swiss Automatic Watch with Ceramic Strap
Looking for a skeleton watch with a more experimentative design?
Check out RADO’s square-shaped skeleton dial timepiece for something wild and fresh. RADO is known for using top-tier ceramic materials in their watch models as well.
The high-tech ceramic case in this timepiece is hypoallergenic, making it suitable for those with extra-sensitive skins. The case is also lightweight, scratch-resistant, and thermal-resistant. Also, RADO creates some of the most uncompromising timepieces around.
The RADO True Square Automatic Watch is also relatively compact and will fit perfectly with individuals with petite hands and wrists. The square case measures 38mm and is only 9.7mm thick. The skeletal dial offers a complex charm while maintaining a readable dial.
The skeleton dial complements the Swiss automatic movement, as you can see the intricate machinations that make this watch tick. Also, the timepiece offers a decent 50-meter water resistance which means it can withstand occasional splashes of water.
TAG Heuer Carrera Men’s Watch Skeleton Dial
The black skeleton finish and Rhodium-plated luminescent indexes make this Tag Heuer skeleton watch unique.
The Carrera watch was created in the 1960s as a tribute to the Carrera Panamericana auto race. According to the brand’s website, this watch “broke traditional watchmaking rules and was the first chronograph specifically designed for professional drivers, but perfect for speeding down the open road or cruising through daily life thanks to a more simple, more elegant, more readable design.”
This model has a water resistance of 100m–still not as deep as other watches, but better compared to most skeleton models. It’s a 43mm watch with a tachymeter scale, an anti-reflective sapphire crystal case, a 50-hour power reserve. Tag Heuer is a luxury brand, so this comes with a hefty price tag.
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Skeleton 42mm Men’s Watch
The Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Skeleton is a watch for those willing to shell out tens of thousands for a watch.
This is a chronograph with a black ceramic 45mm case, a black rubber strap with carbon fiber coating, a durable PVD-coated titanium triple folding clasp, and a domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment. This one has the brand’s El Primero 400 B movement.
Zenith watches have been around since 1865, first producing pocket chronographs. It was in 1969 that the company produced the El Primero chronograph movement, which is the most precise series-made caliber in the world—according to Zenith, this is the “only one capable of measuring short times to the nearest tenth of a second, thanks to its balance oscillating at a frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour.”
To view other Chronomaster Skeleton models, visit Zenith’s page here.
Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Skeleton Watch
Maurice Lacroix is a Swiss brand that has been around for 40 years, at the company’s own state-of-the-art workshops at Saignelegier. This is a relatively new brand, so they have still yet to gain a strong and consistent reputation like other luxury Swiss brands like Ulysse Nardin, which has been around for more than a century (we will talk more about this brand later).
This analog watch is a 51mm stainless steel with an anti-reflective sapphire crystal, a folding clasp with push buttons, a water resistance of up to 50 meters, and 17 jewels.
The brand has a number of other great watches in the Masterpiece collection.
You can check them out here. The price range of watches in this collection is $5,600 to $12,500. You can read more about the brand’s history here.
Piaget Altiplano 18kt White Gold Men’s Skeleton Watch
The Piaget Altiplano luxury analog watch has an 18-karat white gold case with a black alligator leather strap and ardillon buckle. It has a hand-wound mechanical movement. For more specs, visit the brand’s website here.
Piaget, which has been around since 1874, is a luxury brand that specializes in creating thin watches and has set world records in creating the thinnest models ever created. The Altiplano is one of the world’s thinnest mechanical watches (just 3.65 mm thick).
The brand describes on their website that this impressive thinness lies in the case of the watch, which serves as the main plate:
“Housing both the calibre and the case, the caseback was itself machine-tooled to accommodate the mechanical components. This most complex of architectures also required the reverse construction of the movement, with bridges fitted on the dial side, thus rendering them visible and requiring close attention to aesthetics.”
Ulysse Nardin Executive Mechanical Skeletonized Men’s Watch
Wrapping up this article is Ulysse Nardin, a luxury Swiss watch brand recognized for its highly accurate marine chronometers. The company, which makes its watches in Le Locle, Switzerland, has been around since 1846 and has become a subsidiary of the French Kering Group since 2014.
This is the Ulysse Nardin Executive Skeleton Tourbillon, a 43mm skeleton watch made of durable titanium case and deployment buckle, a ceramic bezel, and a textured leather strap. Some of the main features include hours, minutes, and tourbillon.
The retail price of this watch on the brand’s website is around $38,000, so it is a hefty investment. There are many other models from the Executive collection (such as the Executive Tourbillon Free Wheel and the Executive Moonstruck), which you can explore here.
These skeleton styles are some of the most unique watch designs out there. We hope you learned a lot from this article, and we hope it helped you narrow down your choices if you are planning on buying one.