Skeleton Watches | The Inner Lives of Watches
One of the most intriguing aspects of watch manufacture is the complex Rude Goldberg machine that constitutes the movement. It’s very interesting to scrutinise the intricate working and winding of these inner mechanisms. Each one is individually unique and tailored for the design of the casing in which it is enclosed. Luckily there is a branch of watch designs, called Skeleton Watches, which allow the wearer to view these unique movements through a transparent case. Using the case as a secure window, the wearer can peer into their watch and view the oscillating balance spring as it rotates around a spiral torsion spring and the satisfying actions of the gear train as it trembles, spins and causes the hands to wheel around the dial.
Generally speaking Skeleton Watches are designed to display the intricate process of assembling. By showing the wearer the minutiae, in terms of the tiny components that work in union and power the movement, the wearer is invited behind the curtains of modern horology. This offers the wearer a chance to use the incisive eye of an engineer and learn how each timepiece operates in such a perennial and effortless fashion. In the past these movements would’ve been arranged by skilled craftsmen and inserted by hand. Today, though, the process of assembly is usually automated. A human touch is often saved for intermittent points of inspection, particularly where testing is concerned.
Some watch aficionados prefer a more simplistic design without the added confusion and detail of the uncovered movement. However, there are many other people who just love to know what goes on behind a dial. For those of you are interested, here are three examples of fine modern Skeleton Watches, specifically tailored to beautify the tiny workings of their individual inner movements.
This Blancpain Villeret Squelette 8 Jours features a silver array of cut and engraved movement parts, offering a unique aesthetic dimension that seems at once both classic and old-fashioned.
The Chronoswiss Timemaster Chronograph is a more modernist example of a Skeleton Watch. The intricate silver and copper mechanisms are framed by a sleek black bezel and viewed through four circular subdials, positioned like a four-leaf clover.
Finally, here is the bold Hublot Classic Fusion Classico, which features a much more simplistic design, keeping the movement partially covered and coloured to avoid confusion and over-complication.