Watch the symphony of moving parts through these exquisite skeleton faces.
The wristwatch today is more than just a useful way to keep your day on schedule, it’s an engineering wonder with hundreds of gears, levers and wheels dancing in perfect harmony. Watching the show through a transparent sapphire case back is nice, but the most inquisitive minds, and savvy watchmakers, want to see more. That’s why watch dials have turned into windows, too.
In 1760, watchmaker André-Charles Caron designed the world’s first skeleton watch, where the front dial was totally transparent, revealing its complex inner workings. With the veil of such mechanical majesty removed, watch lovers flocked to Caron’s shop on the Rue Saint-Denis in Paris in search of this new wearable art. While some brands tease and only show a part of the movement or some auxiliary mechanical device, such as a tourbillon, the true masterpieces display the complete complex inner workings through a fully skeleton dial.
Crafting a skeleton watch is as difficult as it is striking. With the steadiness of a surgeon, watchmakers drill minute holes in the parts, carve the edges to 45-degree angles with a chisel, carve intricate patterns, and inlay dazzling gems. Each cut must be perfectly precise, or it fails. At the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) 2015, new, flawless designs in skeleton watches enchanted connoisseurs. See why below.