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By Kristen Shirley | June 19 2019
To best show off the miniature machine on your wrist, look to a skeleton watch. These timepieces do not have dials, so the mechanics are on full display.
Watchmakers remove as much metal as possible from a movement, allowing you to admire the inner workings of your timepiece.
The most talented do more than just remove metal: They perfectly finish each component, add interesting decorative techniques, create patterns from the bridges, or set the movement itself with diamonds.
Chanel’s in-house calibers continue to win the ladies’ watch prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (the industry’s equivalent of the Academy Awards), and back-to-back awards is a huge achievement.
And with one look, it’s easy to see why it won. Staying true to its moniker, it perfectly blends masculine and feminine throughout, from the diamond-set, octagon-shaped case to the black ADLC-coated bridges, and the elegant movement has a design purity that isn’t always found in women’s watches.
The bridges have applied mirror-polished beige gold on the edges, adding a discreet flash to the matte-black movement. The vertically aligned movement seems to float within the case, and the interlocking circles make an interesting contrast to the case shape.
Chanel in New York, +1 212 535 5505, chanel.com
Piaget is famous for ultra-thin movements; this skeletonized movement measures a mere 3.1mm thick, and it is beautifully set with hundreds of diamonds. The 34mm 18K rose gold case has 160 brilliant-cut diamonds, and another 219 appear throughout the movement’s bottom plate and bridges.
While rubies are traditionally used to reduce friction in a movement, here they also hide screws, adding to the jewelry feeling of the watch.
The pretty gems aren’t the only decoration here; the wheel, bridges and mainplate have circular graining, and the back of the movement has a sunburst guilloché. At 10 o’clock, there’s a very discreet small seconds hand.
Piaget in New York, +1 212 246 5555, piaget.com
The star-shaped bridge is an iconic part of the Excalibur series, and in this boutique-exclusive timepiece, Roger Dubuis’ watchmakers continued the celestial theme using decorative arts.
While the movement is skeletonized, the watch has an 18K pink gold caseback with blue sunburst decor on the inside to evoke the night sky. There are three blue-enamel stars peeking out of the movement, and a ‘shooting star’ set with 10 diamonds winds its way across the watch.
It also has a stunning flying tourbillon at 7 o’clock — which is incredibly difficult to place in a petite 36mm case — so this beauty can hold its own next to even the most complicated men’s timepieces.
Roger Dubuis in New York, +1 212 651 3773, rogerdubuis.com
Corum is known for its classic Golden Bridge movement that typically appears vertically in a tonneau-shaped case. It is the only brand currently producing this unique shape.
It recently introduced the movement in a round case, presenting it horizontally for the first time. Measuring just 5mm in diameter, the movement leaves plenty of space for decoration. It is available in 15 different versions, ranging from suspended sapphires and diamonds to an Art Deco-inspired resin motif in a rainbow of colors.
As for the movement, the 18K pink gold bridge is intricately engraved, and it’s a delight to admire the finely finished wheels and components.
Provident Jewelry in Jupiter, Florida, +1 561 747 4449, corum-watches.com