Skeleton Watches, Are they any Good?

Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of working on literally, thousands of watches!  They all bring some joy and pleasure to those who own them.  However, the one watch that I seem to hate the most is the forever loved “Skeleton Watch“.

These watches are very popular.  Men, for the most part are the intended audience for this style, and are intrigued by the open design, and the functional appearance of the movement’s parts.  While these watches are sometimes hypnotizing, it is important to remember that a majority of skeleton watches available today are very poorly made, and come at a big cost…

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What makes a cheap Skeleton Watch?

Most of the skeleton watches that I get in for service, are very nearly always made in China.  That isn’t to say, that quality products don’t come from Chine, many do.  However, Skeleton Watches are not one of them.

I feel as though there are four common problems with these watches, which affects their lifespan as well as their durability, or, lack of…

First, let me say that almost every cheap skeleton watch I see, sometimes including some of the Invicta line, have poorly designed and manufactured cases.  The case not being made correctly results in dirt, debris and water or moisture encroaching on the movement itself.  Because these cases are almost never even water resistant, they can’t get wet.  Additionally, the cases are almost alway plated in such a way, that the smallest of scratches will show up like a black eye!

Second, The more parts you can see inside the watch, the worse it will run!  I see skeleton watches with almost no bridge plate surface.  The plates are too thin, or too narrow, and because of this will result in errors in the running parts.  That in itself will cause the watch to keep inaccurate time.

Third, they are almost always made of brass.  Brass is soft, and combined with thin bridge plates and frames the watch is susceptible to warping, and expansion and contraction due to temperature differences.  That will also make the watch run poorly and keep poor time.  While I’ve seen skeleton watches made of steel, they are sadly almost always made of brass or nickel plated brass.  Be careful when buying

 

Take note to the think framework of the movement's bride plates
While these movements are appealing, make sure you find one with Quality Steel Components, not brass

My last big complaint is that the parts are just “Cheap”.  Almost everything I find in these less expensive popular skeleton watches are crap.  Just Crap!  The materials are usually so bad that if you drop one of these watches from three feet just once, chances are it will stop working, and that one or more screws will break off the movement.

Even though, as in this example we have a jeweled movement, the brass itself is going to cause the watch to run poorly, not because the watch is made of brass, but because the brass is so thin, that the mechanics of the watch have no tolerance!

Yes!  There are very good Skeleton Watches!

while most of the broken skeleton watches I see are of the very cheap range, $40.00 to $150.00, there are several manufacturers who make watches, including Skeletons, that are absolutely stunning and run perfectly.  Many of these manufacturers offer extended warranties, that you won’t find from others, and the watches are made to extremely high standards.

 

I’m going to list three here, and you are welcome to check them out.  There are others, but consider this.  If you are in the market for a skeleton watch, you should buy it from a manufacturer who is know and reputable.  The watch should have its movement made from stainless steel or some other high quality metal that is suitable for this type of watch, and look for warranties.  Long warranties are good, and watchmakers love them too.  Because that means after the warranty is over, we can still service your precious time piece for you.

Who do I like?

I’m a fan of the following three skeleton watches.  First, Rado.  They make wonderful watches.  While their styles are appealing, they can also be a little bit off the cuff.  Their quality however is excellent.

Stuhrling Watches are really well built.  While I don’t like their entry lever line, the rest of their watch lines are built to last many years and through much abuse.  Cases are designed to excellent standards and I’ve had many customers purchase their skeleton watches, but I have yet to fix one.

Last, I have to say Zenith Watches is one of my favorite.  They have always made very good watches.  Their skeletons are made far better than others of much higher price.  While this line tends to appeal to an older clientele, you millennials should start looking at them. 

You can purchase any of these three models from my affiliate links

Thanks guys for taking the time to read through this.  I sure hope you enjoyed it and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Peter

 

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