What is a Skeleton Watch?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 31 December 2019
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Are you the kind of person who always wants to know how things work, what makes them tick? If so, you may be very interested in owning, or at least looking at a skeleton watch. This type of watch usually is encased in transparent material that allows you to see the inner mechanisms of the watch working. Imagine all those parts of the watch in full view, at least from the sides or back of the watch.

The appearance of the skeleton watch may vary depending upon design. Some show a portion of the working parts surrounding the watch face. Others merely show a little bit of the watch’s mechanism from the sides, or offer a full view from the back. A few exhibit beautifully designed faces that complement the watch’s mechanisms, while others are more bare bones, or skeletal in nature.

Such watches can come with a variety of different straps, and you can find both automatic or quartz watches, and the standard wind-up or mechanical skeleton watch. This last is the most common type sold. One way the skeleton watch may be useful is that you may be more likely to notice if the watch’s parts have stopped moving or appear to be having trouble. On the other hand, some find the simpler styles not fancy enough to be worn as dress watches.


If the skeleton watch face shows working gears behind it, it can occasionally be a little bit more difficult to tell the time. Some of the faces have extremely small numbers. Fortunately there are a vast number of skeleton watches on the market, so anyone interested in observing a watch’s mechanical motion can find a style that matches their time-telling needs. That “everyone” needs to be qualified however, since there are far fewer skeleton watches available for women. A few styles exist, but the skeleton watch seems to have broader appeal to men.

You will find significant variance on price when you shop for skeleton watches. Low-end prices are usually about $100 US Dollars (USD). High-end prices can be pretty stunning, and especially watches made by designers can cost several thousand USD. The average dependable and well-designed skeleton watch tends to cost about $200-$300 USD. Then, there seems to be a huge jump upward into the thousands for the high-end types of this watch.

Wearing a skeleton watch does evoke history. Some of the earliest watches made were of this style. A number of antique skeleton timepieces and watches exist, though you may need an excellent watchmaker to restore these to full working order.


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Post 2

@hyrax53, I can see why people might like skeleton watches without actually liking to wear them. While seeing all of the gears and parts in motion is interesting, they are not the most attractive for formal occasions or simple outfits; I would even personally find them distracting, probably, and I imagine others might as well.

Post 1

Many people who enjoy skeleton watches collect them, rather than actually trying to use them to tell time. In fact, I have known several people who enjoy watches of various types but do not actually even wear watches themselves; while they enjoy the concept, they do not feel the need to actually use or wear them.

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