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Skeleton watches, or watches with skeleton dials, can surprisingly be controversial among collectors. The skeleton watch or skeletonized watch is a style of timepiece that is almost exclusively the domain of watches with mechanical movements. Not only does their open construction reveal the mechanism behind the timepiece, but it also allows the wearer to admire the intricate, inner workings of his watch. This way of manufacturing and displaying the watches' complexity can be done in a subtle or more extravagant manner, polarizing the watch community. But one thing is clear (no pun intended), skeleton dials have become widespread with many haute horology brands which have adopted at least one model in their line-up. To introduce the Konvi community to the different variations of skeleton watches, we have gathered a collection of the five most uniquely designed ones.
A legendary timepiece where the skeletonization of the dial has given a truly unique showcase of the oddly shaped movement that brings the watch to life. Following a fatal car crash that took the life of a Vice President at Cartier’s London office the truly unique timepiece was developed. He was wearing a Cartier Baignoire Allongée, which sadly melted as the car burned. As a tribute to the fallen executive, the Crash watch, resembling the mangled watch, was born. For this intricate and historical timepiece, one can expect to pay around $62,000.
MB&F’s retro-futuristic HM9 sails into 2021 with a sapphire crystal case revealing every component of its anatomy. The HM9 Flow takes its design cues from the 1940s Streamline Moderne school of design characterized by sleek, aerodynamic lines. Only four variations of this watch were produced that were each limited to only 5 pieces. This obscure but beautiful watch retailed for around $450,000 when it was released.
The Charming Bird is just a prime example of how to integrate the character into a Skeleton watch. It utilizes a series of bellows and pistons so that when the wearer “Activates” the mechanism, the carefully hand-painted bird comes to life with a series of movements and a song. Sapphire crystal is used for the bellow tubes, and the piston heads are produced from carbon. The size of the tube and the speed of the piston are what control the sound they emit. The price for this Jacquet Droz is $400,000.
The Ref 5241 Skeleton Minute Repeater has one of the enthusiasts' all-time favorite movements in it, the Caliber 95911. The minute repeater utilizes a slide that activates two hammers that strike a “Gong” to determine the time at two different octaves. Representing one of the more extravagant variations of a skeleton watch, the intricate timepiece combines exceptional watchmaking with a timeless design. For this exceptional timepiece, one can expect to pay around $35,000.
Last but not least we present a timepiece that has been subconsciously under the public eye for a while. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Richard Milles and its most visible ambassador Rafael Nadal, the RM 27-04 is equipped with the greatest shock resistance of any of its models. The watch has a tennis racket string motif and left out space to showcase the complicated, yet compact design. Last but not least the Richard Milles with personal touches from one of the most exceptional tennis players to ever step on the court comes at a price point close to $2,600,000 on the secondary market.