Watches where you can see the gears inside (also known as skeleton watches) are and always have been very popular. These sophisticated timepieces show the beauty of the watch’s mechanics and the elegant complications of their interior movements.
Watchmakers have total autonomy in choosing which parts of the movements they show, which makes for a huge variety in the styles of these classy timepieces. In fact, skeleton watches are more than just machines for telling the time, they are also works of art!
For horologists that love the mechanical “openwork” artistry that is a feature of every skeleton watch, we present 8 of the best watches where you can see the gears. This list honors the complexities and beauty of these exquisite timepieces.
Bulova 96A135 BVA-Series Watch
This beautiful analog display watch from the leather Bulova Self-Winding series has a 41 mm case and a choice of either a patterned black & gray dial or a brown color scheme.
As this is a mechanical watch, you’re free from ever needing to buy batteries again. The watch has a rotor-based self-winding automatic 21-jewel movement, which uses gravity and body movement to power it.
The Bulova features a sturdy stainless steel case which has a domed metalized crystal on one side to show the double-dial aperture, luminous hands and markers, and 24-hour sub-dial.
With a super-soft calfskin leather strap, the watch is extremely comfortable. And should you decide to take a dip, it’s water-resistant to 330 feet.
We particularly love the classy Roman numerals and the exceptional build quality of this skeleton watch. It comes with a 2-year warranty (but we doubt many people have reason to use it!)back to menu ↑
Invicta 1088 Russian Diver Watch
For the money, the Invicta 1088 Russian Diver Watch is very impressive and a great choice if you want to see the inner workings of your timepiece. With both front and back views, you can peek at the Quartz movement doing its thing with every tick of a second.
Lovers of the 1088 refer to the durability of the watch claiming that it’s “built like a tank”. According to reviewers, the 1088 doesn’t scratch easily and is said to hold up quite well over time (as is the case with all Invicta timepieces.) Reviewers also love that’s it comfortable enough to wear every day and has a water resistance of up to 165 feet.
One thing you should note before buying this watch is that it’s big…really big!..and this baby makes even Citizen or Casio watches look small in comparison.
The Invicta 1088 features precise hand-wind mechanical movement, a black polyurethane strap (with stainless steel barrel accents), a rounded stainless steel bezel and it’s all topped off with a funky-looking screw down cap with a link chain.
As is the case with all Invicta watches, it’s covered by a one-year warranty as standard with the option of extending if you wish.back to menu ↑
Rotary gs90505/06 Watch
This classy and mechanically mesmerizing timepiece from Rotary just screams classic. With a lifetime warranty (conditions apply), the Rotary gs90505/06 is certainly one of the best mid-range skeleton watches available today.
Rotary was established in 1895 and is the oldest family-owned & run Swiss watchmaker. Rotary watches are currently sold in more than 65 countries around the world. If you’re not familiar with the brand, they specialize in making affordable stylish timepieces in which they mix the old, the new, the contemporary and the classic.
For those that want a watch where you can see the gears, this baby features deep blue hands that pass over a beautiful intricacy of exposed watch mechanics. It not only looks like a million dollars, but it’s also practical, being water resistant to a depth of 165 feet.
The wristband is very comfy being made from crocodile leather and really completes the classic look. The bezel is relatively small at 39 mm and is plated in rose gold.
An exquisite watch that not only looks expensive but is also one of the best Swiss watches you will find around this price-point.back to menu ↑
Stuhrling Original 657.02 Delphi Watch
This watch combines great aesthetics with functionality. It’s a very good-looking watch made from top quality materials and a steal at the current price!
We love the incredible attention to detail in this watch and that goes from the precision of the dials and hands all the way through to the branding on the strap. For many, the Stuhrling Original 657.02 may be a little too flashy for day to day wear but it’s definitely a great dress watch for special occasions.
With a self-winding mechanism, the Stuhrling’s main attraction is the dual time zone dial allowing you to keep an eye on an extra time zone, apart from the one you are in (it displays both local time and Greenwich Mean Time).
The dial is 42 mm wide and 13.4 mm thick (pretty large by any standards). The display shows an AM/PM indicator and also a classic vintage-design cresting sun and waning moon. You can watch the inner workings through the transparent face as well as the similarly transparent rear.
The Stuhrling Original Delphi is water resistant in up to 165 feet of H2o and comes with a sweet alligator-embossed black leather strap.
It’s fitted with a rotor-based self-winding automatic movement, which uses gravity and movement of the user’s wrist and arm. If used daily, the watch doesn’t need winding but if not worn daily, it can be manually wound.back to menu ↑
Hamilton Open Heart Watch #H32565555
The Hamilton Watch Company based in Bienne, Switzerland have been making luxury timepieces for the world market since 1893.
The Open Heart is one of our favorite watches where you can see the gears inside. It’s a real conversation starter when people notice the skeletal interior of this very cool watch.
Despite looking delicate, the Hamilton is wrapped in a 40 mm stainless steel case and is actually very hard-wearing. It also has water resistance to a depth of 165 feet, is fully automatic and comes with a real leather strap to finish-off the premium look and feel.
And if you were wondering how this watch got its name, ….there is a tiny wheel bouncing just below the 12 O’Clock mark and it looks very much like a little beating heart (that’s what we think anyway!)back to menu ↑
Charles-Hubert Paris Watch
Since the 90’s, Charles-Hubert Pans has been a big influence on the United States watch industry.
The range of timepieces includes both contemporary and retro designs, with the company offering (very welcome) lifetime warranties, top-of-the-line quality standards, and surprisingly modest pricing.
The Charles-Hubert Premium is for sure one of the most fashionable watches in our list and also combines awesome functionality with exquisite design style.
The Charles Hubert 3887 features one of our favorite skeletonized mechanical movements with the goldtone movement visible from the front and back of the watch. We also really love the stark contrast of the stainless steel frame, gold-colored dial, 17 jewel automatic movement, and blue hands.
The mid-tier watch is very lightweight (only 7.2 oz) considering its fashionably large size and is water resistant up to 99 feet, which means there are no worries if you get caught in the rain.
The 3887 comes with a brown calfskin leather strap and is shipped in a very nice gift box and comes with a total peace of mind lifetime warranty against any manufacturing defects.back to menu ↑
Michael Kors Jet Master Watch MK9011
If you didn’t know, Michael Kors is a multinational fashion company with its HQ in New York. It was established in 1981 by American designer Michael Kors and is most famous for its clothes, shoes, handbags, and watches. In 2015, MK had a whopping 550 + stores & boutiques around the world.
The Michael Kors Jet Master Watch has a sporty look with its stainless case, black unidirectional rotating bezel, and perfect red accents. The dial of the watch is skeletonized, but this doesn’t detract from the timepiece being legible and easy to read.
Regarding the technical details, its 45 mm in diameter, made from rugged stainless steel, has a sapphire case-back, has a power reserve of around 40 hours and features a smooth, unidirectional rotating bezel. It’s also water resistant to 50 meters so won’t mess up if you accidentally wear it in the shower.
Considering this timepiece is made by the infamous fashion brand, it’s surprisingly very affordable and a worthy contender for the best skeleton watch under 300 dollars.
Let’s hope that this huge demand for mechanical watches is met by more famous designers, as it’s always interesting to see what these design-experts come up with!back to menu ↑
Fossil ME3099 Watch
Fossil Group, Inc. is an American fashion designer and manufacturer which has been around since 1984.
Fossil also produces licensed accessories for some of the best brands in the world including Skechers, Emporio Armani, Michael Kors, DKNY, Diesel, Burberry and Armani Exchange.
The Fossil Grant Automatic ME3099 is a very nice watch where you can see inside. It features automatic-self-wind movement (with an analog display) and a soft leather calfskin band with buckle closure.
It has a strong stainless steel case and a skeleton dial which features Roman numeral hour markers and luminous hands. The 44 mm case is fitted with a strong mineral dial window.
The timepiece looks very stylish and has water resistance up to 50 meters. This means it can be submerged in water for short periods but should not be used for swimming or scuba-diving.
If you liked this article, you may also enjoy our article about the best watches you can buy for under 1500 dollars from our gear section.