The Skeleton Pocket Watch: a pocket watch with a visible movement under the glass

Skeleton pocket watches are a must-have in any pocket watch collection. Keeping the authenticity of the first pocket watches, the skeleton watches are true masterpieces whose working hours cannot be counted, like the contemporary pocket watch of Richard Mille which is a real technical challenge. Whether it is a branded pocket watch or not, the skeleton of a watch fascinates by its apparent mechanism, which was for a long time the privilege of the watchmakers. But what is the particularity of the skeleton case pocket watch?

What is a Skeleton Pocket Watch ?

The design of a skeleton watch is the very basis of the construction of a watch. Masked by a dial on which the hour, minutes and seconds indicate the time, the watch mechanism was invisible to the general public. Until the French watchmaker Jean-Antoine Lépine, in the 1760s had the radical idea of making pocket watches finer. At the time, there was no basic platinum and bridge design that persists today (and still technically bears his name, even though almost no one makes a movement that is not Lépine).

The Apparent Mechanism of the Skeleton Pocket Watch 

The skeleton of a watch is linked to the movement with an apparent display of the cogs, which are driven by a manual winding or an automatic winding. The case reveals all the elements that make up the mecanism. Some parts are openworked like the plate and the bridges positioned between two sapphire glasses. This technique with precise standards for the creation of clocks is called skeletonization of watch, applying to watches of very high quality. The skeleton design is often associated of the design of the Steampunk Pocket Watch that have Black Features.

These skeletonized pocket watches demonstrate a true know-how and a total mastery of watchmaking techniques combined with a sharp sensitivity of aesthetics. The case houses the components and the heart of the movements with, among others, the tourbillon, chronograph, split-seconds, minutes... 

The First Skeleton Pocket Watch

The first skeleton pocket watches were worked with the greatest care: the components were cut, filed, one by one, decorations called for high goldsmithing. The skeleton pocket watches were carved and decorated with floral motifs, enhanced with engravings, where art had its place in a harmonious cutting of each component. Today, pocket watches compete in ingenuity, technique and beauty.

Skeleton Cases Origins

The pocket watch is the very first portable watch, with a bulky case but which has never stopped evolving with time.

André Charles Caron, The Skeleton Pocket Watch Precursor 

Son of a watchmaker, André Charles Caron followed his father's profession, working with him for the first few years, until he decided, in 1721, to go to Paris to develop his knowledge in the field of watchmaking. Admitting his Protestant faith, he was promoted to the rank of Master Clockmaker, which allowed him to open a clock store in Paris on the Saint-Denis. In 1744, he met Jean-Antoine Lépine, who married his daughter and trained him as a watchmaker and made him his partner.

The creation of the Skeleton Watch

André Charles Caron imagines himself in the shoes of a customer who might be fascinated by the workings of a watch. In no time at all, André-Charles Caron realized that it was possible to arouse customers' interest in watches by revealing more about the mechanism. And around 1760, he created the first skeleton watch, which revealed the workings of the watch mechanism. The success was not long in coming, this new type of watch with apparent mechanisms, fascinated and inevitably attracted the nobility, always on the lookout for novelty.

The creation of the Pocket Watch in modern era

Many decades later, Richard Mille developed an equally innovative approach and declared, "It was my passion for racing cars and airplanes that guided this approach. I'm totally fascinated by what's under the hood, and by seeing how everything works; that's also why I used open movement designs from the beginning. And today, almost everyone is - consciously or unconsciously - technically oriented". That says it all! 

The Development of the Skeleton Pocket Watch

Mille's watches are the first since Lépine to almost entirely eliminate the plates and base plates. He was the first to come up with the idea of building a skeletonized movement by default, designing a bridge framework that would hold just about everything together with the minimum of metal. Creating skeletonized movements from the start is not only a technical breakthrough, but the biggest change in watch design in decades. 

The Skeleton Pocket Watch : A unanimous concept 

The most famous watch houses adhere to this new concept, which combines watchmaking know-how and a grandiose style with exceptional creations in luxury materials, gold and silver. The watch movement exerts a real fascination with a case that is the result of great decorative skills: enameling, engraving, setting and finishing. At the turn of the millennium, Richard Mille created his brand and his watches are the first since Lépine to almost entirely eliminate the plates and base plates. He was the first to have the idea of constructing a skeletonized movement by default, by designing a bridge framework that holds just about everything together with the minimum of metal. The creation of skeletonized movements from the start is not only a technical breakthrough, but the biggest change in watch design in decades. Since then, great watchmaking companies with prestigious names mark the history of watchmaking. Among them are Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Piaget.

A Skeleton Pocket Watch with varied styles

To read the time on a skeleton gousset watch is to admire a watchmaking masterpiece with the movement of its gears. A fascinating measure of time, the skeleton watch seduces with its apparent and miniature complications, its skull and crossbones gears, and it is a pleasure to wear. The skeleton watch is available in a timepiece with an open dial, open-face", or half-hunter, double-hunter or clapper and double-clapper

The different colors and style of the Skeleton Pocket Watch

The colors of the watches vary according to the material used in the design of the pocket watch. Gold and silver, titanium, carbon, bronze, alloy or stainless steel, the material will determine the color of the watches. Precious material or more affordable but durable and reliable quality, the design of today's pocket watch keeps the soul of the old watches and seduce the collectors.

A fashion accessory, the skeleton pocket watch is a timeless timepiece that can be worn in a unique and original style, like the old watches with an Albert-T chain, attached to a vest or pants, or as a pendant necklace, which is generally favored by women. Jewel watch, the skeleton watch is part of 'a haute horlogerie which adapts to all styles from classic to modern without forgetting the vintage or steampunk.

The Skeleton Pocket Watch: For men or for Women ? 

The skeleton watch gives a dimension very appreciated by men who can boast the technique of skeletonization, joining Gabrielle Chanel "Elegance is when the inside is as beautiful as the outside. Unisex, for men and for women, the skeletonized pocket watch hangs in turn the ancient, clacking, modern, steampunk or vintage style to reveal its complex workings. Worn as a pendant necklace, the skeleton watch is worn with a single or double Albert-T chain and suits all styles as long as you choose it well according to the occasion. Whether you choose a mechanical antique watch with manual winding or automatic luxury or a watch at more affordable prices, wearing a skeleton pocket watch gives you a look of gentleman and chic woman, sure of herself!