The time comes when you fancy a change of style, with new accessories to keep up with what's happening out there in the world. In recent years there has been a trend away from post-post-modern minimalism to something a bit more elaborate, a bit more stylish – in a different way from the 'less is more' millennial look. One of the most interesting developments on this front has occurred with watches, and particularly the popularity of the skeleton watch.
So what exactly is a skeleton watch? As you might imagine, it is, as far as possible, the bare bones of a watch, with all its minute and complex working components on display. All the beauty of the mechanism is made visible, while all the surplus metal is reduced to an absolute minimum, to keep the watch as slim and lightweight as possible while still retaining its accuracy.
In this way, skeleton watches are coming full circle, back to their historical origins. After the development of clockwork some 500 years ago, the first mechanical clocks were eventually reduced by designers into a form that could be worn on the body. Early watches were intended merely for decoration, as the first timepieces of this sort were wildly inaccurate, and were used more as jewellery than for timekeeping.
The primitive timepiece was attached to the clothing by a pin, or hung round the neck on a ribbon or chain, only later developing into the pocket fob watch commonly worn by men on the waistcoat. The earliest watches did not have a glass face, but were covered instead with a hinged metal cover, sometimes with a pierced design so that the workings were visible, as they are now in the modern skeleton watch.
Timekeeping accuracy improved over the years with increasingly complex movements, and later with the advent of quartz movements, LCD and digitisation. With today's advanced technology, a smartwatch can actually function as a portable computer, but most people prefer to have all their apps (including digital timekeeping) on a tablet or smartphone, allowing the wristwatch itself to return to its former status as a stylish and useful accessory.
Skeleton watches combine old-fashioned elegance with today's efficiency. Although they demonstrate a return to the original style of timekeeping, the precision of modern construction now allows for automatic movements instead of manual winding, so that the mechanical movement self-winds through the kinetic motion of the arm. Inside the watch is a piece of the movement spring whose weight makes it responsive to gravity, so that it turns itself to be always nearest to the ground. When you walk and swing your arm, the kinetic motion changes the gravitational direction so that the spring gradually tightens itself up, and the gears in the movement keep the tension even – and the timekeeping accurate.
Almost all major watch manufacturers now offer at least one skeleton style, allowing both the fascination of seeing the precision engineering at work, but also offering scope for fine engraving, openwork metal designs, and jewels, creating some truly stunning pieces.
So in essence a skeleton watch is a watch that allows the timekeeper to view the inner workings of the watch through the watch face. The various cogs, springs and mechanics that are in operation are given the name of the skeleton or framework. Skeleton watches offer something quite unique in the world of watches; they give the user a degree of comfort, leaving nothing to the unknown.
Skeleton watches are often manufactured in a slightly different way and often the watch movements are custom made in order to be either more visually powerful or to allow the wearer to see as much as possible. We are in love with the skeleton watch and think conceptually it gives the wearer a real sense of maturity and commands respect. Watch in awe as the passage of time flies by; the skeleton watch - a true modern marvel for the male fashion conscious wardrobe.