7 Best Skeleton Watches to Visualize on Your Wrist in 2024

Everyone has skeletons in their closet. Admittedly, some more than others. But what if I told you that instead of hiding your bony little secrets, you could wear them proudly on your wrist?

As functional as it is fantastic, the skeleton watch is a tremendous timepiece that lays it all on the table—revealing its intricate inner workings via a crystal clear dial or case. Model depending, you can see the delicate gears and springs, plus all the other clever components that power it. It’s really quite special.

Join me as I help you find the best skeleton watches on the market, suggesting a plethora of options for every occasion, style, and budget. Once we’re finished, there’ll be nothing left to hide.

Key Takeaways

In the world of wonderful timepieces, few embody the marriage of artistry and precision quite like the skeleton design. Featuring complex movements and transparent dials that leave nothing to the imagination, it’s an awesome addition to any watch wardrobe. This is why I was determined to find the very best men’s skeleton watch for you—and your friends.

By wading my way through the murky waters of customer reviews and dissecting the feedback on craftsmanship, durability, and overall satisfaction, I was able to come up with a list of seven unbeatable options for the best skeleton watch, including my favorite from Bulova and Fossil’s budget-friendly design.

I’ve broken it all down for you below. Read on for my recommendations for the best skeleton watch.

Our Top Picks

a fossil skeleton watch
aadilpixelstories / Instagram

Best Skeleton Watch: Bulova Sutton Automatic Skeleton Watch

Why it’s great: Unless you’re watch-obsessed, Bulova may not be on your radar – although it should be. The luxury watchmaker has been crafting uber-cool watches since 1875 and boasts quite a collection of standout wrist companions, including my pick for the best men’s skeleton watch. My favorite is the Sutton – not only for its skeletonized front and back but also for its generous price point, automatic movement, and luminescent hands and markers. And, you can get it wet.

Who is this for: The stainless steel strap and 43mm case make it a versatile option suitable for everyday escapades as well as more formal affairs. It’s an excellent all-rounder that should be within most guy’s budgets.

Flaws but not deal-breakers: The hands and inner workings of the watch are of a similar color, which can take some getting used to. Team long-sighted will need their glasses to hand.

Case Size: 43mm | Movement: Automatic | Thickness: 12.15mm | Water Resistant: Yes | Material: Stainless steel

Fossil Townsman Automatic Watch

Why it’s great: When I first came across this watch, I had to do a double take. How is such an intricate design available at such a small fee? Beats me. And I’m still convinced there’s been a pricing error. So I’d suggest snapping it up pretty quickly, because the best skeleton watch doesn’t have to cost the earth.

Boasting a striking 44m case, skeleton face, and brown leather strap, this one is a real masculine choice that’ll feel at home with casual and formal outfits alike.

Who is this for: If you’re after an entry-level watch that looks far flashier than its price suggests, this is a fantastic option that will serve you well for many years to come. In my opinion, it’s the best skeleton watch for guys on a budget.

Flaws but not deal-breakers: The dark dial and hands can be a little tricky to see in dim lighting—especially as they don’t glow in the dark.

Case Size: 44mm | Movement: Automatic | Thickness: 12mm | Water Resistant: Yes | Material: Stainless steel

Bulova Maquina Automatic Watch

Why it’s great: Stylish splashers rejoice, this water-friendly watch can accompany you in depths of up to 100m without gasping for air. But it’s not just its fish-like features that impress me: it’s also an excellent option for dry land, too. The vintage-inspired design works with casual and formal ensembles, while the luminous hands and markers ensure easy viewing at night.

Who is this for: This skeleton watch will take you from the pool to the pavement, so it’s a fantastic choice for every day. You’ll want to take it with you on summer vacations, and it’ll certainly get people talking in the office (for the right reasons, of course).

Flaws but not deal-breakers: Its 46mm case is edging towards the large side, so it might look/feel too big on thin wrists (that’ll be me).

Case Size: 46mm | Movement: Automatic | Thickness: 13.2mm | Water Resistant: Yes | Material: Stainless steel

Ulysse Nardin Blast Skeleton X Watch

Why it’s great: Made up of 173 parts and offering a 96-hour power reserve once fully wound, this stellar manual timepiece is far more than just a pretty face. Individually numbered on the side (how’s that for unique?), the skeleton design shows off the three-dimensional heart that beats inside, while the rubber straps perfectly complement the ultra-light titanium case.

Who is this for: This is one for the heavy hitters wanting to make a statement wherever they go. Warning: you can forget about it if you’re not able to stump up some serious cash. In this case, the best skeleton watch does cost.

Flaws but not deal breakers: The price is probably going to prove a stumbling block for many, but a watch like this is going to last you generations (and should hold its value too).

Case Size: 42mm | Movement: Manual | Thickness: Not specified | Water Resistant: Yes | Material: Titanium

Hamilton Ventura XXL Skeleton Watch

Why it’s great: With its futuristic shape and unique precision cut-outs, this is the kind of watch you’d expect to find on the wrist of Spock or Sarek. But instead of wearing it aboard the USS Enterprise, you can show it off right here on planet Earth. Not just easy on the eye, it’s powered by automatic movement and protected with anti-reflective sapphire glass.

Who is this for: It’s tailor-made for the guy who craves a blend of classic craftsmanship with a large dose of futuristic flair. The avant-garde design will appeal to the modern trendsetter who appreciates bold statements and cutting-edge aesthetics.

Flaws but not deal-breakers: Its out-of-this-world appearance (complete with 46mm case) won’t appeal to everyone, especially if you prefer your watches on the subtle side.

Case Size: 46mm | Movement: Automatic | Thickness: 11.25mm | Water Resistant: Yes | Material: Stainless steel

Rotary Greenwich Automatic Watch

Why it’s great: Ask me what I had for dinner last night and I’ll probably have to text my wife. I have a memory like a goldfish, but I’ll never forget my first Rotary watch. In fact, I’m sure it’s still sitting in a box in the attic—I’ll have to fetch it out. Anyhow, what I’m trying to say is: Rotary watches are memorable. And I’d highly recommend the brand’s automatic skeleton. Affordable, classy, and water-resistant, it ticks all the right boxes in your quest for the best skeleton watch. The 42mm is perfectly sized for all wrists and it perfectly treads the line between dressy and relaxed.

Who is this for: Whether you’re buying your first watch or your 53rd, adding a Rotary to your collection is always a good idea. This one is super versatile, and it’s particularly suited for guys searching for a timeless piece that’ll look just as good now as it will in 20 years’ time.

Flaws but not deal-breakers: It’s suitable for most water-based activities, but you should avoid submerging it for long periods.

Case Size: 42mm | Movement: Automatic | Thickness: 11mm | Water Resistant: Yes | Material: Stainless steel

Raymond Weil Freelancer Skeleton Watch

Why it’s great: With its captivating openwork dial, this timepiece unveils the intricate dance of gears and springs within. Beyond its aesthetic allure (which also includes eye-catching blue hands and markers), the Freelancer offers an automatic movement that self-winds as you move your wrist. My favorite feature is the sleek blue leather strap that works well with everything from suits to shirts and shackets.

Who is this for: A Swiss-made watch is a must-have for any watch enthusiast, new or old. However, you’ll need to be working with a fairly generous budget to afford this entry in the list of the best skeleton watches. If you can, you’re getting a helluva lot of luxury for the price.

Flaws but not deal-breakers: Elegant it is, subtle it is not. This is a real showstopper, so it may come across as a little showy to those who prefer their watches to be on the more modest side.

Case Size: 42mm | Movement: Automatic | Thickness: 11mm | Water Resistant: Yes | Material: Stainless steel

a hamilton ventura xxl skeleton watch
hamiltonwatch / Instagram

Buying Considerations for the Best Skeleton Watches

Movement

At the heart of any watch lies its movement. To find the best men’s skeleton watch, you should consider which movement it has and its suitability for your needs.

Automatic watches are powered by wrist movement, offering ultimate convenience and continuous operation as long as worn regularly. Manual designs have a greater connection to traditional watchmaking and give the wearer the tactile engagement of manually winding the watch.

Design

The appeal of a skeleton watch lies mostly in its design and the level of transparency it offers. Assess the dial and case to ensure that the exposed elements are of your liking. Ideally, you’ll want to strike a balance between transparency and legibility; the best skeleton watch should be captivating without sacrificing readability.

Size

The size of your watch can significantly impact its wearability and overall aesthetic. You should consider the case diameter, thickness, and lug-to-lug distance to ensure the watch complements your wrist size and personal style preferences. Some guys prefer larger, more prominent cases for a bold statement; others may opt for something a little more understated and versatile. The best skeleton watch needs to be the right size for you.

Wearing a Rotary Greenwhich Automatic Skeleton watch
bellagio_watches / Instagram

How We Choose These Products

Putting trends to one side in my search for the best skeleton watch, I focused my attention on extracting valuable insights from real-world experiences while looking closely at each brand’s reputation, product quality, and commitment to offering value for money. Only then was I fully confident that I’d found the best skeleton watch for every style and budget.

Price: Carefully considering a range of price points allowed me to ensure that my selection included the best skeleton watches accessible to various budgets—providing options for both affordable elegance and high-end luxury.

Customer reviews: What’s the word on the web? Other people are on the lookout for the best skeleton watch, too. Customer reviews offer valuable insights into what the watch is like beyond a screen. They helped me identify timepieces that not only look impressive but also meet expectations in terms of durability and functionality.

Brand reputation: Only the best skeleton watches made the cut. I focused on brands with a solid reputation in the watchmaking world.

Material: The choice of materials, from the case to the strap, played a pivotal role in my selection process. I looked at those that were durable, easy to maintain, and had maximum aesthetic appeal.

Why You Should Trust Us

I’ve been writing about watches for a long time—you may have already seen my pieces on minimalist tickers and the digital kind—so I’ve managed to get rather good at separating the exceptional from the ordinary. Call it a passion if you wish.

But I’m also not afraid to ask for help. Especially if it means I can go above and beyond in my quest to find the best. Which is why I also scoured through hundreds of customer reviews (good and bad) to curate a shortlist that looks past the glimmering surface of aesthetics and focuses on every tick, turn, and detail.

Final Verdict 

The best skeleton watches are far more than mere timekeepers. Designs like Bulova’s are wearable masterpieces that are as much an artful accessory as a reliable wrist companion. Each tick tells a story of meticulous engineering, and every exposed gear is a testament to the horological artistry within.

They’re a must-have—whether you’re a keen collector or an excited first-timer.

FAQ

    • Not just tellers of time, skeleton watches are wearable works of art that seamlessly blend fashion with horological craftsmanship. With their intricate exposed movements and transparent dials, they have become highly fashionable accessories for any well-dressed guy.

      • No, unlike digital designs, skeleton watches typically do not rely on batteries. Instead, they feature mechanical movements powered by a spring that’s either manually or automatically wound.

        • Skeleton watches can also be referred to as “open-heart” watches due to their distinctive design that exposes the internal components of the timepiece. The name captures the essence of the design, symbolizing the blend of technical precision and artistic expression.

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