22nd Mar 2014
Skeleton watches: Less is More
At Rock of Eden, the skeleton watch has long been a fascination of ours.
This Vacheron Constantin watch (ours) is a very fine example of a skeleton watch. It is extremely thin (roughly 1.5mm thick) and the mechanical movement is easily observed. Often, an open dial watch is thought to be a skeleton but it is actually just a removal of part of the watch so that the inner works can be seen and not really a skeleton watch. The most recent sales price of this watch at a 2013 auction excluding the buyer’s premium was $15,000. (Note our watch sells for $14,500 and there is no buyers premium).
In a skeleton watch, the dial cover is removed so that wheels and bars can be seen in all their delicate glory. This removal of elements was done as early as 1760 to instill curiosity and wonder in the watch. It worked. True skeleton watches are a collector’s item.
Eventually this exposed watch was decorated with carvings on the remaining functional bridges and pieces to add decorative detail and bring out the metal luster to this new streamlined watch. The etching, done by hand, is fabulous and more beautiful than the diamond surround in our opinion because of the expert and deft preciseness required to achieve it.
Think about it. Nearly all the pieces that remain in the skeletonized watch are small, very thin, working components. The roaring 20’s and 30’s of the Art Deco era were a time of great creativity for Vacheron Constantin whose skeleton watches date back to 1924. No other watchmaker has carried on this legacy or even bears this legacy for that matter.
Next, we turn our attention to a daring new skeleton watch of today: Fiona Kruger’s memento mori timepiece. Fiona experienced the same exacting process of creating this horological wonder only after hundreds of sketches were completed to get the functionality as well as the visual aesthetic just right. These sketches are a preview of our next blog feature on Fiona’s magnificent creation utilizing her expert team in France.