One might almost think the brands had got together and planned a concerted skeleton wave. While the art of skeleton-working is nothing new and was indeed much in vogue in the 18th century, it seems that this art is once again all the rage among watch lovers. On the one hand, skeleton-working provides a spectacular demonstration of the watchmaker’s mechanical expertise, since it takes exceptional dexterity to sculpt the material of a watch and its movement components so as to leave only the essential while preserving mechanical reliability. On the other, the art of skeleton-working a watch is often a new interpretation of the artistic crafts – notably engraving and sculpture – that have become a staple feature of many watch creations in recent years.

At Claude Meylan, skeleton-working watches is far more than a mere trend and is instead its very reason for being. The watchmaker from the Vallée de Joux is continuing its ongoing quest for mechanical purity with the Lac “Tortue de Joux” watch. Framed by a distinctively shaped steel case, the movement reveals its inner workings in a play on transparency evoking the sunlight sparkling across the waters of a lake – such as the one at the centre of the brand’s native valley. The great strength of this timepiece, on which each bridge has been hollowed out and entirely decorated, lies in its ability to highlight all the components that are essential to the operation of its movement. A relatively simple calibre, admittedly, with its hours and minutes wheels majestically taking centre-stage, yet exuding a pristine aesthetic harmony that adds to its distinction.

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Lac “Tortue de Joux”. © Claude Meylan

A keen devotee of skeleton watches, Hysek provides further proof of its skill in this domain with the IO 45mm Tourbillon Skeleton model. The underlying approach also clearly relates to an extreme pursuit of transparency. Light streams freely through this new variation of the 49mm model presented in Baselworld a year ago, underscoring the aesthetic power of its tourbillon movement by means of two sapphire crystals. A first version is equipped with a sapphire crystal case-back adorned using a metallisation process, while another features Roman numerals engraved on the surface of the front sapphire crystal, thus providing a means of doing without a dial and providing a perfectly clear vision of the movement which, being manually wound, has no oscillating weight to obstruct the view.

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IO 45mm Tourbillon Skeleton. © Hysek

Armin Strom takes a different path. The skeleton working does not testify to a quest for aesthetic simplicity, but instead provides a stunning demonstration of the mechanical complexity generally hidden beneath the dial. The Skeleton Pure available in four versions pays tribute to the architecture of the movement by highlighting the layered arrangement of the components. The PVD-3D coloured baseplate strikes a pleasing contrast with the wheel train and barrel bridges. Embodying an harmonious blend of tradition and modernity, the Skeleton Pure is issued in 100-piece limited editions for each version: Fire in pink gold, Water in stainless steel, Air in titanium, Earth on black PVD-coated steel.

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Skeleton Pure Water. © Armin Strom

With the First Class Double Rotor Skeleton 20 years, Perrelet takes its famous Double Rotor to a new peak of refinement. Already well versed in the delicate art of skeleton working, the brand leverages its expertise to pay tribute to this innovative mechanism and invites the gaze to wander through the depths of the movement. Featuring a new design interpreted in pink gold, the Double Rotor is adorned with a Côtes de Genève finish and a special engraving to mark this jubilee. Like a signature, the visible jewel in the centre of the mechanism has been maintained so as to add a special touch of colour and elegance to this complex and refined model produced in limited series of 250 in steel and 88 in pink gold.

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First Class Double Rotor Skeleton 20 Years. © Perrelet