Skeletonised watches are making a dazzling return in 2024

Skeletonised watches return, once again opening up their dials, letting us enjoy mechanical watchmaking at its intricate finest

Skeletonised watches: Gerald Charles Squelette
Gerald Charles Maestro 8.0 Squelette
(Image credit: Courtesy of Gerald Charles)

The hand-assembled cogs and gears in watchmaking offer a mechanical poetry when polished to perfection, and are close to a satellite link when it comes to accuracy. What better way to appreciate this living wrist machine than through the art of skeletonisation, which makes the movement come to life without a dial?

Skeletonised watches for 2024

Chanel J12 X-Ray

The new Chanel J12 X-Ray takes the timeless sports watch shape of the J12 and subverts it, transforming its image through solid pink sapphire. Using the same material as scratch-proof watch dials is incredibly hard work for cases and bracelets, but the maison makes it look easy. With a deceptively airy 38mm design, the open-worked movement battles for supremacy against the hypnotic power of bright pink sapphires. These are echoed on a gem-set clasp for the translucent bracelet, marking a year where Chanel’s watchmaking is on a roll.

Chopard Alpine Eagle 41 XP TT

Chopard Alpine Eagle XP skeleton watch

Chopard Alpine Eagle 41 XP TT

(Image credit: Courtesy of Chopard)

Since its debut on the integrated bracelet scene in 2019, the sustainable Lucent Steel-bodied Alpine Eagle has quickly established itself as a contender. Now slimmed down in titanium, the robust yet refined shape of the Chopard has a fresh, open-worked design. Despite its 1980s-inspired intricate case details, the skeletonized version of the Eagle takes on a tougher, tonal modernity with the subtlest hints of purple jewels and a solid gold micro-rotor to add a touch of liveliness. The tour de force of the L.U.C Calibre 96.17-S measures a mere 3.3mm thick within an 8mm case, showcasing the innovation nurtured within the Chopard manufacture and the unique appeal of this timepiece.

Piaget Altiplano Concept Tourbillon 150th

Piaget-Altiplano-Ultimate-Concept-Tourbillon-5 skelton watch

Piaget Altiplano Concept Tourbillon 150th

(Image credit: Courtesy of Piaget)

The Altiplano is one of the two ever-jostling contenders for the thinnest watch on the planet, being beaten by a hair’s breadth at Watches and Wonders 2024. But while the Bulgari Finissimo is in temporary possession of the Thin championship belt, Piaget plays a dressier game in its 150th year. While not holding back on the tech prowess, offering a flying tourbillon within a 2mm watch makes it unique. A dazzling dark blue cobolt alloy composite case with intricate rose-gold details houses an immaculately finished tourbillon at ‘10’, an integral part of the movement-cum-dial, vying for attention with the micro-marvel of this mechanical distillation.

Gerald Charles Maestro 8.0 Squelette

Skeletonized watches Gerald Charles Squelette C8.0-RG-06_Wrist2_V2_1-1

(Image credit: Courtesy of Gerald Charles)

Gerald Charles is a brand founded by watch designer Gerald Genta in 2000, and now modernised by the Ziviano family. The brand’s forte is a baroque-shaped collection that matches dressy chic with hobnail-patterned rubber straps. With the Squelette series, Genta’s legacy takes a complex turn, with the 35-part case here framing a skeletonised movement as the de facto dial. A juxtaposed frivolity plays on the contrast between the sweeping 18ct rose-gold and anthracite movement architecture of the bespoke caliber GCA 5482. With sandblasted bridges accentuated by hand-polished anglage (chamfering), it is developed in collaboration with Vaucher Manufacture and powered by a 22ct rose gold micro-rotor

Gerald Charles

Christopher Ward Twelve

Resplendent in brushed and polished titanium, the Twelve is yet another notch carved in the watchmaker’s workbench for Christopher Ward – an architectural ace card for the Swiss-manufactured brand with a British design and, dare we say it, soul. The 41mm case comes on a bold titanium bracelet or is juxtaposed with soft rubber, offering a skeletonised view of the monochrome heart. With dark bridgework seeming to grow inwards from the dial’s edge, the movement architecture will effectively end any dinner table discussion on the fascination with watchmaking. Adding the trump card of two large visible spring barrels giving the chronometer-certified movement a whopping 120 hours of power reserve seems almost unfair.

Christopher Ward


Thor Svaboe is a seasoned writer on watches, contributing to several UK publications including Oracle Time and GQ while being one of the editors at online magazine Fratello. As the only Norwegian who doesn’t own a pair of skis, he hibernates through the winter months with a finger on the horological pulse, and a penchant for independent watchmaking.