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Whether ultra-classical or on the cusp of contemporary watchmaking, there’s an automatic skeleton watch – which are much less common than hand-wound versions – for just about every taste. Here’s a look at five diverse examples:
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked Ref. 15407
As one can expect from Audemars Piguet, the Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked features meticulous hand-finishing and detailing throughout, with just enough contemporary accents to give it a unique appeal. But it’s not just a pretty face, the 15407 features the world’s first double balance wheel, where oscillators are stacked and work against each other to counteract the effects of gravity for more stable timekeeping regardless of the position of the wrist.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked Ref 15407 impresses with meticulous hand-finishing and detailing.
Clé de Cartier Automatic Skeleton
Appearances can be deceiving, and that’s certainly the case with Cartier’s new Clé de Cartier Automatic Skeleton. Beneath its astonishing movement designed with the brand’s signature Roman numerals integrated into the movement bridges lies a central automatic winding rotor, designed in a way that it’s completely camouflaged nearly all the time.
Add to that the smooth, rounded case silhouette the as well as the Clé’s unique crown and you have a very fine example of a contemporary automatic skeleton that’s got the makings of a future classic.
Beneath the movement of the Clé de Cartier Automatic Skeleton lies a central automatic winding rotor that is completely camouflaged nearly all the time.
Patek Philippe Ref. 5180/1G
Perhaps the most classically styled and executed skeleton in this selection, though that’s not to say it isn’t outstanding in its own right. The Patek Philippe Ref. 5180/1G features a manually openworked version of Patek Philippe’s Caliber 240 micro-rotor automatic movement, and it’s as lavish as they come, with superfluous embellishment beyond just traditional finishing.
To heighten the feeling of transparency and the sculptural look of the case, the movement is seemingly suspended in a white gold case with a smoked transparent glass inner case that also serves as an hour chapter surrounding the movement.
To heighten the feeling of transparency, the movement of the Patek Philippe Ref. 5180/1G is seemingly suspended in a white gold case.
Richard Mille RM 67-01
While better known for high-tech watches inspired by the world of racing, one of the most compelling skeleton watches from Richard Mille happens to come in the form of one of its slimmest and most elegant watches to date, the RM 67-01.
Housed in a slimmed-down profile of the brand’s emblematic tonneau case the RM 67-01 features an extra-thin automatic movement, with bridges designed in a way to allow a view onto as many of the movement’s internal components as possible, all while retaining a slender profile.
The Richard Mille RM 67-01 features an extra-thin automatic movement in a slimmed-down profile of the tonneau case.
Roger Dubuis Excalibur 42mm Automatic Skeleton
Offering the same distinctive look as a number of Roger Dubuis’ prolific openworked complicated watches (most notably the Double Tourbillon), the Excalibur 42mm Automatic Skeleton boasts a very contemporary, architectural movement, with angular bridges and a recurring star motif from the barrel bridge to the micro-rotor.
And while modern in its looks, that’s not to say the finishing and attention to detail aren’t top-notch by traditional standards. The Excalibur 42mm Automatic Skeleton bears the Geneva Seal, a testament to its superfluous quality.