In an age where electronic and digitalized tools are the norm, mechanical Timepieces have a nostalgic flair that everyone loves for their perceptible movements. By this we mean that we can actually see, and hear these collectible items as they work, as opposed to the boring clock on our cell phones.
While many watches cover up the mechanical curiosities that they contain, a few have displayed and decorated movements that are real stars on the wrist. In the industry, these watches are referred to as being “skeletonized”, or with the French “squelette”; as the normal dial has been removed to show the real inner workings. When you look at a skeletonized watch you can see the gears moving and the oscillation of the balance wheel. Furthermore, the plates and bridges that hold the parts in place have been cut open to see deeper inside, as well as decorated to show the artistic possibilities in the micro-craftsmanship. Being able to visualize the intricate process that occurs to tell time mechanically adds a whole new level of appreciation.
Skeletonized watches also tend to have more desirability. Retail prices are higher on these watches, and there is greater auction competition. In the past Heritage Auctions has offered important examples of both skeletonized pocket watches and wristwatches.
By Michael Fossner
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