For Men, Reviews

5 Affordable Skeleton Watches We Love (for under $500)

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Jacky Chou

Watches are a great way to show off your personal style, as well as keep time. These five budget-friendly skeleton watches will make it easy for you to find the perfect piece of jewelry that is both on trend and still accessible.

The "best affordable skeleton watches" are a type of watch that is popular with people who want to wear something stylish but not spend too much money. The five watches that we have chosen, can be found for under $500.

Who Could Resist a Skeleton Dial?

When I reviewed the Irony “Body & Soul”, I commented that every watchperson goes through a skeleton phase. It’s true- there’s just something about that exposed movement that gives a skeleton watch that, je ne sais quoi. In my case, I’m through the skeleton phase… but I still have a few open-heart dials in my collection.

Over the years, I've evaluated a few skeleton watches firsthand, including the Tissot Squelette (which I still like) and the Irony I referred to above. For my side project WristWatch.Photography, I also photographed the Tissot Chemin Des Tourelles Squelette. However, there are many more accessible skeletons out there that I'd want to get my hands on.

In light of that, let's take a look at five stylish skeleton and open-heart watches.

1. Swatch Irony “Body & Soul” YAS100G

Swatch Men's YAS100G Automatic See Through Dial Crystal Watch
  • Irony Automatic Body & Soul Collection
  • Swiss ETA Automatic Movement
  • 30 Meters / 100 Feet / 3 ATM Water Resistant
  • 38mm Case Diameter
  • Mineral Crystal

The YAS100G is a flashy, branded Swatch watch (say that five times fast) that primarily focuses on the ETA automatic movement. Although the steel bracelet is on the inexpensive side, given the under $175 market price, that is acceptable.

  • Automatic with an ETA 2841
  • 30m/99ft of water resistance
  • YAS100G is the model number.
  • MSRP: $195
  • 37mm in size
  • Mineral makes up the crystals.

Keep in mind that you'll have to send the YAS100G to a Swatch service facility if it ever requires maintenance. Your neighborhood watchmaker won't be able to open the case and complete the task. The ETA 2841 automatic does employ some plastic parts, but overall, I've had a good experience with the YAS100G since I bought my own in September 2017.

This isn't intended for large wrists since it's 37mm in size. It is designed for little wrists.

2. Golden Eyes 2 in Orient

For true watch enthusiasts, Orient manufactures mechanical timepieces. Although you don't have to be a watchmaker to enjoy an Orient, it's comforting to know that many of them do.

  • Automatic, Orient F6T22 movement
  • 30m/99ft of water resistance
  • AG03001D is the model number.
  • MSRP: around $500
  • 38.5 mm in size
  • Sapphire crystal material

The Golden Eyes 2 is a unique model that is a true jewel. Although I haven't personally evaluated it, I am very much looking forward to the chance. Why? because it has an automated movement built in-house, caliber F6T22. The motions of Orient are known to be strong and trustworthy. This spring-loaded movement, which has a 40-hour power reserve and drives several Orient models, seems rather nice through the blue dial of the Golden Eyes 2.

The F6T22 can also hand-wind, hack, and beat at a speed of 21,600 bph. You may rest easy knowing that the F6T22 is built in Japan if you're a purist.

This Golden Eyes 2 model has sapphire glass, a deployant clasp, and a stainless steel band. This one may sometimes appear on Amazon for roughly $350. Buy it if you see it at that price.

3. 7A121 Bulova

Bulova Men's Marine Star Series C Two-Tone Rose Gold Stainless Steel 6-Hand Chronograph Quartz...
  • From Bulova's Men's Marine Star Collection, live and play in...
  • 6 Hand, 1/20 Second Chronograph Measures up to 60 Minutes,...
  • Two-Tone Stainless Steel
  • Domed Mineral Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistant and 3 Year Limited Warranty

This Bulova automatic pistol is a great value. In addition to being really stunning (I mean, just look at it), the Miyota 82S7 has a good size and movement. There are really other variations of this design offered by Bulova, so if all-gold isn't your style, you can also choose from steel, rose gold, or brown. The leather strap has a gilt deployant clasp and is of decent quality.

  • Moves automatically, Xiaomi 82S7
  • 30m/99ft of water resistance
  • the 97A121 model number
  • MSRP: around $450
  • 41 mm in size
  • Mineral makes up the crystals.

While it has an MSRP of just under $500, it can be bought on Amazon for around $280, making it a terrific deal at that cost.

After reviewing the 97A121, I ended up purchasing the matching rose gold model and gave the 97A121 to a close friend of mine for his wedding since I was so delighted with it. Of course, he enjoyed it, and you will as well.

Although the Miyota 82S7 movement's standard deviation ranges from -20 to +40 seconds every day, I wouldn't let it take away from it. It hand-winds, beats at 21,600 bph, and has a 42-hour power reserve, but it cannot hack. However, a good movement distinguishes this budget dress watch from its quartz-powered rivals.

4. Automatic Zeppelin Flatline 7364

Zeppelin Flatline 7364-2 Automatic - Open Heart (Balance) Watch
  • Automatic- mechanic, self-winding movement
  • crystal exhibition back
  • special case design for an extra slim look.
  • Diameter: 40 mm X 12 mm (thick)
  • water-resistant up to 5 atm (50m) ,

Here's something a little different: a German watch company with a stunning open-heart dial. I have a lot of first-hand experience with Graf Zeppelin watches, specifically the dual-time I recently reviewed. I have no reason to think the Flatline would be any different from the dual-time's excellent build quality. On Amazon, the flatline goes for around $350.

  • Movement: Miyota 82S5 automatic
  • Waterproofing: 50 meters/165 feet
  • the 7364-3 model number
  • MSRP: around $450
  • 40 mm in size
  • Mineral makes up the crystals.

This dress watch's Miyota 82S5 automatic movement powers it. In comparison to the 82S7 stated above, the 82S5 has fewer features: it still has a 42-hour power reserve but lacks hacking and the 24-hour indication. Nevertheless, a well-resourced and widespread popular movement. Not a horrible route to go.

The Flatline has a really appealing design, and at 40mm it's a great size for just about everybody. The Flatline is a great option if you want a watch that is a little bit unique from the norm.

5. Accutron II Alpha by Bulova

What is this—an additional Bulova? Oh, yeah. The only quartz-powered watch on this list is the Accutron ii Alpha. However, it is present for a good reason—it is stunning, and the movement is badass.

  • Movement: Quartz, Precisionist BA101.10
  • 30m/99ft of water resistance
  • The 98A136 model number
  • MSRP: around $450
  • 42mm in size
  • Mineral makes up the crystals.

The Accutron ii Alpha is available in a number of variations, including dressier steel on leather and gold on leather models. The Bulova BA101.10 Precisionist movement is shown in all of its battery-powered grandeur in all of the variations, and it is wonderful.

The 42mm Accutron ii Alpha is an unusual watch because its casing is shaped like a shield rather than a circle. It stands out because of its intriguing appearance, but that's not all; the movement is a true jewel and is accurate to within 10 seconds every month. I purchased a second one (the steel and leather 96A155) since I liked mine so much.

The "best skeleton watches under $5,000" are affordable and will last you a long time. They also come in a variety of styles and colors, so there is something for everyone.

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Jacky Chou

Jacky Chou is the co-founder of Uberwrists and has gotten into watches from his father from a young age. His first watch was a black G Shock that was comedically large for his wrist. He appreciates watches from Seiko to a Patek Philippe.

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