Best Skeleton Watch Under 500 Reviews

Updated October 27, 2020

Times are changing in the world of watch designing. Instead of adding components to modern watch designs, manufacturers have kind of started to remove parts.

New designs of watches have emerged with the fashion of revealing the watches skeleton, such as the dials and mechanics inside.

It’s surprising to see how many awesome skeleton watches are on the market, which only makes it harder to choose one. From different brands to different sizes, movements, and more.

We have compiled 7 top see thru watches to help you narrow down your decision. After that, we will go through a buying guide for an affordable skeleton watch.

Best Skeleton Watches Under 500

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1 Stuhrling Mens Skeleton Watch
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2 Invicta 1090 Russian Diver Skeleton Watch
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3 Bulova - 98A179 Men's Automatic
Best For Higher Budgets
Bulova 98A179 Men's Automatic Skeleton Watch
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4 Lucien Piccard - 10660A-02S-RA Loft Automatic
Best For Low Budgets
Lucien Piccard Loft Skeleton Watch
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5 Invicta - 17185 Specialty Skeletonized Mechanical Watch Invicta 17185 Skeleton Watch
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6 Stuhrling - Original Delphi Automatic Watch Stuhrling Delphi Automatic Skeleton Watch
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7 Fossil - Men's ME3041 Townsman Skeleton Watch
Best Overall
Fossil ME3041 Townsman Skeleton Watch
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1. Stuhrling Mens Skeleton Watch

Highlights

This watch allows you to view the mechanisms at work, thanks to the skeletonized dial and exhibition case-back. The engraved face is available in a range of colourways, each with a complementary strap in high quality materials such as leather or alligator. The face features a GMT dial which allows you to view two time zones, and a Sun/Moon dial. The watch runs on an automatic self-winding mechanical movement. This means your watch will keep running for as long as it’s worn, without any need for batteries.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel, Leather
Size:
Case Diameter 46mm, Case Thickness 13mm
Weight:
8.82oz

Pros

  • Attractive design.
  • Range of colourways.
  • Skeletonised dial allows the watch movements to be observed.
  • Variety of watch strap finishes.
  • GMT subdial to allow tracking of two time zones.

Cons

  • Chunky style.
  • Crown is placed at the top of the dial where it’s a little harder to access.

2. Invicta 1090 Russian Diver Skeleton Watch

Highlights

The Invicta brand is well-known on the market for its gorgeous-looking watches that are both durable and easy to wear. In this case, the 1090 Russian Diver features a scalloped bezel with a skeleton dial without numbers. Still, this doesn’t mean it is difficult to read – it just sets the attention on the Skeleton dial, which charms you with the movements of all those tiny elements!

The case is big (52mm) and is made from a gold-tone stainless steel material with a synthetic sapphire dial. The system needs to be hand-wind, but this is not too much of an inconvenient once you get used to the idea. 

Since the watch is a bit big and heavy, the producer had it fitted with a durable polyurethane band that can hold everything in place. Furthermore, the watch resists in about 50m of water, which makes it suitable for a quick swim.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel

Pros

  • The Skeleton mechanism is fully visible
  • The stainless steel rose-gold case is elegant
  • It is a watch that commands attention
  • It is water-resistant
  • Designed by one of the best Skeleton watch brands

Cons

  • It needs to be hand-wind
  • It can seem big and heavy
  • The band could be more durable

3. Bulova 98A179 Men's Automatic Skeleton Watch

Highlights
  • Gunmetal stainless steel case.
  • Sport style design.
  • 40-hour battery reserve.
  • Water-resistant to 100 meters.
Best For Higher Budgets
Bulova - 98A179 Men's Automatic

This striking robust watch is crafted from gunmetal stainless steel, creating the matching watch case and watchband.

A leather-free watch band is a perfect option for those who prefer to steer away from animal products! The sporty design makes it suitable for everyday wear to elevate any outfit, but it also proves to be a classy touch for smarter looks too.

Furthermore, the watch face is coated with durable sapphire glass, making it less prone to cracks and scratches. The rear of the watch is fitted with a secure double-press clasp to fix the band onto your wrist.

This watch has a great water-resistant rating to 100 meters, however, it is not suitable for diving. It works well for snorkeling, swimming, and showers meaning you will barely have to take it off. It also has a generous 40-hour battery reserve before you’ll need to wind it up again.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel
Size:
6 x 6 x 6 inches
Battery Life:
40 hours

Pros

  • Durable sapphire glass.
  • Double press clasp.
  • Suitable for swimming and snorkeling.
  • Sleek black design.

Cons

  • Some may not like the all-black design.
  • Metal straps can be uncomfortable.

4. Lucien Piccard Loft Skeleton Watch

Highlights
  • The simplistic design is easy to like.
  • Beautiful rose gold numerals.
  • Genuine leather strap.
  • Scratch-resistant glass.
Best For Low Budgets
Lucien Piccard - 10660A-02S-RA Loft Automatic

This is a beautifully classic and stylish piece that has a wallet-friendly price tag alongside innovative design features. The Lucien watch has a simplistic design with a genuine black leather strap and a stainless steel watch case.

It’s a watch that works for both male and female styles with the toned-down pink and black hues. The face is decorated with 4 rose gold numerals in a modern and easy-to-read font. It also features smaller hour and minute markers.

The bezel is a dauphine style holding tapered ends with white accents in the middle. Alongside the usual dial, it also has a second dial. The large silver crown makes it easy to set up and adjust with a push-pull motion.

Synthetic sapphire crystal glass covers the watch face making it less prone to scratches and damage that can come along with daily wear. It’s also suitable to wear in the water and shower, but should not be submersed.

Specifications

Material:
Leather, Stainless Steel
Size:
10.16 x 10.16 x 10.16 cm

Pros

  • Includes minute markers.
  • Water-resistant to 50 meters.
  • Includes a second dial.
  • Easy push-pull crown.

Cons

  • Not suitable for snorkeling or diving.
  • Some may not like the colored numerals.

5. Invicta 17185 Skeleton Watch

Highlights
  • Beautiful roman numerals on the watch face.
  • Croc-embossed strap.
  • White border.
  • Mechanical hand-wind movement.

The Invicta 17185 is a slightly old romantic style watch with a modern twist. The 42mm watch face holds simple black roman numerals that are easy to read paired with the white-colored outer ring and stainless steel bezel. It also has minute markers on the outer rim. The open skeleton begins just after the rim.

Next, the scratch-resistant flame fusion crystal takes the durability of this watch one step further. Plus the large push/pull crown located on the right-hand side of the watch. The watch case is durable stainless steel that can withstand everyday wear.

Furthermore, the watch is created with a beautiful brown leather croc-embossed strap giving it that slightly more casual look. The strap fastens with a tang clasp and is super soft and comfortable to wear making it perfect as a daily piece!

Specifications

Material:
Leather, Stainless Steel
Size:
0.59 x 0.59 x 0.59 inches

Pros

  • Water-resistant to 30 feet.
  • Includes a second dial.
  • Suitable for both casual and dress wear.
  • Comfortable to wear.

Cons

  • Some may want a larger watch face.
  • No date or day display.

6. Stuhrling Delphi Automatic Skeleton Watch

Highlights
  • Rose gold tones feature.
  • Polished silver skeleton.
  • Seconds and minute tracker.
  • Luxury dauphine-style hands.

This watch is incredibly well-designed both mechanically and aesthetically. The comfortably large circular watch face holds a black base paired with 4 large rose gold-tinted numerals plus smaller hour markers. It also includes white second markers on the outer rim. The luxe design works with both casual and dress styles.

On top of this, the watch has opulent dauphine style bezel hands. These are tapered at the ends much like old fashioned watches. The watch also has a self-wind automatic movement meaning you won’t have to replace any batteries.

The watch is crafted with Krysterna Crystal glass resisting scratches and damage from everyday wear. The real leather strap is comfortable to wear and secures with a buckle clasp. Lastly, it’s water-resistant for swimming and showering.

Specifications

Material:
Leather, Stainless Steel
Size:
0.59 x 0.59 x 0.59 inches
Battery Life:
36 hours

Pros

  • Comfortable leather strap.
  • Self-wind automatic movement.
  • Compliments any outfit.
  • Comfortable sized watch face.

Cons

  • Maybe too dressy for some.
  • Higher price point than others.

7. Fossil ME3041 Townsman Skeleton Watch

Highlights
  • Stunning transparent dial.
  • Silver-tone outer dial.
  • Sharp, clean looking design.
  • Automatic-self-wind movement.
Best Overall
Fossil - Men's ME3041 Townsman Skeleton Watch

This Fossil automatic movement watch is unique in its watch face design. The silver-toned outer dial is followed by a transparent inner dial rim before reaching the skeleton watch face. The transparent rim holds 4 silver roman numerals, plus individual hour markers. The outer rim also features second markers.

Its sharp and clean looking design is a very masculine piece perfect for office attire in smart environments. However, it also works for everyday wear to elevate a basic outfit.

A great feature of this watch is its excellent quality paired with a pretty decent price. Especially when you compare it to more expensive models that can be found for double or even triple the price.

Thanks to the water resistance to 50 meters, you won’t need to remove it for showering. The genuine black leather strap secures with a traditional buckle.

Finally, it has an excellent battery reserve of 40 hours. It has self-winding automatic movement meaning you use the crown to wind up the battery. This is convenient for those who dislike having to replace batteries but not so great for those who don’t like to wind up the watch themselves when it needs it.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel, Leather
Size:
2.76 x 3.54 x 3.54 inches
Battery Life:
40 hours

Pros

  • Water-resistant to 50 meters.
  • Comfortable to wear.
  • Secure strap buckle.
  • Very affordable for the quality.

Cons

  • Some find self-wind movement annoying.
  • Can be a little hard to read with all the silver tones.

Affordable Skeleton Watch Buying Guide

The First Skeleton Watch

Originally, you may have thought that skeleton watches are a fairly new style of watch designing. However, it’s quite the opposite.

Around the time of 1760, a Frenchman Andre-Charles Caron actually invented the skeleton watch. His idea was to remove all of the windows of the watch and expose the beautiful craftsmanship underneath. This is sometimes referred to as an openwork watch.

Today they are viewed as state-of-the-art pieces that most would adore having on their wrist.

Movement

There are 3 different types of watch movements that vary between models and brands. They are:

  • Manual Movement
  • Automatic Movement
  • Quartz Movement

There are a few fundamental differences between the types of movement. Firstly, manual and automatic movements do not require electrical circuits and are instead mechanical. This means they do not require batteries and usually work through self-winding methods.

On the other hand, Quartz movement watches run off electrical batteries. These require replacement after the battery runs out which some can find very inconvenient.

The name “Quartz” is generally assumed to be more expensive than mechanical and automatic movement. However, this is a common misconception. As automatic and mechanical movements require more craftsmanship than Quartz alternatives, you will find them to be more expensive! 

The upside of battery-powered watches is that they are generally a little more accurate than the other movement types.

Mechanical Skeleton Watch

Mechanical skeleton watches are traditionally referred to as hand-wound watches. This means you will have to wind the watch and power it up again every day. This is done by pulling out the crown (usually located on the side of the watch case) and winding it until you feel resistance.

Automatic Skeleton Watch

Automatic watches are a little different from mechanical ones as they self-wind while they are worn. This is a more comfortable option for those who don’t want to wind the watch themselves. The important thing to remember is that if they are not worn for some time, they will require a manual wind to restart.

Although this movement is more expensive, we have managed to pull 7 of these skeleton watches for under 500 to ease it up for you!

Quartz Skeleton Watch

Although we haven’t covered any in our reviews above, there are a number of quartz movement skeleton watches on the market. Quartz movement uses a battery that usually lasts between 12 and 18 months, depending on the model, before it needs replacing. 

The movement gets its name because of the quartz crystal that functions like the balance wheel, vibrating, and generating voltage.

Design & Style

Designs and styles of watches vary between brands, with some having more signature styles and others being more vast in their approach to their products.

Specific watch styles go in and out of fashion year by year. For example, once Quartz movement watches were manufactured with battery-powered designs, they were the rage. However these days many love the old-fashioned hand winding watch movement.

It’s worth noting that designs and styles of watches can also drastically affect the price.

There are a few key design features that set different watches apart:

  • Movement style; whether it’s automatic, mechanical, or quartz.
  • Glass cover materials; such as sapphire crystal or plastic.
  • Watch strap material; these can include leather, faux leather, plastic, wood, and more.
  • Size of watch face; some prefer oversized statement pieces and others like smaller compact designs.

Materials

Some smaller design features of watches will vary in materials, however there are a few watch materials that stay the same between designs.

For the watch case, you will usually find stainless steel (like the watched we have reviewed above) or an alloy. An alloy is a blend of multiple types of metal that results in a cheaper manufacturing material. 

Secondly, the material of the watch strap can vary. Some brands produce signature watches with genuine leather straps while others can produce wooden or plastic watch straps. Others produce metal straps in the same materials to the watch case. Generally, leather and metal watch straps will be more expensive.

Watch Glass

The watch glass material varies between models. There are three main types of glass used: acrylic glass, sapphire crystal, and mineral glass.

Sapphire crystal is the most highly regarded watch face material, and the best quality. Synthetic sapphire crystal is generally used as a real crystal is far more expensive to produce watches with. It’s a material of choice because of its incredible durability against smashing and scratches. This material is used in more expensive watch materials which is one of the reasons they cost more, but keep a pristine appearance so much longer.

Acrylic is the cheapest of the 3 and is pretty much plastic. It’s transparent, flexible, and very hard to smash making it a great choice for more affordable watches. The downside of acrylic is that it is not very scratch-resistant meaning your watch may not have a high-quality appearance.

Lastly, we have mineral glass which is also an excellent material due to its mid-range price point and high-quality standard. It’s the most common material used as watch glass. It is fairly durable and scratch-resistant more than acrylic but not as much as sapphire crystal.

Our Verdict

We have reached the end of the guide to some of the best cheap skeleton watches!! As you will have now seen, the models themselves are exquisite, and finding one for under 500 is a perfect addition.

Skeleton watches make great personal accessories and wonderful gifts. Traditional watches are always a winner, but a skeleton watch can take your gift-giving from good to exceptional.

If you love watches then a skeleton watch may be the new addition to your collection. Or if you are looking to purchase a new watch, you may now have found the exact you didn’t even know you were looking for!

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