Burgeoning watch collectors and enthusiasts are often frustrated by the lack of accessible complex mechanical watches; even dyed-in-wool collectors of means have the same problem, believe it or not. If you want to experiment with the very specific look of a skeletonised watch, for example, there is little you can do but to accept the situation. Well, Orient Star goes a long way towards providing a solution here, and although the Japanese watchmaker does offer a full skeleton watch, we are going to start here with the semi-skeleton offerings in the Contemporary and Classic collections.
Our reasoning is this: if you find you like the look and feel of an open-heart watch on your wrist all day, then a semi-skeleton will work for you. The following three watches are all suitable for daily wear (not true of all full or semi-skeleton watches), for men and women, so they will work very well for our purposes. They are the Modern Skeleton (41mm, with small seconds, equipped with a bracelet), the Semi Skeleton (slightly smaller at 39.3mm, with central seconds on a leather strap) and Classic Semi Skeleton for her (the smallest of the lot at 30.5mm, also equipped with a bracelet). It should be noted that the Modern Skeleton is also a semi-skeleton rather than a full skeletonised watch. There are minute sizing differences between the larger models, but the most noticeable differences are in the hands and markers. Water resistance for the larger models is 100m while the Classic Semi Skeleton is rated for 50m.
Although each of the three watches has a distinct look, all are meant to remind you of the sea at dawn, according to Orient Star. This accounts for the deep green gradient dials and contrasting rose gold coloured bezels common to all three models. All three watches are cased in stainless steel, giving the watches a sense of purposeful strength while also literally providing them with the opportunity to shine. The exhibition casebacks feature engravings of the limited edition serial number; the Modern Skeleton is limited to 900 pieces, the Semi Skeleton to 600, and the Classic Semi Skeleton to 300 pieces. The case (and bracelet) finishing is quite impressive, and you will not be disappointed when taking a closer look at the movement finishings.
Orient Star has been making fine watchmaking relatively and refreshingly egalitarian for quite some time, no pun intended. And with in-house movements to boot, which adds immeasurably to the value proposition. This means that all the semi-skeleton models here are equipped with movements designed and developed by Orient Star to suit the brand’s vision. For those unfamiliar with Orient Star, the movements here (automatic calibres F6F44, F6R42 and 55C22) are sturdy and efficient examples of contemporary industrial watch production, resulting in longer-than-average power reserves. That is 50 hours for the Modern Skeleton and the Semi Skeleton, and 40 hours for the Classic Semi Skeleton.
The most striking version amongst the three watches is the Modern Skeleton, where the gradient dial has cut-out sections that tease the mechanical secrets of the watch. The watch uses its own display logic to showcase the automatic calibre F6F44, with the balance assembly on show at 9 o’clock, and various parts of the movement on show at 6 o’clock, 2 o’clock and 12 o’clock, within the power reserve display. Both the Semi Skeleton models are more modest, with only the balance assembly showing. While this is, again, at 9 o’clock, you can tell that different movements are in play, between these two watches.
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