skeleton watch


The latest Wilbur watch is out of this world.

While the Wilbur LEO is round and rests on the wrist like a traditional watch, its sculptural, multi-part titanium case does not enclose traditional hour, minute and seconds hands. The LEO instead displays the time in an unusual manner on a dial that looks like a satellite tumbling its way around Earths orbit.

The Wilbur LEO

At the center of this 48.5mm by 46mm titanium puzzle the LEO displays the hour prominently and digitally. 

The hour digit that appears in the LEO’s central aperture is actually a mash-up of two otherwise indecipherable symbols that meet once per hour.

One clear sapphire disks and another brushed-black sapphire disk rotate twice a day on either side of the hour display. When they meet, those ‘alien’ symbols form the correct hour digit at the dial’s center. 

To display minutes and seconds, the LEO returns to earth, displaying each at the end of fixed bridges that double as hands.

Wilbur’s other-worldly method of creating the hour digit is put into practice by Swiss movement engineering company Concepto, and is a global premiere.

Jason Wilbur, company founder and chief designer, explains that the LEO took him seven years to finalize. The idea originated from learning about the Roswell, NM, ‘alien’ stories.

Jason Wilbur in his design studio.

“I wanted to create something that sprang from learning in my youth about the Roswell incident with all its alien stuff,” he recalls. 

For the LEO, Wilbur created a type of coded language to feed the unusual jump hour display. 

“No one on Earth who saw those pieces would know what the Roswell symbols mean. So I created my own code. On the watch the hours come together with coded symbols,” he adds.

Limited Editions 

Wilbur will make fifty examples of the LEO in its initial JW 1.1 version, but he plans to eventually build three-hundred LEO watches in a variety of hues and with customized finishes and materials.

The LEO complements WILBUR’s existing lineup, which also includes the EXP watch and the Launch Edition, both of which are square-cased modular watches built with an artful mix of steel, ceramic and silicon components.

“We’ll make those in about 5,000 units per year,” he explains. “Two models are on the website now and two more are coming.” He notes that these modular designs offer him the creative leeway to create some ‘crazy’ Wilbur watches. 

The Wilbur LEO JW1.1 is priced starting at $32,500. 

Specifications: The Wilbur LEO JW1

Case: 48.50mm X 46.00mm X 16.50mm 8-part modular titanium (materials can vary by edition), sapphire crystals w/ anti-reflective coating, 30 meters of water resistance, hand finished , exhibition back.

Movement/Dial: In-house Engine One automatic jump-hour, made in Switzerland by Concepto,, hours displayed on proprietary sapphire & aluminum jump-hour disks shown under central window, minutes on hubless ring disc (fixed pointer on bridge) and seconds on small disc (fixed pointer on bridge). JW1 movement chassis,JW 1 rotor

Strap: Black silicone with Cordura option.

Base price: $32,500. 

Bell & Ross updates its hot BR 05 Skeleton collection with a new steel edition that glows with a warm gold coloring and soothing amber accents.

The new Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Golden.

The new BR 05 Skeleton Golden is seemingly bathed in its namesake hue thanks to a galvanized gold-colored flange just inside the round dial opening. A gold-tinted translucent dial panel is topped with gold-colored and luminescent (green) hands and indexes to underscore the color theme.

The new model is just the latest in a series Bell & Ross launched in 2019 with its first all-steel BR 05 Skeleton, which was followed by different steel variations: the Skeleton Blue in 2020, the NightLum in 2021 and the Skeleton Green in 2022.

As with all of Bell & Ross’s BR 05 ‘round within square” watches, this newest skeleton model features a 40mm diameter steel case, a flat sapphire crystal, and a satin-brushed steel bezel fixed by four polished steel screws.

Seen from the side, the watch’s multi-level construction becomes evident. Its middle case middle is nicely polished with two 45° bevels and is then satin-brushed on both sides. 

Bell & Ross has always allowed its automatic calibers a full showing with a sapphire crystal back, which emphasizes the brand’s customized 360° oscillating weight. The rotor powers a skeletonized BR-CAL.322, a Sellita-based automatic caliber.

Bell & Ross connects the BR 05 Skeleton Golden to the wrist with either with a highly integrated, 1970s-style steel bracelet with alternating polished and satin-brushed surfaces, or a rubber strap in a matching amber color. The watchmaker offers this effervescent new model as a limited edition of 500 pieces.

Prices: $6,600 on the rubber strap and $7,100 on the steel bracelet.

Bell & Ross adds a new watch to its Skull collection with the BR 01 Cyber Skull Bronze, an updated edition of the contemporary design made with sharper edges and more light-reflecting facets.

The new Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull Bronze.

The new watch echoes the now sold-out 2020 Cyber Skull, but with an avant-garde twist that combines ceramic, sapphire crystal and bronze. Its gold-colored skull tops a Bell & Ross BR-CAL.210 manual-wind automaton caliber. When the wearer turns the crown, the jawbone moves as if the skull is speaking.

The skull itself is inserted between two sapphire crystal plates as if floating in the center of the 45mm x 46.7mm case.

Held with four femur-shaped supports, the skull covers much of the skeletonized movement. However, as with the earlier Cyber Skull model, the watch’s balance wheel becomes the visible ‘brains’ of the skull while a few winding gears remain in sight on the dial side. Most of the finely-cut movement is fully visible via the watch’s clear sapphire back.

Bell & Ross notes that as a bronze-cased watch, its appearance will change slightly as it is worn and develops a patina. This means each piece of the 500-piece limited edition will take on a unique bronze tone, depending on the wearer’s own body chemistry.

The new watch continues a long-running Bell & Ross concept that started in 2009 with the BR 01 Skull. The watchmaker has introduced several BR 01 Skull and BR 01 Laughing Skull models in the years since, including a bronze BR 01 Skull in 2015. A year later, Bell & Ross added a tourbillon to the BR 01 Skull Bronze in a unique-piece that sold during the Only Watch charity watch auction that year. In 2017, Bell & Ross introduced its first 3D skull with the BR 01 Burning Skull Bronze. 

Bell & Ross is making the BR 01 Cyber Skull Bronze as a limited edition of 500 pieces. Price: $11,400.


Specifications: Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull Bronze 

Movement: Manufacture BR-CAL.210 hand-wound mechanical. 

Functions: hours and minutes. Moving skull jawbone when wound by hand. 

Case: 45 mm x 46.7 mm. 13.70 mm thick. Satin-finished and polished CuSn8 bronze. Sapphire and CuAI7Si2 bronze caseback. 

Dial: Skeletonized. Rose gold-plated brass skull (or bronze-colored skull). Gilt metal skeletonized SuperLumiNova- filled hour and minute hands. Balance at 12 o’clock. Sapphire crystal; water resistant to 50 meters. 

Strap: Black rubber with satin-finished and polished CuAI7Si2 bronze pin.  

Price: $11,400. 

By Steve Huyton

Most people who purchase a Swiss-made watch imagine it was meticulously crafted in a small workshop. For clients of Aerowatch, this actually is the case because the company’s headquarters are located in Saignelégier, within the heart of the Jura mountain region.

The company has operated continuously since 1910 and is still family-owned and managed by the Bolzi siblings: Jean-Sébastien (director of sales & marketing) Fred-Eric (master watch constructor) and Adeline (administrative manager). Aerowatch offers a range of quartz and mechanical offerings, including the distinctive Skeleton Spider.

The Aerowatch Skeleton Spider.

The Spider

I’ve always been enticed by mechanical skeletonized watches, and the Skeleton Spider is a great example. With a stainless-steel case measuring 43mm it should appeal to a broad demographic of buyers, including the unisex market. With its classical proportions, it felt very comfortable on the wrist and would be suitable for daily use.

Ultimately this stylish watch would look equally good with casual or formal attire. Personally, I could imagine sporting this timepiece with a finely tailored dinner suit to a gala ball or private function. However, because it’s only water-resistant to a depth of fifty meters, it wouldn’t be suitable for swimming or diving.

Visually the Skeleton Spider has a strong identity that is designed to make a bold statement. What makes this watch so special is the anthracite spider web skeletonized dial with red spider small seconds indication.

Other features include a refined satin red chapter ring, luminous indexes and domed sapphire crystal. Powering the watch is a customized manual-winding Calibre 6497-1 movement from Unitas (ETA), which oscillates at a frequency of 18,000 vibrations per hour. This mechanism is visibly showcased via the sapphire crystal exhibition caseback. Functionally the Skeleton Spider features hours, minutes, and small seconds and has a power reserve of fifty-two hours.

Aerowatch also offers the watch with yellow and black coloring .

As a perfect final touch, Aerowatch presents the Skeleton Spider on a black leather strap with a complimentary folding steel clasp. For a watch of this quality, I feel it is competitively priced at $3,150.

Steve Huyton is an industrial designer, illustrator and author who publishes Total Design Reviews

Ulysse Nardin this week launches Blast, the latest of the Le Locle-based watchmaker’s Executive Skeleton X series of open-worked watches that feature distinctive rectangular and X-shaped bridges within a broad, round bezel. The four new 45mm Blast watches accentuate the collection’s see-through X design with a new silicon tourbillon placed within its own X-shaped cage.

The White Blast features white ceramic, metallic grey and dark blue accents.

With these shape-within-a-shape bridges, the new Blast retains the geometrical focus we’ve seen in recent Ulysse Nardin X models, including the three-horned strap link, a smooth, often colored bezel and the barrel at 12 o’clock.

The new Ulysse Nardin Blue Blast has a titanium middle case, blue titanium bezel, blue brass rectangular bridge, blue tourbillon cage, blue and grey double “X” pattern, metallic grey sculpted hands and indexes.


But the new Blast offers much that differs from previous Skeleton X offerings, especially with its new case architecture and a new tourbillon movement employing Ulysse Nardin’s first-ever micro-rotor. 

The new skeletonized UN-172 movement (an evolution of the UN-171), with its silicon escape wheel, anchor and balance spring, powers each of the four Ulysse Nardin Blast watches.

The new skeletonized UN-172 movement in the Blast features a tourbillon with silicon escape wheel, anchor and balance spring.

As the first automatic tourbillon within Ulysse Nardin’s Skeleton collection, you’ll find a platinum micro-rotor (visible only from the front of the watch) winding the mainspring, supplying a three-day reserve when fully wound.

The Rose Gold Blast features a black DLC middle case and solid gold horns, black ceramic bezel, a bicolor tourbillon cage (rose gold colored and black PVD), sculpted rose gold indexes and hands.

New Lugs

Ulysse Nardin has also restyled the lugs, making them more angular and finishing each triangular surface differently. The lug surfaces, polished by laser using a new technique devised by Ulysse Nardin, alternate between polished, satin-finish and sand blasted. The idea, according to Ulysse Nardin, is to mimic “sharp rocks that jut out of a volcano.”

The Blast’s lug surfaces are polished by laser using a new technique devised by Ulysse Nardin.

Also new here is a self-deploying, three-blade buckle that releases with a single click. When closing, the system simultaneously pulls both ends of the strap toward the clasp. 

Blast features a new self-deploying buckle that releases with a single click.

Ulysse Nardin is making four distinct Blast models: White, Blue, Black and Rose Gold. Each offers its own set of color or design accents ­– even within the tourbillon itself. The Black Blast, for example, comes with a ceramic upper middle case and bezel, black rectangular bridge, red and black double “X” pattern and a stunning new red balance wheel – the first time Ulysse Nardin has ever colorized its balance wheel.

The Black Blast comes with a ceramic upper middle case and bezel, black rectangular bridge, red and black double “X” pattern and a stunning new red balance wheel – the first time that Ulysse Nardin has ever developed a colored balance wheel.

Several strap options are available for each model, including structured rubber, leather and velvet.


The back view of the Ulysse Nardin Black Blast.



Blue (T-1723-400/03) $44,000

Black (T-1723-400/BLACK) $46,000

White (T-1723-400/00)  $46,000  

Rose Gold (T-1725-400/02) $54,000  


Specifications: Ulysse Nardin Blast

Movement: Caliber UN-172, skeletonized automatic tourbillon with micro-rotor. Functions: Tourbillon, hours, minutes, raised rectangular bridge, escapement wheel, anchor, and balance spring in silicon, platinum micro-rotor at 12 o’clock, 18,000 vph (2.5 Hz). Power reserve is 72 hours.

Case: 45mm x 13mm titanium or titanium/ceramic multi-part with PVD/DLC coating; rose gold and ceramic for rose gold model, sapphire case back, sapphire crystal, water resistance to 50 meters.

Strap:  Structured or plain rubber, alligator or calfskin, velvet or denim.