A fully Skeletonized Swiss Watch in 40 mm.
This is a review I have been looking forward to writing for some time. I discovered this piece one day as I was researching the brand. I pulled the trigger and bought mine as soon as I was able to find a good deal online for the configuration I wanted. The Artelier Skeleton was the first and is currently the only fully skeletonized watch in my collection. Please continue reading and check out the images below as I will be diving into the pros and cons of this watch and hopefully provide some insight for prospective buyers of the Oris Artelier Skeleton, or any other skeletonized watch for that matter.
You may have been able to guess it from the pictures. A skeletonized watch is any one which puts the movement - the "skeleton" - of the piece on display. For those interested in what makes mechanical watches tick, skeletonized watches provide the best view of the forces at work behind the minute, hour, and second hands as well as any other "complications" (extra features) that may be present on the dial. Skeletonized watches often include elaborately decorated movements that are intended to be the focal point of the overall design. Embellishing something so small and delicate requires extra time, energy, and attention to detail which usually brings the cost of production way up.
There are different varieties of skeleton watches - that is, some watches are more "skeletonized" than others. The "Open Heart" style seems to be quite prevalent nowadays. In this design, only a portion - usually the mainspring - of the movement is visible on the dial of a watch. You can check out my review of one such watch, the Hamilton Jazzmaster Open Heart here.
Oris produces many of its watches, including the Artelier Skeleton, using an in-house clone of a Sellita movement known as the "SW200." Oris refers to this caliber as the "Oris 734, base SW 200-1". The SW200 is a highly regarded Swiss-Made production movement often compared to the celebrated ETA 28-24 so often found in watches on this site. I like the use of this movement in the Artelier Skeleton for a few reasons. By adopting Selitta's proven design and only making small modifications for cosmetic purposes, Oris can make the watch available at a lower price than would otherwise be possible. Additionally, it is always easier and less costly to service a movement like this than it is to service a true "in-house movement. The movement is suspended within the case by 12 evenly spaced bars which double as hour indices (very cool)."
I think Oris did a fantastic job in decorating this movement. The styling is minimal and tasteful. A combination of blue and purple jewels connect the various moving parts together. Even the screws are jeweled. The hardware is beautifully polished throughout aside from where engravings decorate the bridges. The blood-red rotor looks awesome with outstanding attention to detail and adds nice contrast to the reverse.
There isn't too much to say about the case, band, and clasp of the Artelier Skeleton except that they function well with the overall design. The case is 40mm even, round, and polished on all surfaces. The mirror finish complements the mirror finishing on the movement. The simplicity of this case is appropriate as the focus of the piece is really meant to be the movement.
The strap that came with my Oris Skeleton isn't anything special - it's a stiff brown leather strap with a signature on the reverse. I know this watch can be bought on a bracelet as well but I feel that the design of the dial calls for some sort of leather strap. The clasp is simple as well but works great and the locking mechanism feels especially solid. "ORIS" is inscribed on the clasp - a nice touch.
Thanks for reading! This is one of my favorite watches from my collection and it has been a pleasure to write about. For those interested, this watch is available on Amazon at a decent price. If you haven't already, please check out my review of the Tissot Powermatic 80 and Citizen Eco-Drive.