A contemporary skeleton watch in the spotlight
August 12, 2010 Innovations

A contemporary skeleton watch in the spotlight

Régis Meylan recently designed a skeleton watch that is a real departure from the classic models. And his boldness has paid off: more than 500 orders have been received, providing new impetus to a sector that has suffered from the economic crisis. Here’s a look into the origins of the project.

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At the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH - international fine-watch show) in Geneva last January, the skeleton watch designed by Régis Meylan, head of Audemars Piguet’s Spécialités (specialty) workshop, was a phenomenal success. More than 500 orders were received during the event. “We didn’t expect so many. It’s evidence that contemporary versions of Audemars Piguet skeletons have a bright future ahead of them,” predicts Meylan.

Last year, however, the sector was severely affected by the economic crisis. “The skeleton watch has always had its ups and downs, particularly because it involves complicated, exceptional pieces, such as the perpetual calendar or the equation of time,” Meylan explains. To breathe fresh life into it, the watchmaker, who designs and makes most of the brand’s prototypes, made a bold and creative gamble. His idea was to make a more modern skeleton that could captivate a new clientele. To give it a more understated style, he designed a simple cut and left out the customary etchings. He chose a satin surface, well-polished angles and a range of colors from grey to anthracite. “This prototype, which we named 3129, is very different from the classic models. Its contemporary lines distill the style of the Royal Oak 15 300 collection, of which it will become a part,” adds the designer.

Since then, he has requisitioned several watchmakers for the Spécialités workshop to help handle production of this magnificent movement. In the coming months, the team will finish, with infinite patience and care, these skeletons for the new millennium.