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The Best Affordable Skeleton Watch – Save Cash, Make A Statement [2020 Update]

Exposed fronts make any watch look expensive, which is why you might think skeleton pieces cost an arm and a leg. This is simply not true. We’ve run through 9 entries to help you find the best affordable skeleton watch. Read ahead.

The Watches - At A Glance

To help you digest our review better, we summarized our most notable picks in the following table.

Preview
Our Pick
Stuhrling Original Mens Automatic-Self-Wind Luxury Dress Skeleton Dual Time Gold-Tone Wrist-Watch 22...
The Best Looking
Skeleton Automatic Steampunk Watches Gold-Tone Luminous Hands Leather Strap Wrist-Watch (Gold)
Our Outdoor’s Pick
BENYAR Chronograph Wrist Watch for Men | Big Black Skeleton Dial | Quartz Movement 30M Waterproof |...
Water resistance
165 feet (50 meters)
100 feet (30 meters)
100 feet (30 meters)
Movement
Japanese automatic
Mechanical
Japanese quartz
Crystal
Krysterna
Sapphire
Mineral
Strap
Leather
Leather
Leather
Case (size)
1.85 inches (47 mm)
1.57 inches (40 mm)
1.81 inches (46 mm)
Case
Stainless steel
Stainless steel
Stainless steel
Bezel
Stainless steel
Stainless steel
Stainless steel
Colour
Rose gold & brown
Gold & brown
Black & brown
Our Pick
Preview
Stuhrling Original Mens Automatic-Self-Wind Luxury Dress Skeleton Dual Time Gold-Tone Wrist-Watch 22...
Water resistance
165 feet (50 meters)
Movement
Japanese automatic
Crystal
Krysterna
Strap
Leather
Case (size)
1.85 inches (47 mm)
Case
Stainless steel
Bezel
Stainless steel
Colour
Rose gold & brown
More Information
The Best Looking
Preview
Skeleton Automatic Steampunk Watches Gold-Tone Luminous Hands Leather Strap Wrist-Watch (Gold)
Water resistance
100 feet (30 meters)
Movement
Mechanical
Crystal
Sapphire
Strap
Leather
Case (size)
1.57 inches (40 mm)
Case
Stainless steel
Bezel
Stainless steel
Colour
Gold & brown
More Information
Our Outdoor’s Pick
Preview
BENYAR Chronograph Wrist Watch for Men | Big Black Skeleton Dial | Quartz Movement 30M Waterproof |...
Water resistance
100 feet (30 meters)
Movement
Japanese quartz
Crystal
Mineral
Strap
Leather
Case (size)
1.81 inches (46 mm)
Case
Stainless steel
Bezel
Stainless steel
Colour
Black & brown
More Information

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Invicta Men’s 1090 Russian Diver Rose

The Watches

Our Pick

1. Stuhrling Men’s 371Z.03

The watch is a vision in rose-gold. Its skeleton dial and gold body make it look ultra-rich. It is big. Its case stretches 1.85 inches (47 mm) across. If you have smaller wrists, it might look awkward on you.

Its dial doesn’t have any numerals, there are cylindrical markers instead. They’re jeweled, which makes it look more expensive.

We love that its strap is leather. It’s high-quality and embossed to look like alligator skin. The thing is, it’s kind of wide. When there’s a lot of leather on your wrist, you tend to sweat.

The 371Z.03 is automatic. Automatic and mechanical devices have the most gears – this is great for skeleton watches (you get the best show). We, unfortunately, don’t know the name of its specific mechanism. But we know that it comes with 22 jewels. No, they’re not real. They’re pieces of glass. They help its gears move smoother.

There not only is a skeleton front, but its back is open too.

If you look at its crown, you’ll notice that it’s large. This makes it easier to grip.

Stuhrling uses their Krysterna crystal on timepieces. The 371Z.03 is no different. They say it is as resistant as sapphire, the toughest glass out there. We don’t know how true this is, but it can handle a beating.

Whatever you do, don’t get it wet. Although its strap looks good, leather is not waterproof. When wet, it stays so for a long time.

Something neat about our best budget skeleton watch is the presence of a sun and moon indicator. It tells you if it’s AM or PM. We also like that you get a sub-dial that reads the time in another time zone.

What makes it special:

Sun and moon indicator

2. Winner Men’s Skeleton Triangle Watch GMT996-6

The device has a peculiar shape – you don’t usually see watches with triangle dials. It is surrounded by a disc-like case, making it look like a spaceship. We are even more fond of its appearance due to its colourway.

Winner made its gold face super glossy. It not only catches the dimmest light but contrasts against its deep leather band. The leather on it feels great. But before you get too excited, it is faux.

You’re looking at a large watch. Its case stretches 1.77 inches (45 mm) across. Its band is thick too.

Its dial is eye-catching. To begin with, you’re met with a cut-out that shows you gold gears. Its display is pitch-black, so the contrast is sharp. We don’t know if gold was plated on, but it makes them look expensive.

That being said, the watch isn’t the easiest to read. You’ll be using its awkwardly placed markers. There’s no lume to them. They will be hard to read in the dark. Thankfully, you’re getting a bit of pigment on its hands. Is it bright? Not really- it does okay.

The GMT996-6 is water-resistant. There’s no word of specific water resistance. Many have said that it’s resistant enough to handle hand washes. This means it should be ok for up to 100 feet (30 meters).

The timepiece is mechanical. The crown to self-wind it is very easy to grip. We also like the way it looks – it’s jewel-like. The manufacturer warns that winding it over 20 times will damage its gears. To watch its gears in motion, you can also peak through its skeleton back. We think its front provides a better show.

What makes it special:

Gold gears

The Best Looking

3. Carlien Men’s Skeleton Watch FSG8160

Carlien did a good job with its design. It rocks a classic Swiss exterior. If you didn’t know, watches from the country cost an arm and a leg. They come with expert craftsmanship too, so people would think you purchased a watch that can last the test of time.

It’s made from quality stainless steel. It can handle a beating. It also has a sapphire window. If you remember, the glass is the toughest around. It rocks a leather strap. We don’t know if it’s real or not, though. That being said, its band is comfortable.

Its gold and brown colourway is very pocket-watch like. The shape of its case does the trick too. Its dial is fully exposed, there isn’t a small cut out.

There is a sleek gold outer ring that has markers for the hours passed. To be honest, it isn’t the easiest to read – the black from the markers does not contrast against the gold well.

Something that does contrast well is its hands, they are a bright blue. We love that you get luminous pigment in them. The thing is, its pigment is not very bright. You’ll have to regularly charge it (expose it to light sources). It’s not like LumiBrite or Luminova.

Did we mention that it is water-resistant? It can handle 100 feet (30 meters) underwater. Although its strap might not be real leather, you shouldn’t get it wet. It’s still a fabric, so it’ll soak up water like its life depends on it. As it’s only resistant up to 100 feet (30 meters), it can handle brief splashes.

Its dial is wide, which is great. However, its case is not that big. It is only 1.57 inches (40 mm). You wouldn’t guess this when you first look at it.

What makes it special:

It is very Swiss-like

4. Invicta Men’s 1090 Russian Diver Rose

The device is huge. Its case is over 1.96 inches (50 mm). As it’s so big, it’s no surprise that it has a bit of heft to it. This isn’t a bad thing. The more weight present, the more premium it will feel.

We’re fans of its colourway. It’s a mix of rose-gold and charcoal-black. Yes, the watch is for men, but its design adds a feminine touch.

Most of the black is in its strap. It’s not stainless steel, it is rubber. The device can handle considerable depths in the pool, so such a strap is what you want – the material is very waterproof. But as you can imagine, rubber doesn’t help it look premium. It also doesn’t feel that great on your wrist.

Although called the Russian Diver, you can’t dive with it. Its resistance rating is only 165 feet (50 meters). Invicta says that you can swim with it, though.

There are no numerals on its dial. Pretty much the entirety of its face is exposed; you’ll see oval markers on the very side.

Something that will catch your attention when you look at it is its crown. It’s enormous and comes with chains.

Like its front, you’re getting an exposed back. This is great as the timepiece is mechanical – there’s a myriad of gears to look at. We’re fonder of mechanical watches than automatic ones as you don’t always have to have them on your wrist.

The glass on its front is sapphire, so good luck trying to scratch it. This is especially true as there is an extra scratch-resistant layer to it. You’ll also find its body hard to scratch. Invicta says that it’s made from surgical grade stainless steel.

What makes it special:

The chains on its crown.

5. Gosasa Delicate Skeleton Watch BD hei

We think the Gosasa watch is one of the best-looking entries on our list. We think it looks very expensive. This is funny as it’s one of the cheaper watches so far.

It’s also one of the smaller ones we’ve reviewed. Its case is only 1.61 inches (41 mm). It’s got a bit of heft to it, which makes it feel premium.

The device isn’t fully made from stainless steel. Its case is alloyed, which is resistant. Due to the material, its face looks shiny.

It comes with a mineral window. As you know, the glass is not the toughest out there. However, Gosasa says that the one on the BD hei is extra scratch-resistant.

It is an automatic device. We sadly don’t know much about its movement. If it’s any consolation, you get an exposed back as well as a skeleton dial to watch its gears move.

As you can guess, we’re fans of its blue, gold, and silver body. If you’re not, know that the timepiece comes in multiple designs. Its black and gold version looks good too.

Its dial is luminous. But its lume isn’t anything to write home about. Like most of our entries, it can also only handle 100 feet (30 meters) underwater.

Gosasa says that there are diamonds on its front. We don’t believe them as you’re looking at a budget Chinese brand. They look real, though. You’ll fool your friends.

What makes it special:

The “diamonds” on its display.

Our Outdoor’s Pick

6. Benyar Chronograph Men’s Watch 5112

The Benyar 5112 looks rugged. This is mainly due to its strap, you’re met with khaki leather. Before you get too excited, know that its leather is faux. It doesn’t feel that great on your wrist either.

There are rectangular markers throughout its dial. They host lume, helping you read the time when it’s night. We’re happy to say that the luminous pigment is on its hands too. Like its counterparts, we don’t know the name of the specific lume used. It’s not very bright either.

The skeleton watch is not that water-resistant. It can only handle 100 feet (30 meters) underwater. Its strap soaks up liquids like a sponge, so avoiding the pool is ideal. It doesn’t come with the most durable window either. It’s just mineral. But Benyar says that it’s extra scratch-resistant.

You’re met with chronographs. They are the three sub-dials on it. Considering that the 5112 also comes with an exposed front, you’re getting an eye-catching display. The chronographs on it read the minutes, seconds and hours passed. You’ll be working them with the pushers on its side.

Its face is big. It stretches 1.81 inches (46 mm) across. If you have smaller hands, it’ll look awkward on you. However, you’ll still be able to wear it.

The company loves stamping its logo on straps. We think it makes them look more intriguing.

If you’re wondering about its movement, know that you’re looking at a quartz watch. For a skeleton watch, quartz mechanisms aren’t the best – the don’t come with the most gears. That’s why the timepiece is on the lower end of our list.

What makes it special:

It’s a sporty-looking watch

7. Invicta Women’s Objet d'Art 22655

We love the way the watch feels on wrists. It doesn’t come with a strap we see that often. It’s made from satin. Not only is the material super comfortable, but it just screams luxury. The colour of its band makes it look rich too, it’s a pearl-white while the timepiece has rose-gold throughout. Its skeleton dial is the cherry on top.

You get a couple of Arabic numerals on its dial. In between them are rectangular markers. If you’re expecting lume, know that there’s none. Luminous pigment isn’t on its hands either.

Being a women’s watch, it’s not surprising that the 22655 is small. Its case stretches 1.45 inches (37 mm) across. It’s small, but it’s not too petite – it is great for ladies with larger wrists.

It can’t handle that much water. But it’s more water-resistant than the entry above. It can handle 165 feet (50 meters). It’s not very water-proof, though. Its satin band will soak up water in the blink of an eye. Thankfully, its quality stainless steel case is super water-proof. If we didn’t mention it earlier, the rose gold on its steel was plated on. The manufacturer says that it’s 18 K.

The timepiece is an automatic, self-winding device. If you flip it over, you’ll see an exposed back.

We’re happy to say that you get sapphire on its dial. The crystal is the toughest around, as you know.

What makes it special:

Its satin strap

8. Fossil Relic ZR12110

The device is fully black; it looks ultra-chic. What’s cool about its exterior is that it’s matte. It makes it look modern, which anyone would appreciate. The black on it was plated, so it’s not going to chip. The watch’s bracelet is steel. It’s kind of thick – you know how we feel about hefty bands.

The ZR12110 isn’t that big. Its case stretches 1.65 inches (42 mm) across. The size is the best in our opinion. It’s not too big or small.

Speaking of its face, you get a large skeleton cut-out. The majority of its hour markers are rectangles. The 12 and 6 o'clock markers are the only ones in Arabic numerals. No, you’re not getting any lume in them. However, there is luminous pigment on its hands. Is it bright? Yes, however, you won’t be able to easily read it in dark settings.

Being made from quality stainless steel, you’re looking at a very waterproof watch. This is great as the ZR12110 can handle 165 feet (50 meters) underwater. Fossil says that recreational swimming is possible, just don’t get too crazy with it. It was designed to handle a couple of splashes primarily.

If you’re wondering what the glass on its dial is, you’re met with mineral – you already know how we feel about it.

The timepiece comes with a mechanical movement. Unfortunately, we don’t know its exact name. But it’s smooth. It comes with many gears, which is great as you get a wide skeleton display. We love that its back is exposed too.

In terms of its clasp, you’re met with a deployant one. Also known as deployment clasps, they’re secure. However, they can be a pain to work. Like most watches, the Fossil device lets you swap its clasp out. We would replace it with a push-button variant. It works exactly as its name suggests.

What makes it special:

Its matte black exterior.

9. Orphun RSSHLSkone5146Blue

The watch’s colourway is really good. It’s blue and rose-gold adds a feminine touch. Yes, the gold on it was plated on. Unfortunately, we don’t know how many karats it is. If we had to guess, we shouldn’t say that many as the device is quite affordable.

You might find it hard to read. There is an outer ring with the minutes in an hour. They’re printed on rather small. Its dial is petite, so you’re not getting much space to begin with. Although reading the time is hard, the watch looks really good – its dial is completely see-through. It takes the term ‘skeleton’ dial literally as you get a skull plastered on.

The strap on it is silicone. Like rubber, having a lot of it on your wrist is not fun. That’s why it’s great that the timepiece doesn’t have a chunky band. The device does have a tang buckle, though. The clasp is a pain to work.

In terms of the crystal on its dial, you’re met with Hardlex. The glass is tougher than mineral but it’s still not as good as sapphire. What’s cool is that Hardlex was made by Seiko – they produce affordable watches,  but they’re more pricey than the entries on our list.

The watch is stunning. You might’ve figured out that it’s not very water-resistant. Like the majority of our other entries, it can only handle 100 feet (30 meters) underwater. As its strap is silicone and its body is stainless steel, it’s pretty waterproof. Not only will water be kept off, but so will other muck – you don’t have to worry about getting your good-looking watch dirty.

The RSSHLSkone5146Blue is not automatic. As you know, watches with gears work the best for skeleton dials. The timepiece has a Japanese quartz movement. Like most of its brothers, we, unfortunately, have no idea what its specific movement is. But we know that it’s smooth.

Although we’re fans of the gold and blue, the device comes in many other colours. You can pick it up in a gorgeous diamond and black. Each colour rocks a different design. There’s a red variant that would catch your eye from a mile away.

What makes it special:

Has a skull on its dial.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know what the best cheap skeleton watch is, which of them will you be picking up? The Stuhrling 371Z.03 deserved our number 1 spot. Not only did it come with a beautiful skeleton body, but it rocked a sun and moon indicator, as well as a sub-dial to read you the time in a different time zone.

All of our entries are super affordable, so you’ll be purchasing good-looking devices that won’t hurt your wallet. Some of the best skeleton pieces are automatic/mechanical due to the number of gears they have.

If you’d like to find more good-looking pieces, be sure to check our Facebook out! We regularly update it with all kinds of posts and reviews.

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