Editor’s Note: A few years back I got on my high horse about my arms. Specifically the fact that because of their impressive (some would say excessive) follicular nature, there is a genre of watch that I can never truly enjoy, that of the fully skeletonised timepiece. To say that my original post was widely read by the industry is perhaps a bit of an overstatement, but it’s certainly true that some brands, like Arnold & Son, are offering prettily scalloped solid casebacks or smoky sapphire alternatives to reduce the impact of unsightly hirsuite-ness. I like to think I’ve played a part in that progress.
Dear Swiss watch industry,
We need to talk about skeletonised watches. There’s a problem. I get why you’re making them, honestly. They’re a great way to show off your skills, your impressive in-house capacity and clever movement architecture. And there’s no better way to house a tourbillon cage than by encasing it in nothing but sapphire. This all makes sense to me.
But the naked truth, at least for a good proportion of men out there, is that these watches look ridiculous. No, I don’t mean the timepieces on their own. I mean, they look ridiculous on me.
Case in point: Have a good long look, as long as you can stand, at this picture of the Rotonde De Cartier Mysterious Hours. (By the way I’m not calling Cartier out especially here, and I know it’s not a skeleton watch per se, but it’s an excellent example). These watches look great on the screen and they look amazing in photos. In short, they’re sexy looking watches. Until you put one on your wrist.
Now, I wouldn’t say my arms are exceptionally hairy, but the hair is definitely there. Sure, some guys (and many gals) of fairer complexion or lighter arm foliage might not have this problem, but even as a man of average arm covering, the issue genuinely stands in the way of me ever being able to pull off a seriously skeletonised piece in real life, no matter how nice it looks in pictures.
Forgive me for getting a little graphic here, but the clean lines and airy cathedral-like structures of your high-end skeletonised masterpieces are ruined by the appearance of a fine cobweb of wiry hairs mashed between my wrist and the sapphire caseback. And the situation only gets worse if it’s a hot day and you get a little sweaty.
What’s the wrist equivalent of a Brazilian? Actually forget it. I draw the line at shaving my wrist in the name of fashion. Plus does that mean I have to shave my whole arm? And then my torso? That way lies madness.
I’d honestly like to know, as watchmakers do you consider this in the design process? Did it come up in a focus group? Can you suggest any solutions to the hirsute millionaire with a burning desire for a Roger Dubuis Excalibur Skeleton Flying Double Tourbillon?
Or are hairy-wristed men not an important market for these watches?
Sincerely, and on behalf of hairy-wristed men everywhere,