In last year's watch shows in Basel and Geneva, timepiece makers were particularly excited about the creation of more skeletons—not bones, but watches.
The skeleton watch usually comes with front and back opened to expose the movement, whether it be a simple mechanical caliper or a complex flying tourbillon. Historically, skeletons have been rendered as dress watches that emphasize elegance and showcase design—more museum or cocktail conversation pieces than watches you'd wear on a day-to-day basis.
The current crop, however, introduces a number of sports watch skeletons that are much more versatile, solid and practical. One of the best in functionality, style and coolness is the Hublot Aero Bang.
The Aero Bang resembles the limited-edition black-on-black Big Bang introduced a couple of years ago. It's made from many of the same high-tech, ultra-industrial materials, including tungsten, satin-finished steel, titanium, ceramic and black PVD, as well as rubber, a list that sounds more like the components of sports cars or race bikes than watches. Or maybe it's the latest in Nascar or Formula 1. In any case, it's part of what Hublot calls its Visionary Art of 21st Century Watchmaking.
The good thing about the Aero Bang is that it's not just a bold, hip fashion statement. You can actually tell time with it more easily because the skeleton design gives the watch more depth and contrast to the eye. It's also a more complex watch than the earlier Big Bangs, with a mechanical chronograph movement with automatic winding and a Hublot HUB44 SQ caliber. The power reserve is 42 hours.
The Aero Bang comes in three versions: All Black ($18,900, 500 pieces), Tungsten ($19,900, 900 pieces) and Gold Ceramic ($25,900, 500 pieces).