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7 Watches with Visible Gears: Hidden Gem in the Casebacks
There’s always a reason why a watch enthusiast becomes a watch enthusiast. Some are impressed by the histories behind the watches, the others are mad about the little details on their timepieces, and there are also people, like me, who thirst for the designs. For me, it has always been watches with visible gears.
A watch design which allows me to see the moving gear move another gear and make all the gears rotate to power the watch is lovely. This kind of art is really satisfying and enjoyable. It exposes the very details of the inner parts, including the bridge, jewels, springs, and others.
There are two kinds of watches with visible gears, skeleton-dial watches and open caseback watches. But, I prefer the open case back because, sometimes, a skeleton dial tends to be busy to look at.
Little story to tell. The open case-back watches didn’t exist until the 1860s. It was started by pocket watches with popping casebacks that allowed the wearer to open it and see the movement. This case was commonly called an exhibition back. Because of that, the watchmakers began decorating the movement to give the pocket watch owners more reasons to admire their pieces.
Now is the show time. You can enjoy some attractions through the watches with visible gears on your wrist. We’ve collected our most favorite open case-back watches for your daily wear.
Glycine Combat SUB 42 Sports Bronze GMT Brown Ref. GL0316
The first on the list of our favourite watches with visible gears is Combat SUB 42 Sports Bronze GMT Brown Ref. GL0316. This latest arrival is a vintage eye for the modern guy with a focus on bronze case, two tones bi-directional bezel, and GMT function.
As many of you watch enthusiasts already know, bronze is the oldest tin alloy in watch manufacturing and considered a major classic from the rest. While the front case exhibits bronze with brush finishing, the open case-back is doing fine with stainless steel. The open case-back gives you a chance to glimpse the mechanical work of the balance wheel, jewels, and other.
Movement: Swiss automatic movement SW330
Mido Multifort Patrimony Chronograph White Ref. M040.427.36.262.00
Most watch aficionados know Mido for its architecturally-inspired designs and production, Multifort Patrimony Chronograph White Ref. M040.427.36.262.00 is the perfect example of it.
Integrating a modern aesthetic design with a vintage-inspired chronograph design is not easy, but Mido nailed it. It is looking very fine in a 42mm wide rose gold PVD coating stainless steel case while providing you a stopwatch complication, lumed indices by BGW9 SuperLuminova, a longer power reserve of 60 hours, and a see-through case-back that is decorated with perlage, blued screws and pink jewels.
Movement: ETA A05.H31 based Swiss Automatic Mido Caliber 60.
Aristo Navigator 3H59A - Sapphire
Navigator 3H59A - Sapphire is one of the most recommended timepieces crafted by German watchmaker Aristo. This is the best option for you who seek an aviation watch that exhibits an open case-back.
If you have been in this watch world for a long time, you may notice that the entire design of this bad boy is inspired by German military watches from the 60s which focus mainly on the high legibility and its basic type B dial.
The screw down caseback comes in fine sandblasted and a sapphire crystal, that is specifically made for Gnomon Watches, to allow the wearer see and admire the dancing movement.
Movement: ETA 2824-2/SW 200
Hamilton Ventura Elvis80 Blackout Automatic Ref. H24585331
Hamilton is the official timepiece supplier of the US Armed Forces. They produced the world's first electrical battery operated watch in 1957. Since then, they keep producing astonishing pieces such as watches with visible gears.
One greatest example of it is Ventura Elvis80 Blackout Automatic Ref. H24585331. While other timepieces out there usually offer a symmetrical watch face, this brand took a step forward by introducing an asymmetrical triangle case which is widely known as a boomerang case, the Elvis, or Men in Black’s watch.
Through the exhibition caseback, you can see the stunning movement decorations from the engraving of the brand logo on the brushed steel rotor, jewels, to gears. This Swiss-made wristwatch is a true Hamiton’s heritage complete with sapphire crystal, stainless steel case with PVD coating, rubber strap, and lumed indices. You’ll get all eyes on you once you wear Ventura.
Movement: Caliber H-10 automatic movement with modification of the ETA caliber C07.611.
Steinhart Ocean 1 GMT Black DLC
Classy GMT watches usually cost a lot at most watch stores. However, you don’t have to waste a thousand for an avant-garde timepiece. This Ocean 1 GMT Black DLC comes from Steinhart, another German watch brand with a good reputation for the finest timekeeper although it is still new in the watchmarket.
Ocean 1 is the most popular collection produced by Steinhart and loved by many watch enthusiasts. The standout features include a stainless steel 316L case which has been brushed and coated with DLC, black ceramic bezel, GMT complication, and of course the open case-back that lets you see how the GMT engine works.
The sporty exclusiveness of this Ocean 1 GMT is spread to all edges, the caseback not exempt. Unlike the other watches that showcase their colorful movement decoration, this timepiece plays the game well with its monochrome color, let alone the black rotor and the Steinhart logo in the center of it.
Movement: Swiss Made Sellita SW330 Elaboré automatic movement
Seiko 5 Sports “Sports Style” Lo-Light Ref. SBSA023
Since watches with visible gears are our main focus, I cannot make the list without Seiko 5 on it. Seiko 5 is one of the most reliable watches on the watchmarket for its price point. The “5” actually stands for automatic winding, water resistance, a day/date display, a recessed crown at 4 o’clock position, and a durable case.
Take a look at Seiko 5 Sports “Sports Style” Lo-Light Ref. SBSA023. Lo-Light is the SKX’s re-issue, one of the most popular dive watches in the world produced by Seiko. It features an olive nylon NATO strap, hardlex crystal, aluminium bezel, stainless steel case done in full greyish gunmetal finishing, and an exhibition case that reveals the bridge plate.
Movement: Caliber 4R36
Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage Automatic - Ltd Ed 1883pcs Ref. AL-525BBG4SH6
Many watch fanatics don’t buy a wristwatch to tell the time anymore, but to appreciate the craftsmanship that is located at the heart of the watch. I do both. I still cherish my time-teller as a time-teller and art. That’s why I chose a watch with a display back.
The caseback of Startimer Pilot Heritage Automatic - Ltd Ed 1883pcs Ref. AL-525BBG4SH6 made by Swiss brand Alpina is really entertaining. This model boasts a solid cover hinged caseback that is reminiscent of vintage pocket watches in the old days. With only 1883 pieces available, you can enjoy its polished stainless steel 3-parts case, convex sapphire crystal, and dark brown calf leather strap with off-white stitching. These all come in vintage.
Movement: Alpina AL-525 automatic caliber