While the dial and caseback generally envelop the movement of a mechanical watch, watchmakers increasingly are using exhibition casebacks made of sapphire crystal to display the timepiece’s inner workings. In addition to showing off the complex mechanical nature of fine watches, exposed movements grant watchmakers the opportunity to decorate everything from the rotor to the baseplates.
In keeping with this trend, the relatively new watchmaker BRM offers a stylized watch with chronograph movement based on its reliable Valjoux 7753, with a case so transparent that even the workings of the three subdials are visible. The BRM V14-44 Racing Limited Edition ($15,500) will number only 100 pieces total—50 each with either red or yellow hands.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph ($16,700 in steel) revels in its caliber 3120 automatic movement; its exhibition caseback allows you to see the finished movement and marvel at the piece’s inner workings.
Zenith is another company leading the way with its innovative Open series, which gives wearers a view of the famous El Primero movement turning at 36,000 beats an hour. The Grande Chronomaster XXT Open retails for $8,300 in steel.
Interest in these fine timepieces are a sign that watch manufacturers will continue exposing the beauty of their movements to the light of day.