What is a Steampunk mechanical skeleton pocket watch? The Comprehensive Guide 2021

What is a Steampunk mechanical skeleton pocket watch?

It is the marriage between two very Steampunk pocket watch styles: the mechanical watch movement originally found in Victorian era pocket watches that can be hand wound and the minimal skeleton pocket watch case with windows that make a point of showing off said watch movement inside.

A Steampunk mechanical skeleton pocket watch makes an interesting and beautiful mix. It is the definite and ultimate merge between mechanical pocket watches and skeleton pocket watches, this is certainly an option that you should hear about. Here’s everything you need to know about Steampunk mechanical skeleton pocket watches:

In these articles, we talked about them individually in their separate forms:

Steampunk Mechanical Pocket watch: 

Steampunk Skeleton Pocket watch:

⦁ What is the ‘mechanical’ aspect of it?

The ‘mechanical’ part of these pocket watches refers to a particular pocket watch style that usually requires winding by the user (except if it’s automatic), and it’s the oldest sort of pocket watch since the invention of these timepieces. It was widely popular in Europe and the United States, especially during the 1800s.

This is an example of a mechanical pocket watch (Pay attention to the clockwork interior!):


⦁ But they can also look like this:

Or like this:


⦁ Note: remember not to confuse the mechanical pocket watch’s façade with a ‘modern’ looking one! This white-and-silver combination with Roman numerals is also very common in quartz pocket watches, but what differentiates one from the other one is its intrinsic mechanism! If the watch doesn’t have a window (a.k.a it’s not a ‘skeleton’ watch), you would have to open it to figure it out.

Here’s a video that teaches you how to open a mechanical pocket watch if you are interest in seeing the full movement mechanism:

This video is brought to you by thoth1977, in which they open 5 different sorts of pocket watch cases. Check it out, you’d surely be marvelled by it!

⦁ What is the ‘skeleton’ aspect of it?

The ‘skeleton’ pocket watch refers to a particular way of making pocket watches that includes the idea of showing the interiors of the watch’s intricate mechanisms hence the word skeleton referring to a bodies ‘skeleton’ protective though also reasonable revealing. Essentially, the work that watchmakers did tend to be underappreciated most of the time, and this was an original way to present the item, and a creative way to get more clients to buy the watch, too.

The ‘window’ that shows you the clockwork is also referred to as ‘heart beat window’, as a play-on-words with the ‘skeleton’ name of the style.

This is an example of a skeleton pocket watch (Pay attention to the heart beat window!):



⦁ But they can also look like this:



. Like this also!

. Or with a small ‘heart beat’ window shown here which is not as dramatic as a skeleton style but I thougt I would include it as it comes under the skeleton pocketwatch umbrella, and is beautiful in name and look.

⦁ Why do they complement each other styles when combined?



The skeleton style shows off the special mechanical watch movement perfectly. Instead of opting for a modern pocket watch, this merge will let you have a way to view the special mechanical insides of the watch, and, in some cases, you wouldn’t even need to open the pocket watch (which also depends on the sort of case you choose as well). If you are struggling while making a decision between a mechanical/vintage façade and a skeleton façade, you always have the chance to choose both!

⦁ Why you should seek out this double style instead of getting them separately?
Choosing both styles is a fantastic alternative when you feel like you are unable to pick a single one. Often, people can’t get to choose if they prefer to have a skeleton dial or a mechanical/vintage watch, and the combination of both formats can help those that are indecisive! Also – don’t worry about it being an overkill. Watches of all styles are cherished in the Steampunk community, specially if you have an attire to accompany it!

⦁ Here we illustrate our point about how good it looks with formal clothing:

⦁ Inside pockets:



⦁ Inside bags:

⦁ Or while holding it gently:

⦁ And, finally, what’s probably the most interesting point of this section of the article, this is how some cosplayers (both amateur and professionals) of the Steampunk community look like while wearing these beautiful watches in their photoshoots. They look incredibly attractive, right?

⦁ What does a mechanical pocket watch movement look like? How is it different from a ‘normal’ watch movement?

The clockwork mechanism of a pocket watch uses a mainspring, which usually needs to be winded (except if the watch has a self-winding mechanism). This means that it doesn’t have a battery, like ‘normal’ watches have.

What we usually classify as a ‘normal’ watch is technically called a quartz watch: these use an electronic oscillator that’s regulated by a quartz crystal, and that’s what these watches use to keep the track of time.

A couple of videos in Youtube can show you exactly how they work, and it would save you a lot of confusion while trying to understand them:

⦁ RDG2625’s video in their Youtube channel have a beautiful close up of a $74 US mechanical pocket watch that they bought for themselves:

⦁ Another user, Erik Ternsjö, made a beautiful and straight-to-the-point explanation about the difference between the mechanical pocket watch movement and the quartz pocket watch movement.


The video is shorter than 2 minutes, and it’s also very informative:


⦁ Is this style of a pocket watch more expensive than the simpler individual and separate mechanical, skeleton or quartz pocket watch?

Many people think that anything that’s antique is inherently more expensive. But what is ‘expensive’? If you consider the level of skill and craftmanship that you need to create one of these watches, you’d definitely comprehend better why they are priced the way they are. But, trust us, the quality that they have is really worth it.

Plus, the raw materials that are used to create them are also pretty expensive to obtain, which is another aspect to consider. But, comparatively, there are modern watches that are even more expensive than these old-time pieces. Considering that, a vintage watch seems like a pretty good deal, doesn’t it?

⦁ So, what do these Steampunk mechanical skeleton pocket watches look like?
There are plenty of watches that use this combined style. Many companies have decided to offer this double style, apart from the typical ‘mechanical-looking ones’ and the skeleton ones. Here we will show you a few examples, to help you get a better grasp of it:

⦁ Rapport’s Gold Tone Mechanical Open Face Grand Skeleton Pocket Watch:



As a first example, the mechanical pocket watch with a skeleton dial style is the combination we are talking about. You can see that the interior of the watch has a mechanical craft, and you can also appreciate it without having to break open the watch from behind. Made by Rapport, a prestigious English company that manufactures luxurious watches, you can clearly see in the picture that it’s truly a beautiful masterpiece.

⦁ TREEWETO Antique Pocket Watch Mechanical Skeleton, Half Hunter Silver Golden Case and Roman Numerals:

Treeweto has its own fair share of elegant pocket watches. This example here shows a half-hunter case (this ‘double cover’ case) with a beautiful silver coating and, obviously, the skeleton window with its mechanical interior. In this case, you’d have to open the watch to look at the window, but that’s strictly related to the sort of cover.

⦁ SIBOSUN’s Pocket Watch Skeleton Mechanical, with a Double Case Hand-Wind, plus Roman Numerals and an Antique Chain:

Sibosun has made a gorgeous pocket watch that also features a fancy double case. This time, it mixes a golden and black painting that has a huge western vibe (Remember that cowboys can also be Steampunk!). Also, notice how the skeleton window is different from the second option we showed – it’s way more intricate and complex. Please go to their catalogue’s page and check it out!

⦁ As another interesting extra, Phillip Parr in Youtube shows a video with BEAUTIFUL visuals (Up to 4K!) of the interior movement of a skeleton pocket watch with mechanical movement. We heavily recommend you to give it a try. It’s also a very brief and incredibly compelling video:

Give it some love, you will not regret it!

⦁ How are Steampunk mechanical skeleton pocket watches related to the Victorian era?

As we have mentioned before, and as we did in our previous articles, the mechanical style is mainly related to the Victorian era, when the use of these watches was heavily popularized and created. The bourgeoisie and some groups of the working class had more access to these beautiful and elegant timepieces, and those that were lucky enough to be wealthier would even inherit them as family heirlooms or buy the most stylish and rare ones. .

⦁ Here are some old daguerreotypes (Victorian era black and white pictures) of men and women showing the mechanical skeleton pocket watches proof of their birth and place in our history of the Victorian era

⦁ Historical fun fact! Look at how good this posing merchant looks. This is one of the first depictions of a mechanical pocket watch made in history, and nowadays it’s displayed at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.

To illustrate our point better, here we will show you a video by Richard Perret Watchmaker, whose channel we have mentioned in this blog before. He restores an 1890 English pocket watch, and it’s honestly a delight to watch:

⦁ A lot of collectors exsisted in the Victorian times and nowadays, this hobby still keeps a lot of enthusiasts you are not alone in wanting to admire their beauty. Here a collection of Steampunk pocket watches:

-A lot of these collections are also for sale in the modern day kept safe from the Victorian era! This gorgeous pocket watch collection was published in ‘The saleroom’, a website that hosts auctions of antiquities and art.

⦁ Do Steampunk mechanical pocket watches work as family heirlooms?
This is probably our favourite part in the whole article. Yes, as a matter of fact, all sorts of pocket watches are part of the most common family heirlooms. You can always add them to your family’s hereditable collection. And, if you don’t have one yet (we are aware that heirlooms are oftentimes expensive, especially if they are truly antique timepieces) you can start your own tradition with one of our watches!

⦁ You can also look out how wonderful they look as a gift in the two pictures below:

⦁ There’s always a plus if the pocket watch has a jewel (or if you manage to find a jeweller that adds jewels to the case), which would logically raise the value of your heirloom:



⦁ You can also engrave them before they become a family heirloom, which would also make your pocket watch extremely valuable:

⦁ Or you can find a way to change the colour of its coating by re-painting it (which can be done by a professional). This pink one case is a particular favourite of ours:


⦁ You can always engrave the initials of your significant other as well. This is a magnificent gift that anybody would appreciate. As a plus, you can also offer this timepiece as a wedding gift! You can engrave the initials of the future spouses and give them an artifact for both of them to enjoy with a very creative gift.

⦁ Finally, you can also offer them as a gift for your significant other, which is a perfect alternative to your typical ‘engagement ring’. Of course, discuss this beforehand with them! You have to make sure that they are into the Steampunk community as much as you before making such a move!


⦁ What do people say about Steampunk mechanical skeleton pocket watches?


We were searching all around the internet and found a couple of comments that were more than happy to share what they thought of their new pocket watches:

“I honestly couldn’t believe it! I thought was going to be spending way more than necessary but when I received my watch, it was all worth it! I was going to go for a mechanical one first, but part of me really wanted to try the skeleton window that didn’t even require me to open the watch to show it off. I love it!”

“I needed a watch for my Steampunk cosplay asap. The problem was that my attire was not, let’s say, very ‘top’, so I could only save it with a really cool accessory. This watch is what I have been looking for and I’m glad I bought it!”

“I was, honestly, running out of watches to buy. As a collector, I thought I had seen it all, until I bought the combination of both watches. I’m really happy about it, it was a great addition to by collection and I added it to my new shelf almost immediately”

“I never had a pocket watch before, and I’m honestly kinda shy. But I love reading about history, and I would love to have a pocket watch in my house for me to look at. I don’t know, it’d simply give me peace to be able to romanticize the idea of having an antiquity and letting me think of life in another time, at least a little bit’


These are just a couple comments, but shop sites are full of these reviews, and you are more than welcome to check them out yourself!

So, did you enjoy our article? The most important aspect of all this is that you choose the sort of watch that you like the most. If you are still not convinced about this particular combination of styles, that’s okay! You can always check the other styles that we mentioned in the first paragraphs and get whatever is more comfortable for you.

The same logic applies if you need help to modify your watch: as long as you take your time to make the decision, everything will be alright! Remember, you always have to pick what makes you happy.



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