On a recent visit with Tissot, I saw their Baselworld 2014 novelties, all of which didn’t receive a ton of press attention. One of their new releases is a close relative to a watch we reviewed in the past, the Tissot T-Complication Squelette. Although the Squelette is a bit oversized and features a sparsely decorated hand-wound Unitas 6497, it’s still one of the more accessible skeleton watches out there and one of the brand’s best-selling watches. The new Chemin de Tourelles Skeleton, however, is a slightly more elegant addition to the collection that bests its big brother in wrist presence and finishing.
First, the gold-plated case is friendlier to smaller wrists. If the Squelette clocked in at 43mm, this new Skeleton is 1mm smaller and is even a tad slimmer than the 12mm stainless steel case. The crown is less pronounced. All of this adds up to a more modest wrist presence, but it’s still a sizable watch due to what inside the case. Inside is still a Unitas 6497 base caliber, but it’s open worked so uniquely from the Squelette that it makes for a completely different watch.
The movement and its finishing (and thus the dial), is nothing like the original steampunk-inspired Squelette. If the stainless version celebrated the raw mechanics of horology through limited finishing and open-working the top plate of the movement into a turbine-like shape, then the new gold Chemin des Tourelles takes a sharp turn toward romanticism with the plating’s smooth curves and heavy perlage. Legibility is about as good as it gets given the movement is fully exposed. Gunmetal baton hands are on display instead of the blue skeleton hands, and this new model has Roman indices and a full chapter ring for the seconds subdial for measuring time more precisely.
This new Chemin des Tourelles Skeleton comes on a brown alligator strap and deployant buckle. Another stainless steel model is available in a black-and-blue colorway more similar to the Squelette with a black alligator strap and deployant buckle. Retail pricing is not final but expected to fall at about $2,250. You’ll see this at authorized dealers and Hour Passion boutiques in September of this year.