The small Swiss watchmaker that is mostly known for its skeletonized timepieces will soon introduce its new creation: the open-worked Claude Meylan Eclipse Skeleton (ref. 6044N).
As the name implies, the Claude Meylan Eclipse Skeleton is presented in a glossy jet-black PVD treated stainless steel case.
While a similarly decorated version in polished steel case looks a bit toy-like with its hair-thin bridges and almost completely visible gears and pinions, this one sports a lot more menacing appearance.
The shape of the mildly oversized body looks a bit too ordinary, even generic to my taste. However, I have an impression that this is actually for the better: there are not so many collectors in this world ready to pay close to four Grands for a timepiece made by a rather obscure brand. I mean, it looks really nice, but you should take into account resale value of this object and I have an impression that you are going to lose a lot of money when the time comes to move this thing in order to free up space for something even more exciting.
In this regard, the shape of the 43-millimeter case and a precisely calculated shape of the setting crown greatly expand the number of people who will not just like the piece visually, but may also find it more attractive when it comes to wearing comfort.
The hand-wound Unitas 6497 movement is also extensively skeletonized and sports a matte-black ruthenium finish. Only some parts of the gear-train and the spring barrel come in their “natural” color of steel and brass.
The “historic” NOS movement looks especially lovely thanks to the meticulous hand engraving of the solid parts.
Normally, open-worked timekeepers that are sold in this price range feature a lot more mundane engraving techniques that clearly look like they were designed on a computer and performed by laser or some CNC equipment. I am not sure how this one was made, but it clearly makes an impression that it was performed by hand, and that’s the most important part.
Frankly, I don’t know how this sort of extensive skeletonization will affect structural rigidity of the mechanism, but it surely looks extremely attractive.
It is also a pleasure to see that the watch is going to be quite legible — a quality that most open-worked timekeepers usually lack. The legibility comes courtesy of the leaf-shaped hands made in steel that look contrast enough on the black background of the movement to be always visible in normal lighting conditions.
I think that it is really a shame that somebody at Claude Meylan responsible for the design of the production version didn’t consider (or did consider, but refused to give the go-ahead to) covering the hands with Superluminova or some other luminous compound. While adding the lume wouldn’t make the Eclipse Skeleton any less attractive, it would probably make it look even cooler (and also easier to read) at night.
The dial of the watch is fully transparent (I suspect that Claude Meylan used some kind of crystal to further protect the movement) and lacks any kind of hour markers or numerals. However, it doesn’t seem to be a problem since this particular watch is mostly a piece of expensive jewelry, not a high-precision time-measuring gadget.
See also: Audemars Piguet Openworked Self-Winding Royal Oak (refs. 15305ST.OO.1220ST.01 & 15305OR.O0.D088CR.01
Photos: Claude Meylan
Claude Meylan Eclipse Skeleton (ref. 6044N) specification
Movement: Hand-wound, caliber Unitas 6497, 17 jewels, 18,000 vph, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Hand-engraved, skeletonized
Functions: Hours, minutes
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 43.00 mm
Hands: Steel, leaf-shaped
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black leather