Watch Talk

Open-Heart Watches?


For watch collectors, a major incentive to buy mechanical watches is the engineering and mechanical work required to power the movement.  Unfortunately, many watches lose the visual appeal by not providing an exhibition caseback or any means to see the movement.  In these cases if the second hand weren’t sweeping, it would be difficult to know if the watch was mechanical or quartz.  Open-heart watches solve this problem.  These pieces offer the wearer a glimpse of the working movement through an opening on the dial.  Usually, it features the balance wheel working, which gives the impression of a beating heart.  This results in a very visually pleasing sight.  Contrary to the common belief, many open-heart watches are quite affordable and can be had in just about any budget.

Note: We usually recommend both quartz and mechanical pieces.  However, the nature of open-heart watches makes our recommendations exclusively mechanical.


Hamilton Jazzmaster Open-Heart

  • Price: $600

  • Movement: Automatic

  • Size: 40mm

  • Lug Width: 20mm

We’re starting off Swiss.  Hamilton’s history, heritage, quality, and reputation are hard to match. In any style, you’ll have a difficulty time finding a watch with the Hamilton name on the dial that isn’t great value and visually stunning.

This Jazzmaster is available in a variety of dial designs that all feature that great open-heart design.


Orient Goldeneye

  • Price: $200

  • Movement: Automatic

  • Size: 38mm

  • Lug Width: 20mm

The Goldeneye open-heart design is more subtle and focused.  Combined with the small case size, it allows for a casual design that can be dressed up, if needed. Complimenting the displayed balance wheel, the Goldeneye features a small opening where the stem is visible.  As with any Orient, you know you’re getting an unbeatable value.

This is available in white, grey and brown.


Bulova 63A103

  • Price: $200

  • Movement: Automatic

  • Size: 41mm

  • Lug Width: 20mm

The design of this Bulova is bold and confident.  It features the open-heart complication inside the legendary Bulova tuning fork logo.  What is often seen as a subtle and and understated complication, Bulova manages to attract the attention and focus of this design to the open-heart located at the 12 o’clock position.


Open-heart complications find a great balanced between clean dials and skeleton watches.  They allow wearer to appreciate the work their wristwatch is doing, something often forgotten.   Ultimately, they showcase the marvelous engineering of a mechanical watch, and everything else aside, isn’t this why we love this hobby?


-Affordable Wrist Time

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