Skeletonized watches will always be a source of debate. Their detractors will always emphasize their difficult reading and the possibility that the transparency allows the back of a hairy wrist to be seen (yuk!). I have no objection to that point, but I must say that a watch skeletonized in the right way will not have this liability and, moreover, will show that its wearer likes and recognizes the values of watch mechanics and architecture.

The Claude Meylan LAC can be a good option to get to know the watchmaking art of streamlined and open architecture. Claude Meylan, the petite maison of L’Abbaye, right in the Valley of Joux, specializes in the creation of watches with skeletonized mechanics. His tagline, “Sculpteur du temps”, describes well the mission and art of the firm, whose origins date back to the 18th century

The LAC by Claude Meylan

The design of the LAC is quite technical, unlike other more organic skeletons that include mostly curved shapes. The face of this LAC is composed by straight and thin bridges that create numerous angles and geometric shapes in a brilliant asymmetrical display. Since there are so many straight elements and edges, it is essential to finish them with extreme care, since any imperfection would be more evident than in a conventional skeleton with curved lines, where “errors” are more easily disguised. In this variant of the LAC, the anthracite-colored brushed bridges create various polygons through which the functional parts of the watch can be appreciated.

The basic movement of the LAC is a hand-wound ETA 6497-1, an old and well-known workhorse that gives life to countless mechanical watches. In the LAC, the caliber has been severely reinvented to give it its sophisticated final appearance, which fits perfectly into the 42 mm case, saturating every fraction of the housing and allowing the watch’s performance and precise appearance to be appreciated from both sides. Usually, in watches running on the 6497, a small register for the running seconds makes its appearance at 9 o’clock, but there’s no seconds hand here. Instead, Claude Meylan preferred to show the vitality of the LAC via the palpitation of its very large and very visible balance wheel.

The LAC by Claude Meylan

You will see, then, that this LAC by Claude Meylan not only fulfills its mission of giving the time, but also brings to your wrist a little of the art of the Valley of Joux that for three centuries has inspired some of the greatest watch houses and creators. A skeletonized watch is not for everyone, but it absolutely is for those who truly appreciate watchmaking at its very essence.