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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have tried to educate myself about some of the basics, but I am still a newbie with watches, so please bear with me. :D I am hoping to find an affordable skeleton watch that isn't going to be complete junk, which I know is a tall order for <$200. I know I'll most likely have to accept a chinese mechanism at this price-point, but I am hoping to find a brand/model that is at least somewhat reliable and won't break if I look at it wrong. I need something to wear for a year or two, and then I can upgrade to a better watch (shooting for $1000-$2000). I'd really like to avoid a Mushroom Brand, but if there are no decent options at this price-point, I'll probably just buy a junker $25 and save up for a better watch.

So far I have found the following watches who's design I like, though I'm not sure about the quality of the build.


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Sea-Gull M182SK (found @ $135, not sure if seller is reputable)
It seems to have a decent reputation, but I thought I'd ask in comparison to my other options.

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Stuhrling Original 107.33151 Delphi (found $115 @Amazon)

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Kenneth Cole KC1514 (found $73 @Amazon)

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Kenneth Cole KC1631 (found $88 @Amazon)

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Aeromatic 1912 Semi-Skeleton Watch ($159 @Amazon). I really like this look, but I'm concerned about the brand quality.

I also poked around Orient's options. I know they have a semi-skeleton that isn't bad, I think I saw a thread on here where they can be had for $165-$195. I like the look of the above watches better, but I've heard Orient makes a decent watch.

Any of these worthwhile? Other recommendations?
 

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I was in your shoes recently, my brother got me an Akribos XXIV skeleton mechanical for christmas (not automatic, hand wind). It stopped when the watch was in random positions and started again like 20 min later. I returned it and finally decided to get a non-skeleton. Before/after I came to that decision, I came across some semi skeletons that you may be interested in. Although these are over your price range, I highly recommend them before anything else, if you want an accurate watch.

This Citizen is beautiful and has sapphire glass (most scratch resistant). I recently made a thread about it on here and other members posted their pics of this watch with custom straps. I highly recommend this watch if you like the looks of it: Citizen Automatic NP1000-04E NP1000 Sapphire Mechanical Men's Watch

Bulova has many other semi skeletons (do some searches and find one you like). They use the same japanese movement as the Citizen above: Bulova 96A109 Watch Mechanical BVA Series Mens - White Dial - Authentic Watch Store

I hope this helps.
 

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I would go with the Stuhrling Prospero. I own a blue one. It looks great. Mine doesn't get worn as much as my other watches, because it was one of the first watches I owned and I own much more now.
 

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I would have no hesitation buying the Sea-Gull, based on my experience with the brand. Here's another one to consider, much cheaper in every way than the Sea-Gull, it's an Orion, a Russian/Chinese mix that's surprisingly accurate:

 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I highly recommend this watch if you like the looks of it: Citizen Automatic NP1000-04E NP1000 Sapphire Mechanical Men's Watch

Bulova has many other semi skeletons (do some searches and find one you like). They use the same japanese movement as the Citizen above: Bulova 96A109 Watch Mechanical BVA Series Mens - White Dial - Authentic Watch Store
Thanks! I like the classic look of the Citizen (I own an Eco Drive...forget the model #). I looked at a few semi-skeleton, but I'll probably stick with a full skeleton, though the Citizen & Bulova are both very nice watches. I am surprised that Citizen offers sapphire glass at this price-point, I think the only other brand I've seen that does that is Orient.
 

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Oh yeah there's a couple orient semi skeletons with sapphire for like $220 or something. Yeah, I didn't think I could get a good enough quality (to satisfy me) full skeleton for this price and didn't think semi skeletons are that much better, so I just settled for a normal titanium sapphire Citizen.
 

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hmm the bulova I posted is practically full skeleton. too expensive for what it provides?
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
hmm the bulova I posted is practically full skeleton. too expensive for what it provides?
I had a good experience with Bulova (~10 yr ago), though that is more than I want to spend for what is going to be a "gap" watch for me.

ps. Thank you sheppardw & sodiac for your recs!
 

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You could find this Lucien Piccard skeleton for under $200. Most likely around $100 IIRC. Mine has worked well for over a year so far. It also happens to be my wifes favorite in my collection.
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...It also happens to be my wifes favorite in my collection.
Funny you should say that, as this Akribos Saturnos is one that my wife likes alot, and I'm so-so about it. It's a good watch overall. PTS Hangzhou movement is the same as some in the OP's first post. Really, most of these watches are using Chinese movements (Bulova excepted, using Miyota). It's a good movement if the company does its quality control. Of those that the OP showed, the Sea-Gull would stand ahead of the others. The Stuhrling is much like this Akribos - same company, same movement. Nothing wrong with it if you like the look.

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Under $200? That's a tough order today...but I would NEVER recommend Akribos or Stuhrling. Some people seem to have luck with them, but for the most part, they're the lowest grade of Chinese junk. Many of the funny sounding kind-of-Swiss-kind-of-not brand name skeletons are the same bottom of the bucket Chinese junk. Bulova might be using contractor movements in their skeletons as well.

Quite frankly, in this price range, there is only one answer: Sea Gull.

Yes, they're still Chinese, but their quality control is outstanding compared to their competitors. You may still get a dud, but I know you'll receive better service and a better chance of getting a decent watch. Don't even explore Akribos, Stuhrling, or any of the faux-Swiss brands.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Thank you for the comment, it mirrors much of what I've read. I think I'm either going to go with the Sea-gull or just save up for a better quality watch. Or maybe an Orient...I like a couple in the "Racer" line (not skeleton).
 

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I got myself a €13 skeleton off DealExtreme just to see if it would actually arrive and even though I have other watches that I would rather wear I know it works and works pretty well. So Chinese junk actually works. Well the strap is crappy and the crown is pretty stiff.

It'll be the first watch to get destroyed if I ever want to open one up.
 

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What about the Swatch skeleton auto? <$130 at Amazon, Swiss ETA movement.
 

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im a little late to this convo, but i actually own the Kenneth Cole posted by the OP. got it on a cruise along with another kenneth Cole. Had them both a couple years, both keep time perfect and are great for when im heading out somewhere where i dont want to wear one of my nicer watches.
 
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