Best Skeleton Watches Under 300: Should You Get a Budget Skeleton Watch?

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Most people think you need to have at least a budget of $1,000 to buy a skeleton watch. After all, these watches are considered as a luxury watch. Well, you don’t know about the budget options then!

There are plenty of world-renowned brands that offer exquisite skeleton watches under 300 bucks. Of course, there are watches well below the $100 mark. And, on the higher end some top-shelf skeleton watches cost above $30,000 to $50,000!

The thing is, there is a skeleton watch at every price point. After getting an impressive response with the review of the best skeleton watches under 200, I’ve decided to create three separate blogs on the matter.

This blog will guide you with the best skeleton watches under 300. In the next one I would try to do the same thing under $500 price point.

So, stay will me!  

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS  rating price
Frederique Constant Runabout FC-350RMG5B6 Stührling Original Men’s Watch, Model: 371
  • Water Resistance: 5 ATM
  • Size (Case Diameter): 46mm
10
Frederique Constant Runabout FC-350RMG5B6 Bulova Automatic, Model: 96A187
  • Water Resistance: 10 ATM
  • Size (Case Diameter): 43mm
10
Frederique Constant Runabout FC-350RMG5B6 Kenneth Cole New York Men’s, Model: KC50917003
  • Water Resistance: 3 ATM
  • Size (Case Diameter): 44mm
10
Frederique Constant Runabout FC-350RMG5B6 Fossil Men’s Townsman, Model: ME3155
  • Water Resistance: 5 ATM
  • Size (Case Diameter): 44mm
10
Frederique Constant Runabout FC-350RMG5B6 Bulova Men’s BVA-SERIES, Model: 96A135
  • Water Resistance: 3 ATM
  • Size (Case Diameter): 42mm
9.5
Frederique Constant Runabout FC-350RMG5B6 FEICE Men’s Automatic, Model: FM019
  • Water Resistance: 3 ATM
  • Size (Case Diameter): 42mm
9.5
Frederique Constant Runabout FC-350RMG5B6 Skagen Men’s Holst, Model: SKW6614
  • Water Resistance: 3 ATM
  • Size (Case Diameter): 42mm
9
Frederique Constant Runabout FC-350RMG5B6 Invicta Men’s Pro Diver Mechanical, Model: 24692
  • Water Resistance: 10 ATM
  • Size (Case Diameter): 45mm
9
Frederique Constant Runabout FC-350RMG5B6 Akribos XXIV Men’s Bravura Mechanical, Model: AKR451YG
  • Water Resistance: 10 ATM
  • Size (Case Diameter): 47mm
9

Best Skeleton Watches Under 300 in 2020: Skeleton Watches Under 300 Review

Stührling Original Men’s Watch, Model: 371

Stührling Original Men's Watch, Model: 371

Considering the price, Stuhrling is one of the better options in the market. Especially, Stührling Original Men’s Watch, Model: 371 is a superior watch and perhaps one of the best offering from the brand.

In my opinion, Stuhrling Anatol 371 can compete with the $1,000 big boys with ease! Stuhrling was just killed in the design department. It’s not only a skeleton watch but also a watch with dual time and sun-moon display.

The blue and silver color composition is lovable and offers a striking look.

You’d love the movement too. Stuhrling has used its in-house ST-91011 movement, which is a 22-jewel caliber with above-average accuracy.

There’s only one issue with the Stuhrling Anatol 371. It’s the weight and size. 250 grams (8.8 oz) weight is far too heavy, in my opinion. Also, the 46mm diameter is slightly on the bulkier side.

Product Specification – Stührling Original Men’s Watch, Model: 371

  • Movement: Automatic (In-house ST-91011)
  • Case Diameter: 46mm
  • Case Thickness: 15mm
  • Band Width: 22mm
  • Case Material: Stainless Steel
  • Band Material: Crocodile Embossed Leather
  • Weight: 250 grams
  • Water-Resistance: 5 ATM
  • Clasp Type: Tang Buckle
  • Crystal: Krysterna

Pros

  • Impressive looks with top-notch craftsmanship
  • Great material choice
  • Superior build quality
  • Above-average water resistance

Cons

  • Comparatively heavy and bulky in size

Bulova Automatic, Model: 96A187

Bulova Automatic, Model: 96A187

Bulova is one of the oldest American watch brands with widespread fame all over the world. Under the new management of Citizen, Bulova is doing even better.

There are two things to love about Bulova Automatic, Model: 96A187 – the full-metal build and the design.

Bulova used the Miyota 8N24 caliber from the mother company, Citizen. It’s decent caliber but there’s nothing to boast about this movement either. I mean, -20 seconds to +40 seconds per day accuracy is nothing special!

Still, the overall build is impressive. Due to the full-metal (SS) build, this watch is far more durable than other watches on my list today.  

Also, the water resistance performance deserves a massive round of applause. I don’t typically see 10 ATM resistance in the skeleton watches.

However, I’d change the Krysterna crystal with a proper sapphire one. Otherwise, there is nothing to complain about this pure gem!

Product Specification – Bulova Automatic, Model: 96A187

  • Movement: Automatic (Miyota 8N24)
  • Case Diameter: 43mm
  • Case Thickness: 12mm
  • Band Width: 21.6mm
  • Case Material: Stainless Steel
  • Band Material: Stainless Steel
  • Weight: 175 grams
  • Water-Resistance: 10 ATM
  • Clasp Type: Butterfly (Deployant)
  • Crystal: Mineral

Pros

  • Tough and durable looks
  • Proper dress watch
  • Superior build quality
  • Top-notch water resistance
  • Comes with butterfly/deployant clasp

Cons

  • Crystal is not durable enough

Kenneth Cole New York Men’s, Model: KC50917003

Kenneth Cole New York Men's, Model: KC50917003

I admit, Kenneth Cole impressed me with the Kenneth Cole New York Men’s, Model: KC50917003. Honestly, I didn’t know Kenneth Cole is capable of delivering such a marvel in the market!

It’s very much like the Stuhrling Anatol 371 in terms of design and functionality. It has dual time and sun moon display. Kenneth doesn’t mention the name of this watch’s caliber, but I suspect it’s the same one or has the same base caliber!

Complete metal finish and two-tone stainless steel has enhanced the looks of the watch greatly. However, I have some complaints against the build quality, it feels a bit clanky!

Product Specification – Kenneth Cole New York Men’s, Model: KC50917003

  • Movement: Automatic (Unknown Caliber)
  • Case Diameter: 44mm
  • Case Thickness: 13.3mm
  • Band Width: 19.7mm
  • Case Material: Stainless Steel
  • Band Material: Stainless Steel
  • Weight: 158 grams
  • Water-Resistance: 3 ATM
  • Clasp Type: Deployant
  • Crystal: Mineral

Pros

  • Impressive looks with top-notch craftsmanship
  • Complete metal finish
  • Great material choice
  • Superior build quality

Cons

  • Comparatively heavy and bulky in size

Fossil Men’s Townsman, Model: ME3155

Fossil Men's Townsman, Model: ME3155

Since the launch of the Fossil Men’s Townsman, it has a special place in my heart. Fossil did something out of this world with the design of the Townsman watches.

Every single watch in this Townsman collection is great, but the Fossil Men’s Townsman, Model: ME3155 has made its place in my collection today.

The skeleton dial and the tiny secondary subdial sitting just right below the center are showstoppers here.

The watch is very well-made and quite lightweight.

Truly impressive!

Product Specification – Fossil Men’s Townsman, Model: ME3155

  • Movement: Automatic (Chinese)
  • Case Diameter: 44mm
  • Case Thickness: 14.75mm
  • Band Width: 22mm
  • Case Material: Stainless Steel
  • Band Material: Plush Leather
  • Weight: 80 grams
  • Water-Resistance: 5 ATM
  • Clasp Type: Tang Buckle
  • Crystal: Mineral

Pros

  • Impressive looks with top-notch craftsmanship
  • Great material choice
  • Superior build quality
  • Above-average water resistance

Cons

  • Poor movement quality

Bulova Men’s BVA-SERIES, Model: 96A135

Bulova Men's BVA-SERIES, Model: 96A135

If you love sportiness in your watches, Bulova Men’s BVA-SERIES, Model: 96A135 is just the model for you.

Bulova Men’s BVA-SERIES, Model: 96A135 offers a robust a strong look and feel. Also, the semi guilloche is something extraordinary.

The functionalities are also a class apart 4 hand automatic movement with open heartbeat skeleton dial in such low price is quite astounding!

Product Specification – Bulova Men’s BVA-SERIES, Model: 96A135

  • Movement: Automatic (Miyota 83S0)
  • Case Diameter: 42mm
  • Case Thickness: 11.5mm
  • Band Width: 22mm
  • Case Material: Stainless Steel
  • Band Material: Leather
  • Weight: 86 grams
  • Water-Resistance: 3 ATM
  • Clasp Type: Deployant
  • Crystal: Krysterna

Pros

  • Elegant and sporty
  • Impressive finishing
  • Great material choice
  • Superior build quality
  • Luminous hands and markers

Cons

  • Poor water resistance
  • Can’t change the day/date settings between 9 P.M. and 4 A.M.

FEICE Men’s Automatic, Model: FM019

FEICE Men's Automatic, Model: FM019

FEICE Men’s Automatic, Model: FM019 is a unique looking watch in today’s list. If you want to rock a tough look, this watch should be on your radar. Yes, it’s a Chinese watch, but the fact that it comes with Seagull movement changes everything.

The watch is made of beautiful brushed stainless steel. Then, the double-sided hollow curved design is quite stunning. It looks nothing like the common watches that you see every day!

More: Tissot watch Review: The Best Swiss Watch Brand for a Commoner

Product Specification – FEICE Men’s Automatic, Model: FM019

  • Movement: Automatic (Seagull)
  • Case Diameter: 42mm
  • Case Thickness: 12mm
  • Band Width: 26mm
  • Case Material: Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Band Material: Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Weight: 174 grams
  • Water-Resistance: 3 ATM
  • Clasp Type: Double Locking Foldover Clasp
  • Crystal: Synthetic Sapphire

Pros

  • Impressive looks with top-notch craftsmanship
  • Brushed finish
  • Great material choice
  • Superior build quality

Cons

  • Poor water resistance

Skagen Men’s Holst, Model: SKW6614

Skagen Men's Holst, Model: SKW6614

Skagen is a Danish brand that is quite popular in the Europe. Skagen Men’s Holst, Model: SKW6614 offers top-shelf build quality and unique design.

The design both intricate and minimal at the same time!

You’ll get a cool gunmetal finish all over the body with a mesh strap. However, the movement quality is not up to the mark.

More: Relic Watch Review: Are Relic Watches Good?

Product Specification – Skagen Men’s Holst, Model: SKW6614

  • Movement: Automatic
  • Case Diameter: 42mm
  • Case Thickness: 8mm
  • Band Width: 22mm
  • Case Material: Stainless Steel
  • Band Material: Stainless Steel Mesh
  • Weight: 68 grams
  • Water-Resistance: 3 ATM
  • Clasp Type: Safety Mesh Buckle
  • Crystal: Mineral

Pros

  • Impressive looks with top-notch craftsmanship
  • Unique design
  • Great material choice
  • Superior build quality

Cons

  • Poor movement quality

Invicta Men’s Pro Diver Mechanical, Model: 24692

Invicta Men's Pro Diver Mechanical, Model: 24692

Invicta is getting more and more popular. Invicta Men’s Pro Diver Mechanical, Model: 24692 is a great combination of diver style design with a skeleton watch face.

But you should know that this not an automatic watch but a mechanical watch. So, I would call it a perfect balance between classic choices and modernism.

As it’s a diver class watch, the water resistance performance is also impressive.

Product Specification – Invicta Men’s Pro Diver Mechanical, Model: 24692

  • Movement: Mechanical
  • Case Diameter: 47mm
  • Case Thickness: 13.5mm
  • Band Width: 21.6mm
  • Case Material: Stainless Steel
  • Band Material: Stainless Steel
  • Weight: 187 grams
  • Water-Resistance: 10 ATM
  • Clasp Type: Deployant
  • Crystal: Mineral

Pros

  • Mechanical movement with diver style design
  • Submariner bezel
  • Great material choice
  • Superior build quality
  • Impressive water resistance

Cons

  • Feels bulky

Akribos XXIV Men’s Bravura Mechanical, Model: AKR451YG

Akribos XXIV Men's Bravura Mechanical, Model: AKR451YG

Akribos XXIV Men’s Bravura Mechanical is heavily influenced by the classic vintage design aesthetics.

The watch almost feels like piece of jewelry! Also, the golden jewels enhance the beauty tenfold.

More: Best Skeleton Watch Under 200: Now You Can Afford One Too!

Product Specification – Akribos XXIV Men’s Bravura Mechanical, Model: AKR451YG

  • Movement: Mechanical
  • Case Diameter: 45mm
  • Case Thickness: 15.5mm
  • Band Width: 22mm
  • Case Material: Stainless Steel
  • Band Material: Leather
  • Water-Resistance: 10 ATM
  • Clasp Type: Tang Buckle
  • Crystal: Krysterna

Pros

  • Vintage classic looks
  • Intricate design
  • Great material choice
  • Superior water resistance

Cons

  • Build quality is not up to the mark

Buying Guide: What to Look for in the best Skeleton Watch Under 300 Dollars?

Do NOT expect too much from your budget skeleton watches. The manufacturers had to cut many corners to offer you a skeleton watch in this range.

Still, some determining factors differ a good skeleton watch from the bad ones.

So, I’d briefly talk about those factors so that you can make better buying decisions.

More: Ingersoll Watch Review: What Happened to the USA’s Number 1 Brand?

Automatic vs Mechanical

I think this is a pretty basic consideration. A true skeleton watch is either a mechanical or an automatic.

Due to the clear dial, you can peak through the intricacies inside the movement. So, the overall beauty enhances even more. You can’t expect the same level of beauty from a quartz movement.

Although there’re plenty of quartz options in the lower end of the skeleton watch market.

Do you know the basic difference between a mechanical and an automatic movement?

These two movements are almost the same. Both of them have some twenty plus jewels inside and depend on the spring-mechanism to keep the jewels running.

To power up the mechanical movement, you’d have to hand wind the spring. The spring than “reserves” the power and keeps on ticking. But you’d have to hand-wind the movement after the reserve power time limit expires.

Isn’t that a bit of a nuisance?

Yes!

An automatic watch removes this and everything else remains the same. In an automatic movement, there’s a rotor attached to the spring mechanism. As you move your wrist, the rotor moves and powers the spring. So, you’d don’t have to wind the watch manually.

More: Best Frederique Constant Watch Review: A True Swiss Heritage

Watch Material

If you want to buy a budget skeleton watch, you’d have to sacrifice the most in this segment. Manufacturers can’t include the premium materials due to the obvious reasons.

Still, you should try to get the better materials for your watch.

For example, for the case, titanium or ceramic is the best possible option. I doubt any manufacturer will ever include them in a budget watch. The next best thing you can get is the 316L surgical grade stainless steel. Finally comes the regular SS and other base metals or alloy.

In case of the leather straps, alligator skin holds the position of luxury. Then, top grain leather or calfskin leather are the two best options. However, you shouldn’t expect any of them in the cheaper options.

In fact, if you get genuine leather strap with your watch you should call yourself quite lucky. Many manufacturers add fake leather or PU straps. The good news is that you can always replace them with aftermarket straps coming from third party strap makers.  

If your watch comes with leather straps, it’s almost certain that it comes with pin & buckle clasp. Some call it tang and buckle it’s the same thing. You can do a DIY upgrade in this case too!

Just buy an aftermarket deployant clasp. And no, they’re NOT called “deployment” clasp, it’s a bad typo that has become the industry norm.

I’ve left the most important for the last. For a skeleton watch, you need to have a sapphire crystal for the dial protection. Sadly, you’ll not find any budget watch with sapphire crystal. So, you should change the crystal yourself.

More: Check out our guide to Citizen Watch Reviews Here

Watch Movement

I’ve already mentioned most of the important stuff in the Automatic vs. Mechanical section above. The better movement your watch has, the better.

For the movement, you should check the specific movement model. Going for a branded movement is best way to go forward. Some people steer clear off the Chinese movements as they have a reputation of being “unreliable!”

However, things are changing and China is making everything these days. In this situation, a branded Chinese movement (like Seagull) wouldn’t be a bad option.  

Water-Resistant Feature

Skeleton watches aren’t actually known for the water-resistance performance. Your skeleton watch should come with at least 3 ATM/ 30-meter water resistance.

If your watch offers 5 ATM resistance, you’re in good hands.

More: Clockwork Synergy Review: The Best Brand for Straps?

Conclusion

It’s really a fascinating fact that you can get a skeleton watch for under 300 bucks. However, you’d have made some sacrifices as you can’t compare a $300 skeleton watch with the ones costing more than $10,000!

So, considering this fact, I’d try to rank the best skeleton watches under 300 now.

In the first place, I’d out Stührling Original Men’s Watch, Model: 371. Why? Because this is the best watch in terms of looks and design.

Then, Bulova Automatic, Model: 96A187 will bag the second place. And finally, Kenneth Cole New York Men’s, Model: KC50917003 sits proudly sits in the third place.

Do you agree with my picks?

Let me know in the comment section and also make sure to check out the other skeleton watches review at the $200 and $500 price point!

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