Dead cool watches

Yes, skull watches are a thing, and they’re getting more popular as watchmakers stray on the wilder side of timekeeping, reports horophile Norman Burns.

Hublot Big Bang Broderie Sugar Skull Fluo


Hublot runs riot with this neon kaleidoscope collection. These watches combine gems with a fluorescent embroidered skull motif on the carbon fibre and silk dial. Add in an automatic movement and a polished black ceramic and sapphire crystal case, and it’s a crazy mix that works.

Bell & Ross Burning Skull  


The Burning Skull eschews razzle dazzle for a more austere look, but at 46mm it still makes a statement. An automatic movement ticks away under that spectacular skull dial forged from micro-blasted steel. The sword hands are a nice touch too.

Fiona Kruger Black Celebration


Inspired by history and Mexico’s Day of the Dead, this dazzling watch is run by a Swiss automatic movement, but it’s the skeletonised, hand-decorated mechanics and dial that gives it a “wow” factor off the scale. In the dark the watch emits a spooky blue glow.

HYT Skull Axl Rose


HYT pioneered the use of a liquid time display — the left eye socket is the seconds dial and the right socket is the power indicator. These skulls come in a dozen exotic variants, with the one pictured here designed by Guns N’ Roses lead singer Axl Rose. All sport a hi-tech mechanical, manually wound movement.

Moritz Grossman Atum Pure Skull


This very limited edition piece is quite a creative leap, but not at the expense of technical excellence. Under that haunting centre-dial skull is a skeletonised manual movement with a 42-hour power reserve. With just 20 made, a watch of this quality makes it quite the collector’s item.