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

$20,200 hublot.com  

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  

$11,000 lionbrandsaustralia.com.au

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

$42,134 fionakrugertimepieces.com  

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

$137,000 hytwatches.com

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

$23,950 definewatches.com.au  

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.