The origins of Cimier can be traced as far back as in 1924 when Joseph Lapanouse founded his watch company in Holstein near Basel. Cimier made a name for itself selling important quantities of so-called Roskopf watches, good-quality yet low-cost timepieces also referred to as proletarian watches. Today, the brand is headquartered in Biel and, since 2010, it has been operating the Watch Academy by Cimier where you can choose your model, its components (case, dial, hands, strap, etc.) and then assemble the watch and its movement under the guidance of a master watchmaker. Besides the different watchmaking courses offered by its Watch Academy, Cimier also offers a selection of watches, the Big Matic, the Petite Seconde and the Royal Skeleton that we have here.
The Royal Skeleton by Cimier is powered by an openworked version of the iconic ETA-Unitas 6497. I have always been a fan of this tried-and-tested pocket watch sized calibre. At 36.6mm in diameter, it is perfectly suitable for large watches. And winding it is always a joy. Ticking at a slow pace of 18,000 vibrations/hour, it provides some 50 hours of power reserve when fully wound.
The Cimier openworked version of the movement allows you to discover it under a different light, offering a unique look at the inner workings of the watch. The skeletonization consisted of removing as much material as possible from the plate and bridges to create a light aerial structure. The barrel is also openworked revealing the coiled mainspring. Depending on the iterations of the watch, the different finishes create a striking contrast. The faceted hours and minutes hands are paired with markers applied on flange framing the movement. There is also a small second hand running at 10 o’clock.
This skeleton movement comes in a 43mm round case. Its design is classic overall with a sloped bezel and elongated lugs. Yet it comes with a twist: the crown is offset at 4 o’clock. This brings an original touch and an interesting positioning for the movement. The barrel is right at 6 o’clock while the large balance wheel creates a counterpoint at 12. Flipping the watch over, the exhibition caseback offers an unimpeded view of the other side of the movement and contributes to creating a feeling of transparency. The case is made out of stainless steel, and just like the movement, it comes with different finishes or coatings. The water-resistant is rated at 50m.
The Cimier Royal Skeleton is worn on an alligator leather strap closed by a folding buckle. It wears as comfortably as you can expect for a 43mm watch, the curved lugs and soft leather strap contributing in full. With its skeletonized design, it has a strong wrist presence. You need to be ready for it but the spectacle of its working mechanics is truly captivating. The price is set at CHF 2,300.