Behind the Dial: Exploring the Mechanisms of Open Heart Watches

Watches have always been more than just timekeeping instruments; they are intricate mechanical marvels that blend functionality with aesthetics. One fascinating category of timepieces that has garnered attention in recent years is open heart watches. These watches offer a window into the intricate movements that power them, allowing wearers to witness the heartbeat of horology. In this blog post, we will journey behind the dial to explore the mesmerizing mechanisms of open heart watches. 

Image from Thomas Earnshaw

The Concept of Open Heart Watches

Transparent Beauty: Open heart watches feature a cutout or aperture on the watch dial, exposing part of the movement beneath. This window, often shaped like a heart, reveals the balance wheel and escapement—two vital components of a mechanical watch. 


Aesthetic Appeal: The open heart design serves both functional and aesthetic purposes. It allows watch enthusiasts to admire the inner workings of the watch while adding an element of sophistication to the timepiece. 

The Balance Wheel and Escapement

The Balance Wheel: The balance wheel is a tiny, wheel-like component that oscillates back and forth, regulating the watch's timekeeping accuracy. It acts as a sort of pendulum, ensuring that the watch's gears advance at a precise rate. 


The Escapement: The escapement is another critical part of the watch movement. It transfers energy from the mainspring to the balance wheel in controlled increments, creating the familiar ticking sound of a mechanical watch. 

How It Works

Visible Heartbeat: The open heart design offers a clear view of the balance wheel and escapement. As you watch the watch, you'll see the balance wheel rhythmically swing back and forth, resembling a heartbeat. 


Synchronization: The balance wheel's precise oscillation is what keeps the watch's timekeeping accurate. By witnessing this motion, wearers gain a deeper appreciation for the meticulous engineering that goes into every timepiece. 

Image from Thomas Earnshaw

The Art of Craftsmanship

Decorative Details: Watchmakers often embellish the visible components of open heart watches. The balance wheel and escapement are meticulously finished with decorative patterns, such as Geneva stripes or perlage, adding to the watch's visual appeal. 


Exquisite Skeletonization: Some open heart watches take the concept further with skeletonized movements. These timepieces remove excess material from the movement, creating intricate, lace-like patterns that enhance transparency. 

Open heart watches provide a captivating fusion of artistry and mechanics, inviting wearers to connect with the essence of watchmaking. By revealing the balance wheel and escapement, these timepieces offer a unique glimpse into the heartbeat of horology. 


As you wear an open heart watch, you become a witness to the precision and craftsmanship that power the art of timekeeping. These watches serve as a testament to the centuries-old tradition of watchmaking, reminding us that a watch is not just a tool for measuring time but a work of art that encapsulates the essence of human ingenuity. Whether you're a seasoned watch enthusiast or a newcomer to the world of horology, open heart watches offer a fascinating journey into the intricate world of mechanical timepieces.