I've got little to no experience in watches, and am currently looking to get a skeleton pocket watch because I really like seeing the working parts in motion.
Right now, the only pocket watch I have is a Majesti skeleton with a 17-jewel Chinese movement that I got off ebay for $10 about a year ago (this brand seems to retail for $20-$40 but it's not too hard to find a cheap NOS or second-hand one on ebay); it keeps time alright, although after a year of use it currently seems to be gaining a minute every day or two. It's a fun piece for a non-collector like me, but I've decided to look into getting something of a bit higher quality.
My knowledge of watches is limited to the info I got from a couple days of surfing the internet (on a seperate note, I'm currently hunting the 'Bay for a working Elgin, Waltham, or Hampden in the sub-$100 range), so I thought I'd run a few questions by you guys before spending any money on another skeleton watch.
I see a lot of no-brand $10 (which includes shipping) Chinese skeleton pocket watches on eBay, they all seem to use the same 17-jewel Chinese movement. In fact 95% of skeleton watches on ebay seem to be of this sort. Would these be of the same general quality as my Majesti?
I see on eBay and Amazon that the brands Colibri, Avalon, and Charles Hubert make skeleton pocket watches. They seem to have lower-end watches in the $50-$80 range and higher-end ones in the $150-$200 range. Are these brands significantly better than my $10 Majesti, or is the difference not that great? The $50-$80 Charles Hubert and Colibri watches seem fairly identical in style and design to my Majesti.
Amazon also has skeleton watches by Tissot, Jacques du Manoir, and Kienzle going for about $500 (Charles Hubert also has a watch in this range, but it seems to be their regular watch with a sterling silver case). I hear Tissot is a good brand, but I'm not familiar with the other two.
And... that's all I can find on ebay or Amazon. Are any of those good for the price they're going for? Does anyone have any recommendations for a decent-to-good quality skeleton pocket watch or any reliable place online after ebay and Amazon that I can look around for watches of that type?
Also, another slightly tangential question; a few months ago while visiting New York and looking for a gift for a friend, I saw a very nice looking large-size, open-face skeleton watch at a high end boutique. There was no face (or perhaps just a very small one around the edge), just a very clean view of the entire mechanism. I really liked the look of it, but the price ($2,000) was way outside my price range, especially for a walk-in buy without any prior info. I've been looking for more information about that watch online, but I forgot the brand name and can't seem to find anything that looks like it (the only brand I can remember from that boutique is Aerowatch). Would anyone happen to know of a watch that sounds like the one I'm describing?