Home > Watch Reviews > Under $1000 > Worn & Reviewed: D1 Milano Skeleton

Worn & Reviewed: D1 Milano Skeleton

By Cameron Martel


Updated on

Is This Affordable Skeleton Automatic Destined for Your Wrist?

Words/Photography: Me. A reader supplied this D1 Milano Skeleton for review.

A few weeks ago I received an unusual but welcome email. A reader is getting married and bought this watch to wear for his wedding. He reached out to me asking if I would review it and share my thoughts on it. I agreed, and a week later this Italian Skeleton watch was sitting in my photo booth.

A new addition to my “best skeleton watches” list, the D1 Milano Skeleton is a fashion-focused entrant borne from an Italian microbrand. Founded in 2013, D1 Milano designs their watches in Italy but uses a manufacturer based in Hong Kong.

Powering the Skeleton is a TMI NH70 automatic movement which, as you can plainly see, is showcased beautifully through the Skeleton’s mineral crystal.

This particular model has an MSRP of $725, though you can find other bracelet/strap/color combinations from as low as $645.

The Skeleton dial and rose gold stainless steel case is a photogenic combination, and I had a great time shooting and wearing it. Let’s check it out in more detail.

D1 Milano Skeleton in Rose Gold - SLBJ03

D1 Milano Skeleton Bracelet Technical Specifications

  • Model Number: SKBJ03 / Skeleton Bracelet
  • MSRP: $725
  • Case Diameter: 41.5mm
  • Alternate Models: Other colors/bracelet/straps available
  • Movement: Automatic, Seiko NH70
  • Complications: n/a
  • Power Reserve: Estimated 41 hours
  • Water Resistance: 50m / 165ft
  • Crystal Material: Mineral

D1 Milano Skeleton Dial Macro Shot

Isn’t She Just Lovely?

Every watch enthusiast will eventually go through a skeleton phase. There’s just no way around it. Once the mainspring has got you sprung, it’s only a matter of time before you find a skeleton dial that you can’t peel your eyes away from. For me, the first skeleton watch that really did that was the Tissot Squelette.

I loved that watch when I first saw it three years ago, and I still really enjoy it now. The photos I used in the review took me nearly eight hours to shoot and then edit- time well spent.

That brings me to this Skeleton, which pairs a black louvered dial, cut away to reveal much of the automatic movement beneath, and the rose gold hands/indices. The combination is visually stunning and makes full use of the luxurious real estate afforded by its almost-but-not-quite girthy 41.5mm diameter.

The finishing on the movement and dial looks impeccable, and try as I might, I can’t find anything to call out. The NH70 simply looks superb.

What I like most is how the hands, and the center column they are mounted to, appear to tower over the levels below. The balance wheel feels outright subterranean, especially because of the cut-out for the jewel to shine through.

I absolutely love the depth that this watch conveys. It makes for an always interesting subject to admire.

D1 Milano Skeleton Dial Macro Shot

Worn With Confidence

A byproduct of its bold design is that the watch carries itself with confidence. It doesn’t look aggressive or arrogant, but it does command a certain amount of deference. Because of this, you need a long sleeve or a cuff to tame this design language. A t-shirt is a no-wear zone.

The shape of the case is also familiar, looking like a very (very) distant cousin of the famous (and expensive) Patek Philippe Nautilus. While a Patek Philippe this D1 Milano most definitely is not, only watch enthusiasts will be able to describe the difference between the two. I’ll leave it to you to decide if that’s a good thing or not.

A hallmark of a luxury watch is its build quality. The reality is that the modern watch enthusiast has high standards when it comes to workmanship, and rightfully so. As far as I’m concerned, if I’m going to spend $700 or more on a watch, it’d had better be made as good as it looks.

D1 Milano Skeleton Dial Macro

As you might expect, the D1 Milano Skeleton does not disappoint here. To find flaws you have to get really granular and exceptionally picky.

In this case, the only real “flaws” that I can find are in the printed text on the crystal. While you’d never see this with your naked eye, when zoomed in as far as a 90mm macro lens will take you, you can see a few nicks in the text on the “L” and “A” in “Milano”. The left leg of the “M” is also a hair shorter than the right.

Suffice to say, you can stare at the skeleton dial as much as you want- unless you’re using a microscope or are just plain pedantic, you won’t find anything on the Skeleton’s dial worth complaining about.

D1 Milano Skeleton - SLBJ03

Powered By a TMI NH70 Automatic Movement

TMI – Time Module International – is owned by Seiko and manufacturers numerous Seiko movement calibers. This movement was likely manufactured in Hong Kong.

The NH70 is a skeletonized automatic movement with 24 jewels, a specified accuracy of -20 ~ +40 seconds per day, and a 41-hour power reserve. It beats at 21,600 bphhacks, and hand winds.

It’s a fine movement, if somewhat underpowered given the $725 price of the watch. At this price, I’d have appreciated something that is a bit smoother or more accurate… or both.

D1 Milano Skeleton Wrist Shot

It’s Not Perfect, Though

This is yet another review where I will complain about the manufacturer’s choice to use a mineral crystal. For $725, you’re right to expect a sapphire crystal. Mineral is “fine”, but sapphire isn’t that much more expensive- D1 Milano could have chosen to use it and still be able to meet this price point.

For a bit less than this Skeleton, you could get a Hamilton Jazzmaster Open Heart, which comes with a Swiss-made ETA movement, sapphire glass, and an attractive open heart dial. It’s not a skeleton, though, but it’s close and also easily found for around $600 on the grey market.

So, when you can get a Swiss-made and Swiss-powered automatic for about the same price with sapphire, why can’t I get this watch with a sapphire crystal?

D1 Milano Skeleton - SLBJ03

A Great Choice if You’re Wanting aN Affordable Skeleton Watch

The use of mineral in place of sapphire is my only real complaint about this D1 Milano, and that’s pretty good. I’ve reviewed nearly 170 watches hands-on since 2013, and not many of them have been as good as this one.

One caution to consider is that this Skeleton wears larger than its 41.5 mm case would imply. 41.5mm is a fine size for most men, but because the dial is open, it feels larger. Multiple elements work together to create a watch that straight-up dominates the wrist.

That means it’s probably a no-go for my fellow wimpy-wristed folk. If this came in a 38mm, well, I’d be all over that.

Still, whether you’re wanting a dress watch to match a power suit, or you want something sophisticated to wear at your wedding, I think you’ll be quite happy with what you find in the D1 Milano Skeleton.

Get yours: D1Milano.com

High-Resolution Photos

1920×1280 Resolution

Review Date
Reviewed Item
D1 Milano Skeleton - SKBJ03
Avatar photo
About Cameron Martel

If it ticks or tocks, I want it on my wrist. I'm a fan of all things that keep good time, and I can't resist a great looking watch. WYCA is my way of appreciating the engineering and artistry that goes into affordable watches. My favorite watch is my Jazzmaster Auto Chrono, and the watch I wear the most is my Weekender Chronograph. I currently have 33 watches in my collection. Learn more about WYCA's Editorial Process.

3 thoughts on “Worn & Reviewed: D1 Milano Skeleton”

  1. awesome looking but its not suitable for a wedding tough 🙂 isn’t it?

    The price seems a bit higher but its ok looking at its features. military green color would be ideal IMO


Leave a comment