For a long time I have been a huge admirer of the exceptional talents of Vianney Halter. I absolutely love his ability to conjure sophisticated designs from everyday objects. This level of skill is rare and is only achieved by a select few. Generally what I have found is that creative types can visualise interesting concepts but haven’t got the know how to execute them. Only a watchmaker with meticulous engineering skills can accomplish this task.
For over fourteen years Vianney Halter has been a member of the exclusive AHCI (Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants). Recently I have written quite a few articles showcasing the talents of Aaron Becsei, Konstantin Chaykin, Vincent Calabrese, Valerii Danevych, Bernhard Lederer, Thomas Prescher and Kari Voutilainen. Essentially what all these watchmakers have in common is the vision and talent to create something special. This elite co-operative also is a wonderful support network for what could be a very isolated profession. Interestingly these ateliers’ sublime timepieces are now highly coveted in regions like Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Ultimately discerning buyers really appreciate the bespoke nature of these watches and the extraordinary level of craftsmanship.
On a recent trip to Singapore I visited The Hour Glass’s newest boutique called Paragon. This store predominantly sells timepieces by a select group of small independent Swiss watchmakers. It was here I got the opportunity to try on Vianney Halter’s exquisite Trio Grande Date. This watch isn’t one of Vianney’s latest models but is still part of his current collection. It was also a lot smaller than I expected measuring only 43mm x 32mm. These classical proportions should appeal to a range of traditional male buyers and potentially the unisex market. Generally the watch sat comfortably on my wrist and I feel would be practical for most occasions. Primarily this is down to the innovative rectangular case design and choice of luxurious 18-karat white gold in production.
Aesthetically all of Vianney Halter’s timepieces are created to make a bold statement and the Trio Grande Date is no exception. The world of Jules Verne and sea travels inspired the design of the watch. By chance (on the same Singapore trip) I met a serious watch collector who was privileged enough to own a Harry Winston Opus 3. This amazing timepiece was designed by Vianney Halter and was awarded the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (Innovation prize) in 2003. Even though these two watches have their own unique characteristics I feel they have strong resemblance. I love Steampunk timepieces especially ones with porthole style windows. Two other great examples I have personally written about are the Polyphemos by Angular Momentum and Thomas Prescher’s sensational Nemo Captain.
Beneath the distinctive exterior lies an accomplished self-winding movement. The Caliber VH205 comprises 40-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour. Each of the mechanisms components has been handcrafted, decorated, engraved and assembled by Vianney personally in his own workshop. Functionally the Trio Grande Date features hours, minutes, seconds and date facility displayed via four (different size) porthole sapphire crystal windows. The timepiece also has an impressive power reserve of 60-hours.
The Trio Grande Date (as tested) has a hand stitched brown alligator strap with matching 18-karat white gold buckle. Priced at: 123,000 CHF (approximately $122,315).