His proficiency at watchmaking was clear as he progressed through the three-year course in Paris. In 1980, when a representative from a local repair and restoration workshop came to visit the school in his final year, asking if there were any students capable of starting straight away, Halter leapt at the opportunity. He worked in this Parisian restoration workshop for a year, before moving to another local store that gave him the opportunity to work on smaller pieces. Many other independents have taken a similar route, with their time in restoration deepening their understanding and appreciation for traditional methods and design.
Halter worked at this second shop for the rest of the ‘80s. Then, in 1989, he decided that it was time for a change, and he moved to Switzerland. “Moving out here gave me a whole new perspective on watchmaking,” Halter says. “In Paris, we only ever worked on older watches, but once I was here, a new world opened up to me.” This new world was introduced to him by none other than François-Paul Journe and Denis Flageollet, as he joined them in their newly founded movement developer, Techniques Horlogères Appliquées. The company specialised in developing complicated movements and counted brands such as Audemars Piguet, Cartier or Breguet as its clients. At the time, it was arguably rivalled only by Renaud et Papi. Halter spent around three years there, in a small village in the Jura Mountains, basking in this creative environment.
Rather interestingly, many of the watchmakers involved in Techniques Horlogères Appliquées went on to launch their own independent brands, no doubt partially motivated by their experiences creating and developing movements for others. Journe and Flageollet would establish their own brands, in 1999 and 2002 respectively. As for Vianney Halter, he founded the Manufacture Janvier SA in 1994, with the name being an homage to the 18th century watchmaker he admired. For a few years, he continued working as a supplier for more established brands, but gradually, the desire to create his own watch took over.