Here is an example of one of the most interesting takes on the age-old perpetual calendar complication by one of the most accomplished watchmakers of the modern era. This Vianney Halter Antiqua* in rose gold was the watch that announced the maker’s independent brand as well as the Futur Antérieur collection inspired by a very Jules Verne take on retro futurism. The watch, which has a very low serial number hand-engraved on to the display caseback, was originally delivered to a collector in Japan in November 2000.
BECOMING VIANNEY HALTER
Existing somewhere between the past and the future, between reality and fiction, Vianney Halter has created watches over two decades which challenge our traditional notions of what horology should look like.
If you were to visit his workshop, without even meeting the man himself, it would quickly become apparent that Halter is no ordinary watchmaker. On the shelves, you can find scattered photographs of astronauts, dramatic science fiction film posters and intricate clocks dating back hundreds of years. Sitting on a hanger, you’d find his watchmaker’s apron, stitched with the profile of a cartoon character from the television series Futurama. Above it all, Halter has suspended a broken airplane, which he once flew through a storm and crashed, after being struck by lightning.
Halter’s first watch – the Time Machine Perpetual Calendar Antiqua – stands out for the inventiveness of its concept and design, at a time when watchmaking was much more conservative than it is today. It draws upon many different influences, from an early submarine prototype to steampunk aesthetics. The design was heavily inspired by the work of Jules Verne, a French novelist from the 19th century, which has sometimes been described as the “father of science fiction”. The overall aesthetic of watchmaking cemented by Halter came to be described as the “Futur Antérieur”, or “Past Future”, which depicts a vision of the future as seen from the past.