Classic | White Gold
This Vianney Halter Classic is one of the earlier examples made by the watchmaker, completed in a distinctive, whimsical style. It combines a white gold case and silver dial, with the latter displaying a style of hand-engraving only found on a small number of Classic pieces. A combination of past watchmaking and retro steam punk influences, the design is unmistakable.
An early independant watchmaker
From a very young age, Vianney Halter was fascinated mechanics, science fiction and space exploration. As a natural extension of his eclectic and varied interests, he enrolled himself at the Ecole Horlogère de Paris, at the age of fourteen. During his time in the capital, he expanded his aesthetic and mechanical vision, by experiencing alternative culture and underground scenes, alongside his watchmaking education. As he used to commute for two hours each way to watchmaking school, he used it as an opportunity to expand his horizons. As he puts it,
"A friend of mine was really into science fiction and he had advised me on a few books to try, and then I was transported to a different world. These books opened my mind to the prospect of something further, something outside of our small world, a vision."
Upon graduating, Halter spent the first decade of his professional life restoring vintage clocks and watches, working on pieces from the 16th to the 20th century. In 1990, François-Paul Journe invited the watchmaker to join Techniques Horlogères Appliquées, a collaborative movement manufacture, which also included Denis Flageollet, the founder of De Bethune. Before any of the watchmakers became household names, they developed movements for a range of brands, including Audemars Piguet, Cartier and Breguet.
In 1998, around the same time as other notable independant watchmakers started creating pieces under their own name, Halter presented his Antiqua wristwatch. This first piece was unveiled in the context of his candidature to the Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants, in which Halter was sponsored by Philippe Dufour. A sort of relic of the future, it cemented the style which Halter has come to be associated with since.
The Classic is a futuristic combination of the work of Antide Janvier - an astronomical clockmaker and role-model to Halter - an early submarine prototype and retro steam punk design influences. Launched in 2000, shortly after he began producing watches under his own name, it is an elaborate display of pure craftsmanship and creative imagination.
Only 250 pieces were ever made, cased in pink, yellow and white gold. This example is cased in white gold and is fitted with a subtle silver dial, displaying a mixture of frosted and brushed surfaces. The dial stands out for its distinctive style of engraving used for the signature and numerals, where the flourishes of the engraver's hand are more evident - a feature which is understood to have only appeared on some of the earliest Classic pieces. Many later examples of the Classic display a more uniform style of dial engraving, gradually moving away from this particular execution.
Both the hand-engraved numerals and text on the dial are filled with black enamel, which never fades, unlike printed dials. A further level of depth is added in the form of hand-finished, curved, blued-steel hands. The frosted centre dial portion of this white gold Classic has also developed a light patina, due to oxidation, which makes the dial almost appear two tone.
The 18-carat white gold case measures 36mm, featuring 12 machined-gold rivets aligned with the hour markers, which are believed to have been inspired by the portholes of Captain Nemo’s Nautilus. The multileveled case is elegantly finished, with frosted and polished surfaces.
The Classic is powered by the Cal. VH198, based on the Lemania 8810. This VH198 movement not only displays finishing of the highest quality, with hand-decorated components, but was also re-worked by Vianney Halter. The VH198 shares many of the same impressive mechanical elements as the Cal. 8810 (balance-wheel, anchor, escape-wheel and gear wheels), though more interestingly in this case, also bears similar movement bridges as well. Where later examples of the Classic feature more distinguishable, unique bridges signed by Vianney, this particular Classic features an earlier style, more closely resembling those of the original base Lemania movement.
Visible through the sapphire display back, the VH198 calibre is fitted with a patented ”mysterious mass” winding rotor. Using this system, the oscillating mass is hidden behind a peripheral ring, with no apparent link to the central rotor. This allows for a complete, uninterrupted view of the movement. The self-winding VH198 calibre oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 A/h, with a power reserve of 35 hours.
This Classic comes on one of our Stockholm grey grained leather straps and corresponding, white-gold Vianney Halter pin buckle. It is also accompanied by its original box.
|Movement:||mechanical automatic VH198 (Cal. 8810)|
|Functions:||time-only (hours, minutes)|
|Features:||silver dial, early style hand engraving, earlier unsigned movement bridges, mysterious mass winding rotor, display back, blued-steel hands|
|Case:||36 mm 18-carat white gold|
|Crystal:||sapphire front and back|
|Strap:||Stockholm grey grained leather strap, white-gold VH buckle|
|Box & papers:||original box|
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