Les Montres Vianney Halter was born in 1998 with the presentation at the Basel International Watch and Jewelry Fair of a unusual watch called the Antiqua. This watch has a style which may be best described as a ” relic of the future “. Halter presented this timepiece in the context of his candidature to the AHCI (Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants) in which he was sponsored by Philippe Dufour.
The Antiqua is the foundation model of the brand “Les Montres Vianney Halter” as well as the collection “Futur Antérieur”. It is a perpetual calendar watch, that is to say that it includes a calendar which displays not only the date, but also the day of the week, the current month and the cycle of the leap year. The perpetual calendar automatically accounts for the variable days of the months and for leap years.
Provided the movement is kept sufficiently wound, this wristwatch-sized mechanical computer needs intervention from its owner only once every 100 years.This extremely rare adjustment is required to take into account the fact that the turn of the centuries, e.g. 1900, or 2100, are not leap years despite being divisible by four.The balance wheel frequency is 28’800 oscillations per hour and the power reserve is about 35 hours.
An Antiqua requires approximately 900 hours to be completed. The case itself is composed of nearly 100 parts of 30 different types. The rivets, all machined in solid gold, are ubiquitous throughout the watch – portholes 42, top-plate 4, winding crown 24, base of crown 4, rotor 20, tang buckle 6, strap lugs 4. No fewer than 104 in total and contributing to the very special and unique style of the Antiqua. The metal dials are composed of nine different elements and are hand-engraved making each watch unique. The five blued-steel hands are also hand-finished.
The Antiqua features an original display composed of four discrete portholes. In order of decreasing diameter one can read: hour and minutes; month and year and day of the week. These informations are indicated by means of classical hands while the date is digital and visible through a small sighthole.
The Antiqua is fitted with the automatic caliber VH198 with 43 jewels. The VH198 is built on the base of mechanical elements – balance wheel, anchor, escape wheel and gear wheels – shared with the Lemania caliber 8810. But the VH198 uses specific baseplate and bridges designed by Vianney Halter. The perpetual calendar complication as well as the automatic winding system are also entirely designed and produced at La Manufacture Janvier. This makes the VH198 merit its designation as a “in-house” movement.The balance wheel frequency is 28’800 oscillations per hour. The power reserve is approximately 35 hours.
Mysterious mass rotor
To ensure an uninterrupted view of the VH198 caliber through the sapphire display back, the Antiqua is fitted with the so-called ” mysterious mass ” winding rotor. In this system the oscillating mass, which allows wrist movement to wind the watch, is hidden behind a peripheral ring with no apparent link to the central rotor. This allows for a totally open view to the back of the movement. The ” mysterious mass rotor ” is a patented invention of Vianney Halter.
The Antiqua is available in either yellow gold or rose gold. Dials are platinum and the rivets are made of white gold – with the exception of the rivets on the mysterious mass rotor which are always in yellow gold. The Antiqua is also available in a white gold or platinum case. These have contrasting rivets in either yellow gold or rose gold and with dials matching the rivets. An all white metal Antiqua is the final option with a case in white gold or platinum. Dials are platinum and the rivets are made of white gold.
In total there are eight different versions of the Antiqua available. The watch is supplied with a hand-sewn leather strap available in several colours and made of genuine alligator or goat leather. The strap has a tang buckle matching the case metal.
Rotary winding box
The Antiqua is delivered with a certificate of authenticity in a beautiful watch winder box. This keeps the watch perfectly wound when not worn on the owner’s wrist. This accessory allows the Antiqua to be used as a desk clock : enabling it to be enjoyed in a variety of situations. When mounted inside the watch can be seen through a riveted porthole. The motorized rotating watch support is powered by lithium batteries with a power reserve of approximately four years.
The system is programmable and allows for variations in rotation frequency, direction and speed. The winding box is composed of more than 300 parts, weighs 1.75 Kg, and measures 150 mm x 110 mm x 140 mm. Its fabrication involves skilled cabinet-maker and it is entirely assembled at La Manufacture Janvier. The rotary winding box is available in a selection of precious woods with the interior upholstered in suede.