Vianney Halter Deep Space Resonance Prototype

Independent Swiss master watchmaker Vianney Halter presents the Deep Space Resonance, a modern and technical interpretation of his 3 axis tourbillon. In this new creation, Vianney reengineered the tourbillon cage in order to integrate two acoustically synchronized balance wheels.

Vianney Halter Deep Space Resonance Prototype
Photos credit: Guy LUCAS de PESLOUAN/ Vianney Halter

The idea of creating an acoustically resonant double-balance timepiece emerged in Vianney’s mind in 1996 when he started learning to play the piano.

When attuning the keys where three harmonic strings overlap, Vianney noticed an energy exchange between the strings that forced them to resonate. Just like on the tuning fork, the resonance mechanism seemed to depend on the fixed base through which the energy flows. He believed that there could be a similar way to synchronize two balance wheels.

As he was doing some research on the subject, Vianney found early 1800s blueprints of Abraham Louis Breguet’s attempts to achieve resonance. The schematics showed devices allowing for the fine tuning of the distance that separated the two balance wheels, which were in this case using a fundamentally different coupling than the piano or tuning fork.

Breguet’s works were based on the interactions between the balance wheel rims and the air between them, using the air as a fluid gearing. In this case the size of the gap, air viscosity and rotation directions were critical. Air behaved as a clutch and only one rotation was allowed. Without air, there could be no resonance.

On the other hand in order for the acoustic resonance phenomenon to occur, waves are of utmost importance. Using a linkage of some sorts, waves could be transmitted from one balance to the other. By having both spirals attached to a well designed common bridge, the two oscillators could influence each other and attain resonance, whichever direction the balances were turning.

In order to form solid bases for the mechanical groundworks, Vianney needed to study the pre-existing resonance watches, then craft an instrument that could demonstrate the possibility of resonance from coupling two oscillators. He then started collecting every chronometric object linked to undulatory phenomena he could, aiming to build such a demonstrator.

In 2007, Vianney Halter started the construction of the demonstrator he has been imagining since 2005. To build his movement, he used two identical Russian POLJOT deck watches that give him identical gear trains. For the two balances to resonate, he needed the two oscillators to be as similar as possible, and links them using a solid bridge, like in a tuning fork.

In 2012, Vianney brought an antique mechanical clock made by French clockmaker Jacques Langlois in 1660. With the help of horological expert Jean-Claude Sabrier, he discovered the clock is in fact one that Christiaan Huygens subcontracted to various craftsmen to demonstrate his isochronism theory.

In 2016, a major scientific discovery encouraged Vianney to continue his dream project. Almost a century after Albert Einstein relativity theory, gravitational waves were detected, confirming the existence of two collapsing black holes.

Space-Time is the fabric of our Universe. Heavy objects bend it and deform it and when they accelerate or collide, those objects generate waves that propagate through the cosmos at light speed, in all directions. Those waves perturbate the whole Universe, and finally were measured on Earth using a resonance based space-time seismograph.

This discovery was so important to Vianney he was determined to finish the research about acoustic horological resonance. By trying multiple configurations for the coupling of the two balances, he eventually found one that allows acoustic resonance without relying on aerodynamics.

At the same time, a new idea and new challenge emerged. In 2011 Vianney has decided to create a timepiece that reminds us of our four dimensions during our stellar travels. Introduced in 2013, the Deep Space Tourbillon watch with a 3 axis central tourbillon shows you the physical dimensions, surrounded by the display of our 4th dimension, time.

With these 4 dimensions making the elastic fabric of our universe, being warped and reshaped by gravitational waves, it appeared evident that the resonating oscillators will be placed at the center of the Deep Space Tourbillon.

The study of the demonstrators configurations allowed to define the tuning fork configuration in which will be the two balances. To prevent the wave dissipation, Vianney chooses specific, solid materials, and minimizes the length and complexity of the path the wave must travel. This led to the configuration in which the two spirals are mounted opposite in front of each other. Using a rigid shared bridge for the two spirals, Vianney made sure that the resulting resonance was a genuine behavior, not a functional artefact.

Work and perseverance eventually bore fruit, and at the beginning of 2019 the two balances in the demonstrator were beating as one. The behavior was stable and allowed Vianney to start the construction of a wrist worn model: the Deep Space Resonance.

The Deep Space Resonance Prototype immense works took over the entirety of 2020. Vianney built it to check that the acoustic synchronization correctly functions when worn on the wrist.

Vianney Halter Deep Space Resonance Prototype
Photos credit: Guy LUCAS de PESLOUAN/ Vianney Halter

Thanks to the three axis rotation, every detail on the structure is visible. The complexity of the mechanism is highlighted by a unique and light architectural construction. The 42 polished curved pillars that hold the bridges are inspired by an antique Achille Benoît marine chronometer that dates back to 1840. Every part of the mechanism is traditionally decorated and refined by hand for a breathtaking effect. Despite the apparent complexity, the technological architecture was kept at the most simple and efficient.

The axis structure is layered in concentric cages: The innermost cage holds the balances and weighs 0.6 grams for 162 parts. This cage rotates inside the traverse in 60 seconds. The traverse weighs 2.8 grams and rotates around its horizontal axis in 6 minutes. The traverse is mounted in the cradle, which rotates on its vertical axis in 30 minutes. The whole 3 axis system counts 371 individual parts.

The beating frequency of balances is nominally 21‘600 vph but in reality they vary a little. Each balance will transmit its motion to the shared bridge which will in turn affect the other balance. This way, both balances will influence each other, and quickly and reliably reach a common frequency. In turn, this makes the whole regulating system more accurate.

The Deep Space Resonance Prototype is a manually wound, 65h power reserve watch. The balances start to resonate as soon as the energy is sufficient to set the balances in motion, and stay synchronized until all motion stops. The balances will synchronize and oscillate at the same time, but not necessarily in the same direction at the same time. This will define the resonance mode.

The mode depends on the position the balances were occupying when they started beating, and will keep this mode until the end of the power reserve. The next time the watch is wound, the balances may start beating in a different mode, and will offer a new view to the resonance phenomenon.

The dial is directly inspired by the Vernier calliper. The Hours and Quarters can be read in the top aperture. At the bottom aperture one can read the supplemental minutes by finding where the marks match the best.

For the final realizations of this technical device, the reading of the time will be easier thanks to a fascinating dial specifically designed to match the resonance principles. The power reserve will be drastically enhanced.

VIANNEY HALTER

In the small village of Sainte-Croix, nestled in the heart of the Swiss Jura, you will find an unpretentious building housing La Manufacture Janvier. There, master watchmaker Vianney Halter devotes himself to his passion. He inspires rather than leads his young, dynamic and enthusiastic team. Although an independent creator, Vianney Halter is not an isolated man. He perpetuates a tradition of excellence alongside his watchmakers, precision-machinists and designers. This happy marriage of exceptional watchmaking and technical innovation has been celebrated in Vianney Halter’s “Futur Anterieur” and “Halter Tempus” collections since 1998. Vianney Halter is a man who has chosen the most demanding branch of haute-horology in which to express his creativity.

Watchmaker: Vianney Halter
Vianney Halter was born in Suresnes in Paris (France) outskirts in 1963. His father was a train driver for the Saint Lazare Railway. In his oldest memories, he remembers his father bringing back at home old machines and mechanisms that fascinated him.

Perhaps it was this early exposure to powerful locomotives, steam engines and control instruments, which was the origin of Halter’s attraction to mechanics and engineering. The fact is that Halter was only fourteen years of age when he took the train to the capital so as to enroll himself at the Ecole Horlogère de Paris (Paris Watchmaking School).The lectures given at the Ecole Horlogere de Paris were renowned for their excellence. The professors and teachers had many years experience and they transmitted their precious knowledge – knowledge accumulated since the origins of horology – to their students.Sadly, this famous institution no longer exists: a victim of the quartz revolution, the resulting watch making economic crisis of the 1970-80’s, and a disinterest in a career in watchmaking by the youth of that generation. Halter majored in mechanical horology and in his last year he supplemented this with studies in electronic horology. Ironically, at that time it was the latter which was turning the whole watch industry upside down. After graduating in 1980, Halter spent the next few years working with several Parisian craftsmen restoring clocks and watches.

In 1983, showing his innate independent nature, Halter opened his own workshop specializing in antique clock and watch restoration. For the next six years Halter restored antique clocks and watches for the benefit of passionate collectors at his modest atelier in the 3rd district of Paris. This work brought him in contact with high quality timepieces of great technical and historical interest. These clocks and watches covered a period from 1550 up to the 1980s and they greatly broadened Halter’s knowledge of horology. In 1990 François-Paul Journe, another French watchmaker of the same generation, invited Halter to join him in his company THA (Techniques Horlogeres Appliquees) in Sainte-Croix, a small village in the Swiss Jura Mountains.

There, Halter conceptualized and created timepieces for many famous brands including: Breguet, Audemars Piguet, Mauboussin, Jacquet Droz and Frank Muller. But, the fever of independence stroke him again and, enriched by his experience with THA, Vianney Halter founded in 1994 La Manufacture Janvier SA in Sainte- Croix. The name was chosen as homage to one of the most talented watchmakers in history: Antide Janvier (1751-1835).

For a couple of years he carried on working as a sub-contractor for various brands. This brought him the knowledge and the experience of industrial production techniques. In the meantime, his desire to creating his own line of exceptional watches grew more and more as he wanted to exploit his knowledge to the full.At the end of the 90s, the economical crisis in Asia and the slowing down of the orders from his customers gave him the time necessary for the development and the manufacturing of his first timekeeper. In 1998, Halter presented at the Basel International Watch and Jewelry Show a strange watch baptized “Antiqua”. This was immediately regarded as a « relic of the future » by the media astonished by this new style. Les Montres Vianney Halter were born.

Vianney Halter unveiled this watch in the context of his candidature to the AHCI (Academie Horlogere des Createurs Independants) in which he was sponsored by Philippe Dufour. The Antiqua was an original point of view about horology in the form of a watch gathering a very classical complication, a top class fabrication, an innovative featuring of the time and a completely new style. This piece derived circles and curves and was characterized by a display of the various functions through riveted portholes. This was a watch that one can imagine on Captain Nemo’s wrist or perhaps worn by H.G. Well’s when returning from time-travel.

The success was immediate and up to the surprise provoked within the public by this strange object. The reception was so enthusiastic that Vianney Halter was almost drowned by the flow of orders and the Manufacture Janvier was led to impose to its customer delivery times of several months or more.Despite increasing the staff, this uncomfortable situation still goes on because the demand for the Vianney Halter watches remains higher than the modest production capacity of La Manufacture Janvier. In the stride of this success, Halter soon presented the Contemporaine repeating the perpetual calendar and the multiple dial-display of its elder sister but adopting a more modern looking inside a smaller case.

As the means of La Manufacture were focused on the Antiqua production, this model was actually never launched in production and only a few pieces were manufactured. In 2000, Halter unveiled the Classic, a wristwatch deriving the style of the Antiqua around an automatic movement deprived of any complication and displaying only Hour, Minute and Second. The purpose was to sublimate the “Futur Antérieur” style by contrasting it with the intentional purity of the mechanism, the whole being served by a fabrication of the utmost quality. Once again, the success was confirmed and it is just for devoting himself to the development of other products that Halter made the decision in 2006 to stop the production of the Classic after 250 pieces were produced.

2001 was the year of the shape for Vianney Halter : he presented a rectangular watch on which three riveted dials displayed respectively Hour and Minute, Date and a Petite Seconde. This trio of portholes gave its name to this piece and it has kept it despite the later evolutions. Also this year appeared a Contemporaine Moonphase featuring the cycle of the Earth natural satellite. Also during this period was step by step implemented the means for a regular production of Antiqua and Classic meanwhile the staff of La Manufacture Janvier slowly increased. But Halter was anyway short in time to complete the development of his last models. Those latter therefore remained for several years in the stage of prototypes, as Halter’s growing fame was to drive him to work once again for other brands.

But this time his name was to be engraved side by side with the ones of his partners. In the context of its project « Faces of Times », the watch branch of the German leather manufacturer Goldpfeil asked Vianney Halter to develop and produce two exclusive models that were unveiled during the Basel Fair 2001. The first was a rectangular shape watch with Jumping Hour and Moonphase, intended for serial production. Realized with the contribution of the French designer Pascal Pages, this white gold watch evoked a camera of the 50s, thanks to the dial design and the subtle use of various finishes for its case (mirror polished, sandblasted and hand-hammered).

At the same time Halter realized for Goldpfeil a unique piece in platinum, as an ultimate evolution of the Antiqua concept. This featured 3 separate dials that have almost become 3 independent cases discreetly linked one to each other. On these one can find the following functions: Hour and Minute, Moonphase and … a Thermometer.

The development and the production of these pieces filled the major part of year 2001 and following. Then collaboration was to mark up in a resounding manner the short story of the Vianney Halter brand: during Baselworld 2003, the North American jeweler Harry Winston presented in front of amazed journalists his Opus 3 for which he had given Halter “carte blanche”. The concept, once again developed by Halter with Pages as designer, consisted in re-inventing the missing link between the mechanic analogical watch and the numerical display watch, thus reconciling two antagonist periods of the history of horology. As well as the Antiqua in 1998, Opus 3 left a deep mark in minds when unveiled and, as well as his elder sister, his development before launch in production was prolonged long after the presentation of its concept.

After those two experiences, Halter went back to his brand and decided to devote himself to improving the production, still far behind the increasing demand, and to achieving his watches in project. Thus, 5 years after the presentation of the first prototype of the Trio, the latter came back to the public in 2006, in a form that was this time completely achieved.

Vianney Halter appeared to be completely satisfied of his creation, each detail of which having been refined : the proportions have changed, a fourth dial now allowed the display of a Grande Date and, most important, a mouvement de forme (shaped caliber) has been developed from scratch so as to be entirely crafted in La Manufacture Janvier. Inside a gold case of nearly 100 gr. more than 230 pieces compose this in-house movement and contribute to the precision and the reliability of the Grande Date mechanism. The latter, as a world première, is characterized by his date setting and time setting functions that are mechanically independent. The Trio announced itself as the third element of a collection also gathering the Antiqua and the Classic: the « Futur Anterieur » (past future) collection.

In 2007, as the Classic production was to be stopped after 250 pieces, Halter wanted to mark up the event in the form of a special serial. To pay tribute to his brilliant forerunner Antide Janvier, nicknamed « the celestial watchmaker », Halter developed two astronomical complications that he integrated inside the round shape case of the Classic. In Baselworld appeared the Classic Janvier Lune et Soleil (Moon & Sun), a serial of 12 watches in platinum, displaying in addition to the time, an original featuring of the Equation of Time and the Lunar Cycle.

Classic Janvier Lune et Soleil

From 1998 to 2010, less than 500 watches bearing Vianney Halter’s signature were produced. Each of them bears a part of the creativity and passion that liven up the VH team. Each of them is an illustration of the strong demand for excellence that is the hallmark of La Manufacture Janvier.

Chronology:

1978: Enrolled at the Paris Watchmaking School.

1980: Graduated from the Paris Watchmaking School

1983: Worked in Paris as an independent craftsman restoring antique watches and clocks.

1990: Relocated to Switzerland to join a company set up to create unique timepieces for various clock and watch brands.

1994: Founded his own company – Janvier SA – in Sainte-Croix, in the Swiss Jura.

1998: Presented the Antiqua, the first watch of his collection, at the Basel Watch and Jewelry fair.

2000: Presented the Classic.

2001: Presented at the Basel Fair the Jumping Hour and Moonphase watch for Goldpfeil Genève.

2003: Won first prize at “Grand Prix de Genève “in the Technical Innovation category for the Opus 3 project. This project was for Harry Winston Rare Timepieces.

2006: Launched the Trio Grande Date: the third model in the “Futur Anterieur” collection.

2007: Presented the Classic JANVIER Sun & Moon: a special serial to mark up the end of production of the Classic model after 250 pieces are produced.

2009: 15th Anniversary of La Manufacture Janvier.

2010: Production and outcome of the Caliber VH 205 (Trio model), and delivery of the Classic JANVIER.

2011 : Awarded “2011 Best Watchmaker-Designer Prize” at ” Grand Prix de Genève “.

2013 : Unveiled the Deep Space Tourbillon, a futuristic style triple axis tourbillon watch.

La Manufacture Janvier
According to the immutable laws of horology, a watchmaking firm is considered a “manufacture” if it is able to make the “mouvement en blanc” or “blank caliber”. “Mouvement en blanc” is a ancient term which refers to the preliminary, roughly finished stage of a caliber. This stage is composed of the baseplate, bridges, and spring barrel. With the ability to produce “mouvements en blanc”, the company founded by Vianney Halter under the name of Janvier SA is fully entitled to the term “Manufacture”.

For example, the caliber VH205 fitted to the Trio is a movement designed, manufactured and assembled in Sainte-Croix. Although inspired by the Peseux 7001 caliber, the architecture of the VH205 is specific, as are the baseplate and the bridges. All those elements are designed, machined, finished, seted and even rhodium plated at La Manufacture Janvier. Only the anchor, balance and escape wheels are shared with the Peseux 7001. In the same way, the Antiqua’s caliber VH198, the Classic’s VH100 and the Contemporaine’s VH300 are developed around a few mechanical elements shared with the Lemania caliber 8810. The majority of parts are fabricated at La Manufacture Janvier; however, a few components – such as screws or springs – are produced to Vianney Halter’s technical specifications by the finest Swiss suppliers. La Manufacture Janvier has the knowledge, tools and machinery necessary for producing all these parts; however, some sub-contracting takes place for cost and manufacturing efficiency.

Nevertheless, subcontracted components are not used as received: all parts constituting the VH movements are systematically modified, finished and quality controlled at La Manufacture Janvier, no matter their origins, before being assembled and cased by a skilled watchmaker.

Furthermore, the scope of work of La Manufacture Janvier is not limited to the design and the making of movements but also includes the machining of the cases from precious metal solid blocks, as well as crafting of hands, dials, buckles and all the related accessories. All under the friendly but close supervision of Vianney Halter. Working in the atelier represents the majority of Halter’s daily schedule and no watch leaves the factory without passing through his hands. This requirement is a freely accepted constraint and one which places severe limits on production capacity and future development opportunities. However, this is the price to pay for the excellence that Vianney Halter demands from each and every timepiece bearing his name.

Design & Horology
Vianney Halter loves designers… and the feeling is mutual. Designers were involved in each watch that Halter has presented to date – under his own brand name as well as for others – as he wants to take full advantage of the creative contribution these professionals can offer.

The designer’s contribution consists of extracting, cultivating, expressing, distilling and formalizing concepts and ideas originating in Halter’s imaginative brain. Starting from of an universe of inspiration, a word, a desire, or a point of view, the process of creation is a true collaboration between the watchmaker and the designer. The latter brings an expertise in innovation and formalization of ideas. Therefore, his added value is much more than a simple talent for drawing. Designers help Vianney Halter to express his creative intentions about a project, then, step by step, to make it tangible under the form of sketches and drafts and, finally to finalize each details. Thank to this creation process, Halter’s timepieces are neither watches realized from nice and finalized drawings submitted to him nor mechanics created by him prior to being “dressed“ or “embodied“ by others. They are designed as a whole by Halter helped by designers. The results are timepieces whose originality and harmony originate from a creative exchange based around a strong concept.

Vianney Halter Watches
In the years since 1998, other timepieces have been developed alongside the “Futur Anterieur” collection. While these do not share the same design characteristics of the Antiqua, Classic and Trio, they undoubtedly bear the unmistakable seal of Vianney Halter’s creativity. This second collection of Les Montres Vianney Halter is known as “Halter Tempus”. The collection is a merger of the innovative ideas of a master watchmaker with the expressive genius of a designer. This collection challenges time in its own fashion. The first model in the “Halter Tempus” collection is the Contemporaine. This watch is a more modern looking derivation of the Antiqua and is a concept «out of time “. Watches created by Vianney Halter for other brands also belong to the collection “Halter Tempus”. Their contribution to the creative heritage of Vianney Halter may return in future in the form of new models.

Inspiration:Antide Janvier (1751-1835)
Antide Janvier was born on the 1st of July, 1751 in Brive, a small village in the commune of Lavans-les-Saint-Claude in the French Jura. Antide’s father, Claude Etienne Janvier, was both a farm worker and a master watchmaker. It was he who taught young Antide basic horology. Remarkably precocious, Antide Janvier was an eager student and relentless worker. His education was taken in charge by a clergyman, the abbot Tournier, who Janvier aptly addressed as “Le Maître” (the Master). Tournier was a man of many talents and had written a book on the motion of planets for the Saint-Sulpice Father’s Office of Physics.

Tournier taught the young Antide Latin, Greek, Astronomy, Mathematics, and Mechanical Science. At only fifteen years of age and after eighteen months of work, Janvier constructed his first masterpiece. This was a rotating planetary sphere which, when presented at the Academie des Sciences, Belles Lettres et Arts de Besançon, was awarded a prize. Janvier completed his education after serving as an apprentice to a Mr. Devanne. He then went on to construct several planetary complications.

In 1773 Janvier was presented to King Louis XV. However, the King however did not grant him the same warm welcome as had been bestowed on other clockmakers before him such as: C.S. Passemant, J. Le Roy, F. Berthoud and J.A. Lépine. In 1783, after a short stay in Verdun where he married, Janvier obtained the title of “Horloger– Mécanicien de Monsieur, Frère du Roi” (Clockmaker -Mechanic of Monsieur, Brother of the King).In 1784 the new King, Louis XVI, bought two planetary complications from Janvier. He was then invited to settle in Paris as “Horloger du Roi” (Clockmaker of the King). Over the next few years Janvier constructed many remarkable timepieces for the King as well as for other privileged customers.

He created clocks indicating the times of the tides, planetary clocks and astronomical clocks. The construction of these masterpieces is superb and their complications are at times difficult to understand. Despite remaining in contact with the King, Janvier was open-minded to the ideas of the Revolution. During this troubled period in 1792 his wife passed away and his work decreased.

Janvier spent a short spell in Morez in the French Jura where he managed an arms factory on behalf of the newly born French Republic and he also supervised the implementation of the wireless telegraph. Returning to Paris, Janvier was allocated a house at the Louvre Palace which allowed him to carry on working. Among other things, his work included assisting the committee implementing the decimal time system with their preliminary research. Under the Consulate and then the Empire, and despite his business struggling, Janvier managed to continue producing important timepieces: including a “departmental clock”, which was eventually acquired by Napoleon 1st in 1806. He also constructed an astronomical clock which was completed in 1801. This clock housed eight dials and featured moving spheres. Another clock, which was constructed for the Ambassador of Turkey, indicated the time in 52 places around the world.

However, in 1810 the economic crisis which was striking France pushed Janvier to go bankrupt. He carried on his clock-making activity nevertheless; however, on a much smaller scale. In 1814, during the Restoration, King Louis XVIII titled him “Mechanic-Astronomer Clockmaker of the King” and allocated him a modest pension. Continuing to be highly productive, Janvier produced standard clocks as well as masterpieces. The latter were often awarded prizes including Gold medals at the “Exposition des Produits de l’Industrie” (Industrial Product Exhibition).

Janvier also authored many books during this time as well as participating in the writing of treaties on clock-making. Unfortunately the majority have since been lost. The last years of Janvier’s long life were spent in Paris at 26 rue Saint André des Arts. His financial situation deteriorated with each year; however he remained mentally bright and sharp to the end.

On the 23rd of September 1835 Janvier passed away. He was 84 years old. All that remains of Janvier’s life’s work are the few incredible clocks which are housed in museums and private collections. Janvier was much more than the great clockmaker recognized by his peers. He had a talent for scientific investigation and mathematics as well as for art. Janvier was a man very much ahead of his time and is today greatly honored by watchmakers. Janvier merits pride of place among the greatest of horologers.

Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon

Vianney Halter, the award winning master watch maker behind many iconic and complex horological complications, unveils Deep Space Tourbillon, a futuristic style for dimensional triple axis tourbillon wristwatch dedicated to Deep Space Voyagers.

The Imagination and stories about the extraterrestrial adventures were always fascinated the human kind and gradually the man made machines and probes have crossed the ultimate limits of our solar system. Soon inhabited spacecrafts will make real the space trips as imagined by writers and movie makers. In future, the demand for machines and accessories used for such journeys will be increasing; especially for futuristic and highly reliable timekeeping instruments, which could survive and work in the harsh conditions of outer space.

This imagination, may be a future necessity, has triggered Vianney Halter to think about a futuristic four dimensional timepiece as a navigational and time reading instrument for outer space adventures. Just like marine chronometers that used to save many valuable lives during ocean journeys in old ages. So he developed a huge central 3 axis tourbillon surrounded by the hour & minute hands that could offer a four dimensional effect of time and spot calculation.

For example, explorers of the XVIIth century used to take onboard vessels marine chronometers, to calculate the location – in longitude – of the vessel at sea. The method consisted in comparing the local time – as it could be deducted from measuring the height of the sun in the sky – to the time of the departure harbor – as it can be read on the dial of the onboard chronometer.  These antique instruments were a source of inspiration when he designed his Antiqua Perpetual Calendar, presented in 1998 as the first timepiece branded “Vianney Halter”.

Marine chronometers were accurate timekeepers and used for navigational purposes by the crew at sea .In harsh conditions of the sea, the Marine chronometers were performed as life saving navigational instruments for the lost sailors at sea by directing them to sail in correct geographical positions and precision time keeping.

In space trips, the voyagers use radio communication links with the control centers in earth to know about his/her position. As the most recent scientific experiences show, man in space gradually loses the perception of positioning as well as the perception of time passing by. In space, due to low gravity, there is no more top, no more down, no more depth. In outer space the sun has become a star like any other and the Earth in an invisible mass of rocks. There is no daylight or night shade. There is only the infinity of surrounding universe, a deep dark black sky pitted by trillions and trillions of motionless stars. Even more, the link with Earth is slackened as the radio communications with the control centers take hours or days to reach spaceships hurtling through the cosmos. A human being in space is lost as were lost sailors at sea. Considering these factors, Vianney Halter has started thinking about ultimate time instrument that a human being shall take with him for his trip in outer space.

Vianney Halter has imagined a wristwatch that would be likely to remind the man in space the four dimensions (length, height, breadth and time) that are his frame of reference while on Earth. Rather than a scientific instrument, this watch is a philosophical artifact that maintains the link between the crew of a spacecraft and the mankind that has sent them as explorers and ambassadors. This futuristic wristwatch not only displays the time, but also describes the motion in every dimension of space.

At first sight, Deep Space Tourbillon plunges you in a strangely familiar world: a mix of futuristic visions from Sci-Fi and present pictures from space exploration. A sapphire dome surmounts a round shaped titanium case and houses a big triple axis tourbillon implemented in the centre of the watch.

The latter is surrounded by an index ring with a surprisingly classical “chemin de fer” graduation. Two curved blued steel hands lean out of the watch periphery and spread above the tourbillon.

The tourbillon cage – that contains the balance wheel, the anchor and the escape wheel – rotates in only 40 sec. Here is the 1st axis. It is installed inside an ultra-light structure that rotates in 6 min around a 2nd axis which is perpendicular to the one of the tourbillon cage. The whole set is suspended in a cradle that turns in the plane of the watch main-plate in 30 min. This is the 3rd axis. Due to these desynchronized revolution speeds, the tourbillon moves in a never-ending ballet, showing second after second a different point of view onto the graceful mechanism.

Nothing chronometric in these various durations of revolutions; it is rather philosophical: each dimension (axis) has its own rhythm, its own time. Time is represented by the hour and minutes hands which surround the triple axis tourbillon. This achieves the 4-dimension-space representation envisioned and wanted by Vianney Halter for the deep space voyager.

Deep Space Tourbillon is a genuine timepiece that is  inspired from so many factors, thanks to the experience, the rigour and the work of a genuine watchmaker. Though quite different from his previous opus, Deep Space Tourbillon is not fully cutoff from these: one can see in the strap lugs a derivation of the ones of the Antiqua while the riveted winding crown is a stylistic link to the “Futur Antérieur” collection that was the founding stone of Les Montres Vianney Halter.

Technical details
Model: Deep Space Tourbillon
Type: Triple Axis Central Tourbillon Wristwatch
Collection: Halter Tempus
Case Dimensions: 46 mm diameter – 10 mm thickness
Overall Dimensions: 50 mm x 53 mm x 20 mm
Case material: Titanium
Crystal: 40,6 mm diameter sapphire glass with anti-reflect coating.
Movement: In-house developed VH 113
Balance frequency: 21,600 v.p.h.
Tourbillon cage revolution time: 40 sec
Crossbar revolution time: 6 min
Cradle revolution time: 30 min.
Number of jewels: 41
Hands: special peripheral curved shape hands
Winding: manual
Power Reserve: 55 hours
Strap: Hand sewn, goat leather special strap with crocodile leather inserts
Buckle: Titanium folding clasp
Total weight: 90 gr.

Vianney Halter Futur Anterieur Collection: The Trio Grande Date in Rectangular case

The Trio is the third model in the “Futur Anterieur” collection following on from the Antiqua and the Classic. The Trio now features several innovations which should please fans of the unconventional haute horlogerie conceived and created by Vianney Halter.

The Trio shares the same riveted portholes common to all of the “Futur Anterieur” collection. There are several portholes as with the Antiqua; however, for the first time these are now distributed on a rectangular case.

The latter is curved so as to match with the shape of the wrist. Thus, the watch is very comfortable to wear even for small wrist. The top of the case is brush-finished while the sides are mirror-polished. The angles are round-beveled. All the finishing is done by hand. The main porthole contains the hour and minute hands. These are hand-crafted in blued-steel and rotate over a dial similar to the one found on the Classic. The second-hand is in the smaller porthole located under and to the left of the main dial.

Last, but certainly not least, there is Grande Date. This is viewed through the two smaller portholes at the bottom right. This differs from the original prototype – which had only a simple date mechanism – and required the design of a new movement that was developed and is now produced in-house at La Manufacture Janvier.

Vianney Halter developed the all new VH205 caliber with 40 jewels specifically for the Trio. Any available space inside the case was used to house the base movement and its Grande Date mechanism. As a result, the VH 205 caliber is rectangular as the Trio case is.This caliber also is innovative as Vianney Halter wants it to be also user-friendly: it allows quick setting of the Grande Date utilizing the crown only. This may seem to be a few but it shall be kept in mind that this kind of function usually requires the complementary action on a pushbutton. In addition, it is usually recommended not to attempt to set the time around midnight when the date is changing because there is a serious risk of damaging the movement when turning the crown anti-clockwise. Vianney finds this is not convenient and designed his Grande Date so as to have the date system and the time system mechanically independent during setting operations.

The winding crown has 3 positions:
– Winding.
– Date setting.
– Time setting.

Thanks to this system, passing midnight while setting the time does not affect the date. Moreover, setting the time clockwise or anticlockwise is possible even around midnight without any risk of damaging the movement.This involves more than 50 parts for the Grande Date mechanism only. But this allows for the time or the date to be set easily and safely at any time not only does this sophisticated complication make the Trio Grande Date more convenient to use, but thanks to the elimination of a pushbutton, it also enhances both water and dust resistance.

Last but not least, as the time setting does not affect the date display, one need an indicator that displays whether it is am or pm, otherwise there is one chance on two that the date changes at noon instead of midnight. Therefore, Halter implemented a sight hole on the main dial at two o’clock that becomes darker from noon onwards and lighter from midnight onward so as to show at a glance whether it is am or pm.

The above perfectly summarizes the spirit of Vianney Halter’s creation: it is sophisticated “inside” so as to be reliable and easy-to-use “from outside”. The VH 205 design is based on the Peseux 7001 caliber architecture and uses the anchor, the balance wheel and escapement of the latter. All the rest (main plate, bridges, gear train, power system, automatic winding system and, of course, the Grande Date complication) are designed and produced in-house.The balance wheel frequency is 28’800 beats per hour. Power reserve is approximately 60 hours. To preserve an uninterrupted view of the VH205 caliber through the sapphire display back, the Trio Grande Date is fitted with the so-called “mysterious mass” winding rotor.

The Trio receives the same fastidious attention to detail as all models in the “Futur Anterieur” collection. Each of the 60 rivets – winding crown 24, bezels 30, buckle 6 – are machined, polished and crafted with meticulous care. The blued-steel hands are hand-crafted. The five sapphire crystals are treated with an anti-reflection coating. The dials are composed of seven discrete elements. Those are engraved and hand-finished making each Trio unique.

The Trio is available either with a yellow gold, white gold or rose gold case, all with white rhodium-plated dials and white gold rivets. In total there are three versions of the Trio available. The watch is supplied with a hand-sewn leather strap available in several colors and made of genuine alligator or goat leather. The strap has a tang buckle matching the case metal. The Trio is delivered in its leather box with a certificate of authenticity.

Vianney Halter Futur Antérieur Classic

When the Classic was launched in 2000, it echoed the mechanical sophistication of the Antiqua in a watch with one single dial indicating hours, minutes and seconds.

Repeating the style elements of its elder sibling, the Classic expressed by means of the form of the case, the glass porthole, the use of rivets, the lugs, and the tang buckle, all the force of the “Futur Antérieur” concept. The production ceased after only 250 pieces were produced as Vianney Halter wanted to free time and resources for other projects. Although the model is now discontinued, it is still topical as some are always circulating either on the second-hand market or auction sales or on the occasion of collector fairs.

Construction
The Classic benefits from the same meticulous drive for excellence which typifies the “Futur Antérieur” collection. Each of the 46 rivets – 24 in the winding crown, 12 on the bezel, 6 on the buckle and 4 on the lugs– are machined, polished and implemented with the same fastidious attention to detail. The blued-steel hands are hand-crafted, while the two sapphire crystals (front and display back) are coated with anti-reflective treatment on both faces. The dial is composed of four elements: each hand-engraved and hand-finished ensuring every Classic is unique.

Movement
The Classic is fitted with the automatic caliber VH100 with 27 jewels. The VH100 is built on the base of mechanical elements – balance wheel and gear wheels- shared with the Lemania caliber 8810. But the VH100 uses specific baseplate and bridges designed by Vianney Halter and manufactured at La Manufacture Janvier.The automatic winding system is entirely designed and manufactured at La Manufacture Janvier. The balance wheel frequency is 28’800 oscillations per hour. The power reserve is approximately 40 hours.

Mysterious mass rotor
To ensure an uninterrupted view of the VH100 caliber through the sapphire display back, the Classic is fitted with the so-called ” mysterious mass ” winding rotor .

Materials
The Classic is available with a case either made of yellow gold case or rose gold, rhodium plated metal dials and white gold rivets. The watch is also available in a white gold case with contrasting yellow or rose gold rivets and with the dial matching the rivets.

An all-white metal Classic is the final option, with both case and rivets in white gold and a rhodium-plated dial. In total there are five versions of the Classic 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. The Classic is delivered in a leather box with a certificate of authenticity.

Vianney Halter Contemporaine, The First Model from Halter Tempus Collection

In the years since 1998, other timepieces have been developed alongside the “Futur Antérieur” collection. While these do not share the same design characteristics of the Antiqua, Classic and Trio, they undoubtedly bear the unmistakable seal of Vianney Halter’s creativity. This second collection of Les Montres Vianney Halter is known as “Halter Tempus”.

The collection is a merger of the innovative ideas of a master watchmaker with the expressive genius of a designer. This collection challenges time in its own fashion. The first model in the “Halter Tempus” collection is the Contemporaine. This watch is a more modern looking derivation of the Antiqua and is a concept ” out of time “. Watches created by Vianney Halter for other brands also belong to the collection “Halter Tempus”. Their contribution to the creative heritage of Vianney Halter may return in future in the form of new models.

The Contemporaine derives from the Antiqua the concept of displaying the various functions by means of several dials gathered onto a round case. However, that is where the comparison ends as the Contemporaine drops the characteristic elements of the “Futur Antérieur” collection and offers an “out of time” style. Smaller than the Antiqua, the Contemporaine suits the slimmer wrist or those seeking a more refined discretion.

Display
The Contemporaine features an original display composed of four discrete dials. In the larger dial, hours and minutes are indicated with classical hands. On the left, a smaller dial shows the day of week and the date appears below in a tiny aperture. A final dial displays the moonphase.

Construction
All details are treated with the same passion for excellence that is the hallmark of La Manufacture Janvier. The top plate is ringed, its edge is diamond cut and the bezels are finely polished.The sapphire crystals are shaped to provide a magnifying effect. All crystals are coated with an anti-reflection treatment on both faces.

Movement
The Contemporaine is fitted with the automatic caliber VH300 with 36 jewels. The VH300 is built on the base of mechanical elements – balance wheel and gear wheels- shared with the Lemania caliber 8810. However, the VH300t uses specific baseplate and bridges designed by Vianney Halter and manufactured at La Manufacture Janvier as well as the moonphase complication and the automatic winding mechanism. The balance wheel frequency is 28’800 oscillations per hour. The power reserve is approximately 40 hours.

Mysterious mass rotor
To preserve an uninterrupted view of the VH300 caliber through the sapphire display back, the Contemporaine is fitted with the so-called “mysterious mass” winding rotor.

Materials
The Contemporaine is only available in platinum. There is also a Contemporaine Joaillerie, the case of which is set of diamonds, sapphire or ruby jewels. 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. The Contemporaine is delivered in its box with a certificate of authenticity.

Vianney Halter Futur Antérieur Antiqua

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.

Display
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.

Movement
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.

Vianney Halter Futur Antérieur Classic Janvier Lune et Soleil (Moon and Sun) – Equation of Time and Lunar Cycle, Platinum Edition

When he founded his manufacture in Sainte-Croix in 1994, Vianney Halter baptized it La Manufacture Janvier to pay tribute to one of the most extraordinary watchmakers of all times : Antide Janvier (1751-1835).

Antide Janvier was known as the “celestial clockmaker” because he excelled in creating timepieces representing the movements of the celestial bodies . In 2007, Vianney Halter created the Classic Janvier Lune et Soleil (Moon and Sun), displaying in addition to the official time, the Equation of Time and the Lunar Cycle. This is a strictly limited series of 12 pieces, all crafted in platinum and numbered 01 P 801 to 12 P 812.

The Classic was launched in 2000 as part of Halter’s Futur Antérieur collection. It has been deriving the concept unveiled with the Antiqua while offering a simpler watch only displaying hours, minutes and seconds within a single dial. Repeating the style elements of its elder sibling, the Classic expresses by means of the form of the case, the glass porthole, the use of rivets, the lugs, and the tang buckle, all the force of the “Futur Antérieur” concept. The production ceased after only 250 pieces made the happiness of horology connoisseurs. The Classic Janvier takes up the silhouette of the Classic but the case is enlarged up to 40 mm (vs 36 mm) and widened so as to house those two “astronomical“ complications.

Astronomy et Chronometry : Equation of Time (EoT)
At the beginning of horology, clocks used to be adjusted regarding solar dials. The latter display time as a projection of the actual position of the sun in the sky. This is called Real Solar Time. The invention of mechanical clock introduced a new concept : the Mean Solar Time. As matter of fact, clocks mechanically work on the basis of a 24 hours cycle which is the mean duration of a day (averaged out over a year) – i.e. the time for the sun to come back day after day at its highest position in the sky (meridian or noon).

Therefore, the time (i.e : strictly speaking the position of the sun in the sky) indicated by the clock is the Mean Solar Time that is slightly different than the Real Solar Time. In other words, the sun is not exactly where the clock says it is ; It may be as much as 16 minutes off. But where does this difference come from ?

Two astronomical phenomena combine and the result is real duration of a day varies along the year from 23 h 59 min 40 sec to 24 h 00 min 30 sec. First phenomenon is the earth’s axis being tilted at 23°27’ relative to its orbital plane around the sun. The second phenomenon is the shape of the earth’s orbit being elliptical rather than circular.

From one day to another, there is only a few sec variation (up to 30 sec around Christmas). But these variations accumulates and the sun can be up to 16 minutes 21 seconds behind and 14 minutes 24 seconds ahead the Solar Mean Time. This time lag could have had dramatical consequences when the position of vessels was calculated from the observed position of the sun in the sky compared with the time given by a marine chronometer.

The knowledge of the Equation of Time (difference between RST and MST) was essential as one minute lag induces a longitude error of up to 27 km on the equator. So as to feature this complication, Vianney Halter adds in the round case of the Classic, a yellow gold hand bearing a symbolic representation of the sun. Once your watch is carefully set to the Mean Solar Time of your geographical reference (e.g. the Greenwich Meridian Time) and the integrated annual calendar set to the current day of the year, you can intuitively read at a glance the Real Solar Time (at your geographical reference) by means of the hour blued steel hand and the gold sun hand. If you compare this RST to the position of the sun in the sky, you can deduct how far (in longitude) you are from your geographical reference.

That is the way that used to do HM Navy officers or les officiers de la Marine du Roy since the XVIIth century. Real Solar Time and Mean Solar Time coincide only four times per year, at approximately the 16th April, 14th June, 1st September 1 and 25th December. On these days the blued steel minutes hand and the yellow gold hand will converge.

The Moon Cycle
The moon waxes and wanes within a cycle that lasts 29 days 12 hours 44 minutes and 2,8 seconds. It is quite paradoxical to consider that watchmakers have designed long time ago moon complications so accurate (29 days 12 hours 45 minutes) that it would gain only one day after 122 years, meanwhile the display of the moon-phase on the dial is so approximate !

Vianney Halter finds it more consistent to have a reasonably accurate mechanism (his looses only one day after 2 years 7 months and 20 days of operation) while allowing the moon-phase to be set (and read) with a half-day accuracy. To display day after day the exact situation of the Moon, Halter implements a very special double hand set. One hand shows the current day of the cycle while bearing a white disk which represents the moon. On a separate hand is a black disk which gradually covers and uncovers the white gold disk, thus displaying the evolution of the phases of the moon in the sky.

A special edition for a famous name
The representations of solar time and moon cycle on the Classic Moon & Sun are inspired by a famous regulator clock that Antide Janvier designed and crafted in 1788 for France’s King Louis XVI. These masterpiece is now housed in the Musée du Temps in Besançon (Eastern France).

Today, the Manufacture Janvier gathers young talented and passionate watchmakers representing 8 different nationalities (Swiss, French, Portuguese, American, German, Danish, Italian and Japanese). They contribute to the manufacturing of exceptional timekeepers bearing Vianney Halter’s signature. Halter wants this watch to be an homage paid to Janvier as well as a grateful glance to the team working with him in La Manufacture Janvier in Sainte Croix.

Construction
Although it looks quite similar to the VH Classic, the Classic Janvier definitely is a different watch : the case in bigger as well as the strap lugs, the bezel rivets and the crown.

Finally, there is no common element with its forerunner. Furthermore, its movement was specially designed so as to accommodate the complications for the Equation of Time and the Lunar Cycle as well as the “petite seconde”(small seconds) hand. Displaying the Equation of Time requires the watch to be set on the current day of the year. For this purpose there is on the back of the mechanism a ring which is hand-engraved with 365 graduations as well as the indication of months, equinoxes and solstices. Another blued steel hand travels this ring and displays the current day that can be set by means of the central special screw with a dedicated tool.The whole mechanism, including the Equation of Time special cam, can be seen through the sapphire display back and the “mysterious mass” winding rotor.
Mysterious mass winding rotor
Setting the Equation of Time requires the watch to be set on the current day of the year. For this purpose there is on the back of the mechanism a ring which is hand-engraved with 365 graduations as well as the indication of month, equinox and solstice. Another blued steel hand displays the current day that can be set by means of the central special screw with a dedicated tool. The whole mechanism, including the Equation of Time special cam, can be seen through the sapphire display back and the “mysterious mass” winding rotor.
There is only one version of the Classic Janvier, made of platinum 950 with rhodium plated metal dials. The watch is supplied with a hand-sewn alligator leather strap available in several colours. The strap has a tang buckle in white gold. As an automatic watch including complications working on long-term cycles, the Classic Janvier requires to remain wound so as to avoid it to be fully set again. Therefore, each piece is delivered with a special edition of the rotary winding box and its certificate of authenticity.