It is not often the case we can call a watch entirely unique and original, but if someone were to get close, Vianney Halter would have to be in the conversation. One of the early pioneers of the independent movement, Vianney Halter existed before collecting independents was a trend. Small scale and taking his time, he has become known today for his distinctive aesthetic.
This is the Vianney Halter Classic, one of his most iconic, next to the more complicated Antiqua. A time-only piece, it is housed in a 36mm 18k yellow gold case and features rivets on the edge of the case along with a studded crown. Two nibs on the top and bottom of the case connect the lugs which hold the strap, rounding off this undoubtedly steampunk-style watch. The case is finished with a circular brushing at the top and polished sides, adding a nice depth to the overall look. Wearing and winding the watch, I found it to be a very pleasant tactile experience, from the grip of the studded crown and touching the different surfaces of the watch.
The dial is incredibly beautiful on this Classic, with radial stylised Arabic numerals sitting atop a circular brushed silver surface. Towards the centre of the dial, there is contrast with the graining and this is topped off with the delicately beautiful curved blued hands.
Powering this watch is a heavily modified Lemania 8810 with a mystery ‘sapphire’ rotor that allows the user to see the movement undisturbed. There are weights on the periphery of the rotor to allow effective oscillation and the movement looks simple, but is nevertheless expertly finished with curved angles along the way.
At first glance, the Vianney Halter Classic looks like a relatively simple and novel watch, but the more you look at it the more you realise how much attention to detail has gone into it- from the case design to the textures of the dial and finishing of the movement. Limited to 250 pieces and released in 2001, this is truly a rare and exclusive watch that looks completely unique to what is available in the market today.