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Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon Watch Hands-On

Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

It took me several years to finally track down a Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon watch to check out hands-on. My opportunity came only after seeing the man himself wearing it. It was back in 2013 when Vianney Halter released this science-fiction-themed über-gizmo that playfully combined traditional haute horology with modern themes in a way that was still elegant (i.e., does not turn off women). Vianney Halter himself is a lively chap, but is perhaps too much of a traditional watchmaker for his own good. Years of being mostly a one-man operation has limited his bandwidth, and in 2013 the Deep Space Tourbillon was the first new watch Vianney had presented in a while.

Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Be sure to click on the instagram video above for a time-lapse recording of the tourbillon’s operation

Halter perhaps made a wise decision to stay relatively low-profile over the last decade or so. His keen inventiveness and sense of design likely made his name and personality an acquisition target by speculative investors. Being associated with the Harry Winston Opus project and designing the poster-child of high-end steampunk watches (the Antiqua) might have made expanding the Vianney Halter brand worthwhile. No doubt, some people tried. However, doing so is risky business for watchmakers who aren’t business-minded, and Vianney admittedly probably fits that description. He was perhaps smart to avoid losing the rights to his own name, as well as the direction of his vision. It is true that his vision has been limited, but at least it is his.

Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Vianney Halter was among the first people in today’s high-end watch industry to say it was really OK to produce traditional mechanical watches inspired by things the watchmaker likes versus some element of the past. Halter was of course in good company, but prior to him it might have been very odd to wear a triple-axis tourbillon watch based on Star Trek. Today, we barely bat an eyelash at the notion that a $200,000-plus timepiece is themed after a science fiction universe franchise. All watches of all types began with someone’s imagination – and here we see just that, only more explicitly so.

Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

I caught up with Mr. Halter, not in watchmaking land, but in watch-buying land. While at the second iteration of Dubai Watch Week, myself and our own David Bredan noticed that Vianney Halter was teaching a watchmaking class. We weren’t signed up for it, but we went anyway as standby students.

Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Arriving early, we ran into Vianney and went straight for his wrist. Cordial greetings aside, David and I molested the Deep Space Tourbillon in just the way such a lovely timepiece was made for. With its high-domed sapphire crystal and intricate movement that is mostly above the dial, the Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon is not altogether different from a lot of other watches which exist today. That said, it does enjoy a unique refinement on the wrist and is remarkably well-done. Halter clearly used the right partners in making the timepiece a success. Nevertheless, it is still an extremely rare watch. Three years after its release, only about 25 Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon watches have been produced. Halter claims that he is working on some aesthetic differences for a different version of it that will come out in the near future.

Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

While much of the Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon is themed after the Deep Space Nine space station from the Star Trek universe, the watch does look like a 1950s-era UFO on the wrist. In titanium, the watch wears extremely comfortably and is remarkably light on the wrist. The profile is really similar to the MB&F Legacy Machine 1 or 2, but it has a totally distinct feel to it.

Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon is 46mm wide and the case detail is very impressive. This is the type of meticulously crafted high-end watch that many lovers of independent watchmaking are searching for. It is perhaps Vianney’s lack of really caring about the rest of the industry (at least he sometimes comes across that way) which is likely to thank for his watches being such a complete expression of himself. The Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon is clearly the watch that he himself wants to wear.

Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The meat of the watch is the highly visible triple-axis tourbillon the dances in different directions right in the middle of the dial. There are two unique hands in blue which orbit the dial to indicate the hours and minutes. If you look carefully, you’ll notice that the minute hand jumps one position each minute – which is quite cool.

Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The first tourbillon axis point makes a full rotation each 30 minutes; the second, each six minutes; and the third, each minute. This is mechanical animated artistry, and it works wonderfully to pull on the emotional heartstrings of any gear head. Really, watching the Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon and its caliber VH 113 movement in action is pure watch porn… and I mean that in the best way possible. We were able to capture the watch well in images, as it is surprisingly photogenic given the domed crystal. If not done properly, these crystals typically suffer from enormous amounts of glare, which isn’t really the case here. Little details like wearing comfort and the ability to properly enjoy the interior of the dial make the Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon particularly refined given the theme.

Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The manually wound movement has dual mainspring barrels that last for 55 hours while the operation of the balance wheel is 3Hz. Reading the time on the Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon… isn’t exactly the main priority, but if there were ever a watch to refer to as a “statement piece,” it is this. And it isn’t as though it is illegible. Vianney Halter himself does not claim this timepiece to exist within the world of practical timepieces, but as I said above, it isn’t unruly to wear either (not at all).

Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

While we could spend a lot more time discussing the technical details of the Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon in terms of the movement and construction, my enduring feeling is that, as an art watch, a the visuals of a timepiece such as this can easily speak for themselves. As is the case with many pieces of fine watchmaking, appreciating them from afar in static images (and even video) cannot replace the experience of seeing them in person – ideally, on you wrist. aBlogtoWatch does its best to bring you a hands-on experience from afar – and we’d like to think for the most part we do a good job. With that said, there are items from time to time like the Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon that are simply too easy to dismiss unless you get up close and personal.

Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

So enjoy the pictures and video to get a good sense of the watch as much as possible. It also appears that the price has gone up a bit, from 180,000 Swiss francs a few years ago to the price Mr. Halter quoted me (no, I wasn’t aiming to buy it… just yet) of 220,000 Swiss francs. vianney-halter.com

About the Author

Fueled by an unshakable love for horology and a general curiosity for intricate things, Ariel Adams founded aBlogtoWatch in 2007 as a means of sharing his passion. Since then, ABTW has become the highest trafficked blog on luxury timepieces, and Ariel has become a contributor to other online publications such as Forbes, Departures and Tech Crunch, to name just a few. His conversational writing style and inclusive attitude brings a wider appreciation for watches the world over, and that's just the way he likes it.

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  • word-merchant

    It’s a watch Jim, but not as we know it”

  • I visited Tim and Bart Gronefeld about a month ago and they spoke highly of their friend Vianney. All of them really love what they do and it shows in their expression of horology.

    Very cool watch. And comments like, “it doesn’t fit under a shirt cuff”, or “it doesn’t have a date indication”, or “why does it cost that much” totally miss the point of this piece of mechanical art.

    I think that like Max Busser, Mr Halter builds what he likes and isn’t afraid to draw upon what he personally likes in contemporary culture. And if other people like it too and buy a watch – so much the better.

    I jealous of you guys Ariel and David. Thanks for checking out the watch hands on – it is a vicarious pleasure for sure.

  • It’s cool and amazing do doubt, but yet another watch in which “Reading the time… isn’t exactly the main priority”? Call me old fashioned, but I think reading the time should be the main priority on any watch. Especially since the purpose of that awesome spinning, whirling, turbo-thingy gizmo is to make said timekeeping more precise. I think “watch porn” is a particularly apt metaphor here…stimulating and exciting but far from as satisfying as a real relationship.

    • IG

      I’d call it mechanical art rather.

    • That’s an interesting metaphor and I see your point. But some of us have more complicated, arty, perhaps even weird, relationships with our watches that I would argue are even more satisfying. You have your conventional relationship with the girl next door, some want to be with Yoko Ono or some extremely high maintenance supermodel; granted yours might last longer but there will be plenty of fun all round. Even supermodels tell the time, it just takes a couple of extra seconds.

    • Gokart Mozart

      Some watches are OK to be a bit difficult to read. It depends on the type of watch it is and what it is to be used for. Obviously this watch is not ideal for a pilot for example, but it is not trying to be a pilots watch.

      Take the Linde Spirolite that was reviewed acouple of days ago. That is apparently a sports watch, a watch where you should be able to glance at the watch and tell the time. There telling the time is a problem. Here it is not.

      Take footwear for example. They should protect your feet and be comfortable to wear. You look at womens shoes and Jimmy Choos etc and that is not the priority for them.

      • None the less they still protect the feet.

        • Gokart Mozart

          This still tells the time.

          If you where a shoe and you have to wear a plaster on the back of your ankle to stop blisters and or bleeding, does it qualify for protecting your feet?

      • The Victorious Boogur T. Wang

        One for the display case.

  • I have also met the man and worn the watch, and what an experience both were! This is mind-melting horological art that just happens to tell the time too.

    • ??????

      Congrats on the book! Just found you are the author of Wristwatch Handbook 🙂 Looking forward to get my hands on it.

      • Enjoy Mikita!!

        • Shinytoys

          so that’s not just a hat rack between you shoulders 🙂

          Kudos !

  • SuperStrapper

    Mechanically fascinating. I think the finished product is actually somewhat ugly, but the concept is cool enough to work past that (even though I’ve never been a Star Trek fan). The organic hornback strap looks like a miss and doesnt match the rest of the watch, although I don’t know that a bracelet would be in line here either.

    Lol @ ‘the price went up a bit’. Yeah, $50k is just a smidge.

    • Bill W

      Speaking of Star Trek, if you look back 2 articles, the picture of the Frederique Constant with the analytics clip on it kinda looks like the Starship Enterprise.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    ” Wow ! that’s an incredible timepiece you have on. I can tell you’r a forward thinking kinda guy. Can you tell me what time it is ? ”
    ” Sure, lemme just get my $10 Casio out my pocket “

    • SuperStrapper

      Surely you jest. Despite how ‘far out’ this design is, it’s actually incredibly easy to read, all things considered.

      Unless of course you just mean that you only know how to tell the time digitally, and a traditional handset eludes you, regardless of design.

      • Raymond Wilkie

        You assume incorrectly, and don’t call me Shirley.

    • I have read hundreds of similar comments from enthusiasts about skeletons and other watches like this. I honestly don’t get it, I can read the time on them just fine. Yes it’s a fraction more complicated to decode than a basic two hander but come on, are we not watch people? Are we not capable of reading a complicated dial?

      Is this not like a petrol head calling a manual transmission car too hard to drive or a film lover calling a foreign film too complicated to watch???

      • Raymond Wilkie

        I would say i was quite geeky, but i have my limits

      • Lincolnshire Poacher

        Cripes, that was actually quite stirring. I was ready to jump up and defend my fellow watch-ophiles against the ignorant and DanialWellington wearing masses. “Are we not watch people”? YES!
        You’ve missed your vocation, you’re a natural demagogue.
        🙂

        • Look I just want to make horology great again.

          • Lincolnshire Poacher

            Haha… Very witty, (talking of demagogues).

      • Berndt Norten

        Are we not men?? And…. it’s your very foreign movie….

      • The time display on this watch is pretty basic. I use the “at a glance” method to determine when to throw a “hard to read” comment. If I have to stare at the dial for more than a couple seconds to determine the time, it’s a turn off. And this does not mean I think the watch is poorly designed. Just not one I would want to own.

    • That’s what we have cell phone for.

  • Lincolnshire Poacher

    Great fun. I agree with the idea that its more of a piece of mechanical art, so to judge it purely by how functional a watch it is, is a mistake.
    I think the Star Trek connection does it a disservice. An interfering bunch of space fascists flying around bleating about dilithium crystals and breaking their own prime directive is hardly edifying. (I’m not alone here, I know a lot of people find the type of society portrayed in Star Trek as very proto-Nazi).
    Okay, I’m off the horse, you can throw things now.

    • Didn’t watch much Star Trek, right? Or watched it thru some coloured glasses of some sort?

      • Lincolnshire Poacher

        Lived with a chap who watched them on Freeview repeat over and over and again. It was his house and he had control of the remote control so I saw quite a lot. I’ve seen next generation, deep space nine, that one with Janeway -Beyond?
        I absolutely stand by my perception. A militarised society who use the language of liberty, encourage conformity, and view other races/species with sort of colonially benevolent “we know best and are morally superior”.
        I am quite happy to accept other people have a different perception of the program. It is a light entertainment program after all; and I believe there is a very large number of adults that like dressing up as people in the program, and going to conventions dressed as such.
        Cheers.

        • Federation society is not militarized at all, maybe starfleet is with its structure of command. But if it is your perception what can I say? … you saw Star Trek but you did not watch it really.

          • Lincolnshire Poacher

            Fair enough. My friend argues as you do. And to be honest I’ve sat there and watched many episodes there with him. I’m not in the business of picking fights with ABTW regulars.

          • Me neither 🙂 Just funny how different people interpret the same things differently 🙂

  • wallydog2

    Congratulations to Mr. Halter, if for nothing else, for daring to be different. His watch gives whole new meanings to “the watch as jewelry”, “the watch as curio”, “the watch as ‘objet d’art'”, all legitimate aspects in the horology culture.

  • srs144

    Whether you like the watch or not doesn’t matter. I think we can all agree that the photography here is par excellence.

    • SuperStrapper

      9/16 is particularly engaging.

  • IanE

    Surely one of the most original horological minds alive. The Antiqua captures the sci-fi of the past whilst this one capture the sci-fi of the (almost) present – one of each please, Santa!

  • Shinytoys

    Very slick…most likely get mowed down by a bus while walking and galking…

    • Berndt Norten

      One could always wear it in another appendage

      • Shinytoys

        good point…:)

  • Thomas Halvorsen

    220 000CHF for something less accurate than a $10 quartz

    • If you consider Quartz-levels of accuracy as the ultimate prerequisite for a watch you aren’t going to have much luck with any mechanical watch. You could basically copy paste that sentence and add the pricing of every other mech watch out there.

      • Thomas Halvorsen

        I could, but only tourbillion watches are the most redundant

        • To you perhaps, but a tourbillon that rotates on both horizontal and vertical planes is somewhat useful, not to mention attractive, to plenty of others. Whereas a $10 Quartz is pretty accurate garbage.

          • SuperStrapper

            You’re feeding trolls.

          • I got that gooood troll catnip.

          • Thomas Halvorsen

            More accurate garbage, tyvm

          • You’re welcome, but it’s no big secret.

          • Thomas Halvorsen

            I take it that english is your third language

          • Lol, and you know more about trolling than high horology.

          • Thomas Halvorsen

            I hope your whole family dies of asscancer

          • Lincolnshire Poacher

            Wow, Thomas Halvorsen, you say such clever stuff.

            I bet you’re a really impressive person in real life.

    • Berndt Norten

      With apologies to Eliot, thats not it. That’s not it at all.

      • Thomas Halvorsen

        I’ll be glad to fill you in on why my statement is correct

    • And clapped out Yugo no doubt gets better fuel economy than a Ferrari 458 and cost a bunch less. But not really the same thing at all. This is mechanical art that also happens to display the time.

      • Thomas Halvorsen

        Ferraris go fast. Are you saying that this watch goes fast?

        • And they can also go slow. Reminds me of the answer a Concorde pilot gave. He told a lady how high the supersonic jet could fly. So she then asked how low can it fly. And he replied, “All the way to the ground madam”.

  • A_watches

    if ever there was a watch you could never get bored from! mesmerising video

  • cg

    Love the 3D effect … The time and space continuum. To be worn at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

    • Lincolnshire Poacher

      I’d have the fish course. Then I could say, “so long, and thanks for all the fish”….

      …..Eerie whistling and tumbleweed….

    • Berndt Norten

      and listening to Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time”?!

    • The Victorious Boogur T. Wang

      ” 42 “

      • Lincolnshire Poacher

        Yes… But what was the question? Need to ask the mice to build a whole new computer.

  • It would go really well with my Bat’leth !

  • Andi

    Mechanical Haute Couture. Wonderful!

  • Berndt Norten

    The only ‘gripe’ (it seems so silly to do so) with this otherwise perfect watch is the off-white ‘dial.’ It looks cheap. Space is jet black. What gives? Having said that, one could spend this sort of coin on a joke of a watch like a RM….

  • awildermode

    Deep Space Nine inspired…it would be fitting for one of the Kardashian’s.

  • Shawn Lavigne

    i can appreciate it for what it is. or maybe i can’t – what do i know about the complexity/difficulty of creating and manufacturing a triple axis tourbillon? absolutely nothing. but i don’t really like the way it looks. i mean i really like the look of the insides, but that’s about it.

  • Yojimbo

    I have no idea what time it is, but I would like to spend time with that watch

  • Abang

    Does it show 11.12?

  • greyhound

    how the hell can people find it hard to read?
    thick short part for hours and long thin part for minutes…the rotating thing is just a second indicator…
    it takes no time to read this watch…

  • funNactive

    I’d love to see this thing in person and watch it move.

  • Shayne Corritori

    It is ugly as hell but the craftsmanship is immaculate, to say the least.