Hands-On With Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon Mens Watch

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 Watch was the first new watch Vianney had presented in a while.

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 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.