Independent watches are currently having a moment lately, with more interest and appreciation than ever before. Before the likes of MB&F and De Bethune, Vianney Halter was making his own brand of unique timepieces. The Vianney Halter Trio Grande Date 18k Rose Gold is one of his creations that directly correlates to the inspiration of this modern world of independent watchmaking.
Vianney Halter created his first masterpiece called the Antiqua in 1998. Mechanical things always inspired him as a young man. His father was a train conductor, so he grew up around interesting mechanical devices and steam-driven engines. This, coupled with his love for the science fiction, provides the inspiration for many of his timepieces. The Antiqua embodies this, as it resembles a device that one might find described in the writings of Jules Verne. The many riveted portholes displaying all of the timepiece’s indications was unlike anything on the market in 1998. The Antiqua, nevertheless, was perhaps a bit too much for most collectors to understand, and many of Vianney’s clients asked for a more traditional watch. In 2000, the Classic was introduced for that very purpose. As the name foretells, the Classic was a customary timepiece, but it still maintained the design elements of the Antiqua, such as the riveted porthole. After this, Vianney worked on different variations of these models, some other collections, and a few collaborations like the Harry Winston Opus 3. Then in 2007, Vianney Halter took the next step in this original collection, and introduced the Trio Grande Date that we are looking at today.
The Trio Grande Date is very unique in the watch world because of its design. It is rectangular in shape, having a 44mm by 32mm case and 12mm in thickness but the case curves to the wrist, making it like a wearable gold ingot in the words of Vianney. The sides of the case have a high polish finish which contrasts nicely with the brushed finish of the rest of the case. The many portholes have a brushed circular finish with high polished white gold rivets inlaid to each porthole. That design is continued into the crown with many high polished white gold rivets that allow for better grip while winding and setting this watch. The dials are all silver with a circular brushed finishing and a step-down with a satin finish in the center. A railroad track runs around the outside of the dial alongside its painted numerals. The hands have a unique arrow-like shape and are all blued by hand to the perfect bright blue. The rehaut is a mirror-like high polish that perfectly reflects the dial’s details, all while giving the dial itself some added depth. The whole look has a real steampunk feel to it, without forsaking the need for fine finishing.
Inside the Trio Grande Date is the entirely in-house developed VH205 caliber. The movement includes a large date indicator and a day/night indicator, and an offset small seconds indicator. It is comprised of an impressive 390 parts with 42 rubies throughout the movement. The best part of this caliber is Viaaney’s use of his patented mystery rotor, which allows the rotor not to impair the view of the movement and makes it feel more like a manual wind timepiece. It is done by making most of the rotor out of a sapphire crystal. When the caliber is fully wound, it has a 70-hour power reserve and beats a 21,600 vph. Being able to see into the movement allows the owner to see all the diverse use of finishing techniques on each component.
Versus The Competition
The rectangular shape of the Trio is reminiscent of the Patek Philippe 5101R 10 Day Tourbillon Rose Gold. The Patek 5101R has more of an art deco feel with the steps to the case rather than the steampunk aesthetics of the Trio, but they are relatively similar in case size. The dial of the Patek might lead most to believe it’s pretty simple, but they would be mistaken. Other than the ten-day power reserve indicator, no other significant complications are shown, but one cannot overlook the word “Tourbillon” printed on the dial. When you flip this piece over, one can see the tourbillon escapement in this movement. That complication alone puts the Patek as something to be considered when comparing it to the Vianney Halter Trio Grande Date.
The Trio is for collectors who are most likely deep into the collecting journey, and they want to experience a timepiece that not many others will recognize. It could be a part of the collection for Vianney Halter’s significant influence over the independent watchmakers. Perhaps a collector would want this timepiece to sit alongside many other unique models, or it could be a singular piece to make a statement. Regardless, this type of collector will be proud to own it and be able to discuss Vianney’s contributions to the watch industry.
The Vianney Halter Trio Grande Date is a balanced timepiece for the brand, not quite as jarring as an Antiqua but more unique than the Classic. It has the unique steampunk look many would associate with his timepieces. For those collectors who love current indie timepieces, this is a must-have for its influence over those newer brands.