It has been seven years since Vianney launched a new watch but the new Deep Space Tourbillon is worth of the wait. Not one to launch a watch unless he is certain it has all the core elements of his artistic sensibilities, this new watch is Vianney's tribute to his latest inspiration - Star Trek Deep Space Nine space station.
A triple tourbillon is at the heart of the watch - with its escapement rotating on three axis. The movement drives the unique hour and minute hands that rotates from the edges of the dial instead of centre pivoted hands found in most watches.
The concept of tourbillon is the mechanical solution to compensate the effect of gravity. The tourbillon rotates the oscillating balance wheel so that the impact of gravity is reduced. Vianney's triple axis adds two additional rotational pivots - the first axis is the tourbillon cage that completes a rotation in 40 seconds. The second axis is the whole bridge that rotates completely in 6 minutes. The third axis is the rotation of the large blue ring that whole bridge sits on. This takes 30 minutes for a full rotation.
Clearly there is no gravity in outer space and artificial gravity in fictional space travel has not been invented yet. Nevertheless, the engineering needed to create a three axis tourbillon is quite complex, should prove to be an amazingly accurate timepiece - to compensate and even out any and all gravitational forces. However, I anticipate that those who acquire this watch will not be looking for a timekeeper but a mechanical marvel for those who admire horological milestones.
The Hour Glass retail price of this watch is SGD$291,000.
The Deep Space case is at a wearable 46mm, made of titanium (with a titanium folding clasp) with a huge deep convex sapphire crystal. The convex crystal is quite impressive and superbly coated with anti reflective material. It is though probably the most vulnerable aspect of this watch as it is quite tall.
The movement itself is fitted with 41 jewels to manage the complex moving parts, features 55 hours of power reserve. It comes with a unique black combination strap of calf leather inlaid with alligator scales.
The watch shown here on its creator's wrist, Mr Vianney Halter himself who modelled the watch for me during his visit here in Singapore to launch the watch with The Hour Glass.
Is this watch worthy to be described as the Watch of 2013? From my brief time with the watch in the metal and photographing the details, anyone who is familiar with Vianney Halter watches would easily conclude that this watch does not have any design (or at the most very little - save the crown) or engineeering connection with any of the earlier Vianney models. But this design and engineering step away from the first two decades of his watch design may very well be a positive and effective step to garnering a wider audience of collectors. I think the concept is brave and the execution is breathtaking. This will be one of the watches that I know will be the envy of those who could not get their hands on one.
It may be just coincidental but this watch may well be a stroke of genius for the Vianney brand. In a world where the geeks and nerds of the 70s and 80s now own and rule much of the technological businesses - and many of them are closet trekkies - I suspect those and the gizmodo followers will be queueing up for this pricey piece of horological nirvana.