Vianney Halter Grand Voyageur by Vianney Halter
Board the French Railways (SNCF) trains and share Vianney Halter’s new voyage.
The watchmaker who travels through dimensions and eras, Vianney Halter, introduces you to the Grand Voyageur wristwatch. This watch has been imagined and developped in parallel to his own horological art collection. He deeply recommends that you read data about this watch to make sure you haven’t missed anything about this unusual concept.
In the times of steam engines, his father Elisé Halter used to be a train conductor. He fitted two wagons on a small patch of land in the Paris area for his family to live in. Trains and steam engines have been part of Vianne’y world since his early childhood. At age 11 he was already writing novel stories about trains and clocks.
More than once did his life path cross the tracks of the French Railways.
In the early 2000 he encountered Jean-Yves Mariez who worked for the SNCF many times, most noteably creating the signage used in several stations. In particular, he designed the current station clocks that became an aesthetical reference in the french train landscape. Their contrast an graphism are emblematic and allow for an optimized reading, even from afar.
The two became friends and imagined a wristwatch that drew inspiration in the aesthetics of train travel.
What would be the most important information while travelling ? A precise time and date. Time and travel are tightly linked through history, one pushing it’s progress into the other. In combining, they create things that go beyond traditional watchmaking.
Vianney created a wristwatch that is practical and legible. Using modern horological technologies, he designed a instrument with autonomy and reliability worthy of being a travel companion.
The Grand Voyageur dial uses the same aesthetic principles of modern SNCF (French Railways) station clocks: valueing size, leveled structure and color contrast for an immediate and clear reading of time.
The shape of the case is a reference to the bogie – the wheel carrying frames under the trains – and machined in stainless steel. The constraint of accurate timekeeping and autonomy led to the choice of an ETA auto-quartz movement.
What is an auto-quartz movement?
In essence, it is a hybrid mechanism using the reliability of a mechanical winding system and the accuracy of an electronic-based regulator. To Vianney, this type of movement epitomizes the portable, autonomous time instrument. It offers the highest accuracy that is possible and a virtually unlimited function. Thanks to the automatic mechanical winding, energy is provided by the motion of the watch bearer. A winding rotor sets a small generator into motion through a micro-barrel, which efficiently stores slow and fast motion. The generator recharges a capacitor, which in turn feeds the quartz-regulation and the integrated circuit, which then drives the display like in a conventional analog display quart watch.
The system acts as a wonderful symbiosis of both movement types, and has the benefit of parting with the use of batteries.
The electronic portion of the movement stays very basic and durable and always in touch with the wearer. It is not a connected mechanism, does not require knowledge or update from any part. Shock protection is excellent. The final objective being to give time as long and as accurately as possible, complexity is avoided.
At it’s core, the Grand Voyageur by Vianney Halter is a tool built to be worn. When it is fully charged, the maximum power reserve is 100 days from the last moment it is worn. This functioning time can be extended by setting the watch on sleep mode by pulling the crown to position 3. The crown was engineered to be protective whichever it’s position.
Please note that the full charge of the capacitor may never be reached using the crown only – it has to be worn. When the capacitor runs in it’s last 18 hours of reserve, the watch will enter EOE mode (End Of Energy): the seconds hand will advance 4 seconds every 4 seconds.
Why « by Vianney Halter » ? What is the difference with the Vianney Halter watches ?
Vianney Halter developped this product and supervises the fabrication in parallel to his collection. In order to provide a more accessible watch, Vianney has this watch assembled by selected contractors. The original movement is completely redecorated and refinished with Vianney Halter style. Vianney then controls quality, finish and assembly, which explains the signature « by Vianney Halter » in contrast with the collection he fully imagines, develops and most importantly, crafts alone.
« I never took time to fabricate one of my watches for me to wear. Moreso, I tinker with many more things which are not horology and at the end, my watches are not really adapted to my own everyday life – that is why I don’t own any. However I travel a lot and I wanted a reliable and durable watch to accompany me and remind me of my origins. When I met Jean-Yves and we imagined this time instrument I immediately envisionned it on my wrist. It was an amusing thought to develop it and to offer a more accessible product. As of today, it is a watch that I love wearing because it is so convenient. » -VH
In a conventional quartz watch one must regularly change the battery. If the watch is forgotten in a drawer for 10 years it will cease to function. Even worse, the watch may be totally or partially destroyed by leaking battery, which then necessitates to find new components that may or may not be in production any more.
With the Grand Voyageur, you just need to wind it a little using the crown then wear it, and you’re set!
Hour, Minutes, Seconds, Date, accuracy and autonomy are all you need on your wrist for your travels.
What about servicing ?
The Grand Voyageur was designed to require as little maintenance as possible. Complete overhaul every 15 years is sufficient for regular use. The focus will be on the gaskets to prevent moisture from entering and oils will be changed on the mechanical parts.
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