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I certainly hope so. This question has been with me for sometime and I was reminded of it again recently. It was a question that had been put to me many times and this time from a watch industry professional. It is very difficult to reply regardless whether one intends to tell the truth or to lie - for both will have negative consequences.

So what is that question? It is simply -- "How many watches do you own?" For all intents and purposes, especially for some this question is as polite as asking, "How much do you earn?" It is probably an innocent enough question for the uninitiated. But for the collector it can be embarrassing number (either too many or  too few - because there is no such thing as just the right number).

For me personally, unfortunately - there is no number that would not be embarrassing. There were times when I decided to be honest, I got responses of incredulity that I was giving an unbelievably small number and others that I was out of control and have too many to be rational. Worse still, the two dreaded follow on questions - "What are your watches you own" and "How much are they worth?"

In aid of good social graces and for proper conduct of conversation with watch collectors, non collectors please be aware of the boundaries and realise such questions put collectors into a difficult position. Avoid the faux pas of asking such questions if you do not intend to put your foot in it. Unless of course that is your intent.

For the collectors, here is my suggestion which I shall share - learnt from years of having been asked this and similar questions. Simply reply with a polite smile and say, "I hope you will not be offended if I did not answer that question." or if the moment and questioner warrants it, "Even my wife does not know, why should you?" Hopefully, that should give you enough pause to make a quick exit - or change the subject.

- HT


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I just found this webpage on CNET News. A website I regularly read to update myself on all things tech. But when I found this page, it made me pause - only because I was not able to see the connection of luxury independent mechanical watchmaking with new high tech. Is this an expansion of the interest covered by CNET or is this much more important development that needs further consideration? Clearly the atmospheric prices of these luxury rare pieces is going to be of little interest to a rare few regulars of CNET (just note the comments left behind on the page). But it does seem that this page is buried under the category of "Crave" inside CNET. Nevertheless, CNET reaches out to a huge worldwide audience and Vianney's Deep Space Tourbillon - as I mentioned in earlier posts - will touch the techies and especially trekkie techies.

You can tell these trekkie techies at CNET aren't serious watch aficionados. Their by-line called the watch Deep Space 9 Tourbillon. Clearly, the official name sans the 9.



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Professor Massimiliano Landi was at the small private dinner with Vianney Halter who tried on the watch and allowed me to capture him with it. For a 46mm watch, it look surprisingly well proportioned on his average sized wrist. The Deep Space Tourbillon however is a very tall watch due to the huge convex crystal. One needs to be extra careful with it as I suspect the cost of replacing the crystal could be prohibitive. 

The other known watch that has similar tall convex crystal is the MB&F Legacy Machine 1. Both are completely different watches in terms of design philosophy and intended market. 

I find it curious that MB&F is a brand that has been described by its founder as having been strongly influenced by Star Trek design concepts as was Vianney's Deep Space Tourbillon. Gene Roddenberry's legacy to entertainment and science fiction continues to grow with new generation of followers (with the re-release of the franchise of the original series in new time frame in the movie cinemas). Now, manifested in high horology with more than one revered brand. I cannot wait to see how other models are being conceived with Star Trek influence.

I am sure Gene Roddenberry would approve.



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In person Vianney is an enigma to many. One moment he is cool, relaxed, smiling and gregarious. In an instant,  he would let his intensity and artistic sensibility come out - especially when he speaks about philosophy, thought, art and all things he has passion for. He would readily share his thoughts on many aspects about horology and in particular how he finds inspiration for his designs. Though he is not a natural English speaker, he would enter into long discussions in this unfamiliar language. One cannot miss his passion and his desire to communicate his thought process. 

It has been five years since his last visit here and this time he made time to for a sitting for me to capture a series of portraits. This time I endeavoured to capture that quiet intensity from his eyes - which the decades passing has clearly not dimmed. (Click on the collage to view it in large resolution)


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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. 



Welcome to
Watching Horology


  • This is a personal blog of Harry SK Tan on all things pertaining to Horology - from watch collecting, horolography, news and developments from all over the world particularly Singapore.
  • ©HarrySKTan2005

Horolography - noun, the art of photographing timepieces

Horolographer - Harry SK Tan

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