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Review: Goldpfeil Vianney Halter

by Peter Chong on April 28, 2015

The Goldpfeil Vianney Halter is born of a special project initiated by the German luxury company Goldpfeil (German for Golden Arrow) and seven members of Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants (AHCI). The AHCI masters of Sven Anderson, Martin Frei with Thomas and Felix Baumgarter, Vincent Calabrese, Vianney Halter, Frank Jutzi, Bernhard Lederer and Antoine Preziuso each created a special piece unique and a set of series production watches to showcase the collaboration. 

 

Review: Goldpfeil Vianney Halter

 

The Goldpfiel Vianney Halter series production piece.

The Goldpfeil Vianney Halter series production piece. The visual impact of the design is spell binding. Rectangle, square and circle within a rectangle interplay geometrically. Polished and nail-head finished and matt finishing provide another dimension. And the play of colours – Goldpfeil Blue of the arrows, numerals and pristine white dial and warm white glow of the white gold case is yet another. This watch is so impressive in so many ways.

It is no secret that Deployant owners and staff are huge fans of Vianney Halter. A fascinating and ultra creative watchmaker, Vianney has the knack to turn out unusual watches, which at first glance often defies logic. Taking the concept of a circles within squares, he stretched the idea to create a watch with a powerful visual impact.

 

The Goldpfiel Vianney Halter case is in white gold, and shaped to curve on the wrist on a rectangular case design. The crown, as is typical in Vianney's watches is especially elaborate, and is hand machined to exact dimensions much like the column wheel of a chronograph.

The Goldpfeil Vianney Halter case is in white gold, and shaped to curve on the wrist on a rectangular case design.
The crown, as is typical in Vianney’s watches is especially elaborate, and is hand machined to exact dimensions much like the column wheel of a chronograph.

 

The featured watch in the photographs is the property of a Deployant Friend, who when asked why he sought out this particular piece to buy and own, simply said, “Because it is a Vianney and is quirky, but in a most beautiful way.” We present the photographs in an “as-is” worn, well loved watch instead of a cleaned up, for display watch.

 

Even the buckle is not spared with a very special design.  Machnied from serveral parts, it looks like a smooth whole when viewed from above.

Even the buckle is not spared with a very special design. Machnied from serveral parts, it looks like a smooth whole when viewed from above. However, user anecdote is that it is a pain to use the buckle to strap the watch on one’s wrist.

 

The layout of the indicators are distinct as a square, a circle and a rectangle in a subtly curved rectangular case. The hour is display on the tip left rectangle aperture, with a jumping hour mechanism. A rather unusual interpretation of the moonphase display is provided right of the jumping indicator aperture. A blued steel arrow tip revolves around a subeial, giving a pictorial picture of the cyclical nature of the phases of the moon, which are marked as icons on a plate on the case. The minutes are shown by a “Goldpfeil” hand, also blued steel, large and distinct on the large square dial below. And a smaller arrow pointer marks the seconds passed. Square, circle and rectangle within a rectangle: a geometrical demonstration that is a study of elegant proportions and alternation of symmetry and contrast.

Vianney furthers this thought process with the interplay of contrasting textures, and the use of materials: matt and sandblasted metals, hollow engravings in synthetic enamel, the sheen of the solid white gold case and the blue leather strap.

 

The polished bezel  and frames of the apertures contrast with the hand finished nail pattern on the case.  The technique is a very old, labour intensive one, where each indentation is made with a calculated and precise blow of a small hammer on a nail whose business end is blunt for the purpose. Vianney makes each by his own hand.

The polished bezel and frames of the apertures contrast with the hand finished nail pattern on the case. The technique is a very old, labour intensive one, where each indentation is made with a calculated and precise blow of a small hammer on a nail whose business end is blunt for the purpose. Vianney makes each by his own hand.

 

Even the play of texture of the polished frames of the apertures and bezel and the case which is hand finished by making markings with a blunt nail, one at a time, each individually made by Vianney himself. Fascinating.

 

The movement of the Goldpfiel Vianney Halter: viewed through the display caseback.

The movement of the Goldpfeil Vianney Halter: viewed through the display caseback.

 

Through the caseback, one can see the movement, the three armed rotor gliding on the brushed finish of the main plate, and glow of jewels and blued steel screws. The finishing of the movement is standard level of engineering finish. There is no hint of a decorative finishing, it is apparent that Vianney’s focus on this watch is in the design and interplay of geometric shapes and textures. Even the display back sapphire opening is indicative of this. Note the caseback is cut with a polished shoulder elongating the opening in the north-south direction while keeping to the sides of the circle in the east-west direction. This further emphasizes on the circle in a oval in a rectangle play on geometric shapes.

 

On the wrist, the Goldpfiel Vianney Halter is rather comfortable. The curved case back lending comfort by hugging the wrist. Shown here on the wrist of the owner.

On the wrist, the Goldpfeil Vianney Halter is rather comfortable. The curved case back lending comfort by hugging the wrist. Shown here on the wrist of the owner.

 

Fascinating timepiece from a fascinating maker. The entire Goldpfeil collection was unveiled in BaselWorld 2001, and while all the watches have long since been sold out, good examples turn up rather frequently in auctions and pre-owned stores for reasonable prices. The total number made is a bit confusing when we started our research for this article. Some reported 17, others 75. So we asked Vianney himself, and he said that he made 108 pieces, plus one more with jewellery. We feel this watch is definitely collectable.

 

Goldpfeil Vianney Halter

Specifications

Brand: Goldpfeil
Series: Seven Masters
Model #: gpvh11
Retail price at launch: US$65,800.00
Size: Mens
Case Diameter: 29.1mm X 40mm
Case Thickness: 10.30mm
Movement: Automatic
Case Material: 18kt White Gold
Dial Color: Silver
Bracelet/Strap: Alligator/Crocodile Leather Blue
Clasp Type: Special designed tang buckle
Crystal: Scratch Resistant Sapphire
Case Back: Transparent
Screw Down Crown: No
Water resistance 30m/100ft.

 

 

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