One of the great things about making friends in the watchmaking communities is that sooner or later, one starts receiving invitations to visit the places where the beautiful handwork in horology actually happens: the manufactures of the big brands and the ateliers of the independents. I’ve now had the opportunity to take part in many such visits and I can tell you with some confidence that there is nothing quite like visiting with Vianney Halter at his workshop in the small Swiss town of Sainte-Croix, Switzerland.
Following the Swatch Group’s takeover of Harry Winston, a continuation of the Opus series with an Opus 14 seemed in doubt to me, though at Baselworld 2015 Dr. Nayla Hayek, chair of the Swatch Group’s board of directors and CEO of Harry Winston, quietly let it be known that a Harry Winston Opus 14 is forthcoming. What better reason to take a look back at the history-making timepieces of the Opus series.
For the past five years, I’ve had the delightful experience of traveling to Switzerland with several friends to experience SIHH week, before finishing up with a Friday night dinner at which we review our impressions of the week by answering what watch we thought was best of show at SIHH; what was the worst watch; what current-production watch that we saw at any event during the week would we buy if money were no object; and what current-production watch did we see that we would buy with our own money?
It seems like only yesterday, but it was all the way back in January of 2014 that I had the opportunity to sit down for the first time with Elizabeth and Ian and hear their plans for Quill & Pad. Before the year completely gets away, here are a few of my observations and reflections on the industry, my first year at Quill & Pad, and my year in watches.
This is the first in a planned series of “why I bought it” articles that will unfold here over time. Of course, there will be photos – and lots of them – but I hope you’ll find my commentary on a collector’s mindset and the motivations, delights, and possible misgivings behind each individual transaction interesting, too. Let’s start the series off with a bang: the Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon.
The short documentary film “Time Piece” features two of the world’s best living watchmakers, Philippe Dufour and Vianney Halter and provides insight into what makes the watches by these masters so special.