Ludovic Ballouard Upside Down
The rise of the independents as we know it today can be somewhat misleading, the tides were vastly different just ten years ago. Most independent watchmakers slipped under the radar, had it not been for the patronage of certain collectors many independents would have simply not survived or flourished. In the midst of a full-fledged financial crisis in 2009, French independent watchmaker, Ludovic Ballouard decided to launched his eponymous brand.
The Journey of Ludovic
Born in 1971 in Brittany, France to a Breton father and a Dutch mother, Ludovic Ballouard grew up close to the sea with a special interest in assembling and flying radio-controlled model aircrafts. A teacher of Ludovic’s recommend he pursue a path in watchmaking, after having successfully completed a three-year watchmaking course, Ludovic embarked on this journey of becoming a watchmaker. A short but fruitful six-month stint in Sentier (Switzerland), which largely revolved around the assembling of Lemania Chronographs, allowed Ludovic to gain exposure to a Swiss company. Cultural difference apart, Ludovic, returned to Brittany and embarked on a completely different career which still required meticulous precision, the maintenance of aircraft instruments. Several years later, Ludovic, did not want to forgo and abandon his horological calling. After having contacted Franck Muller, he was invited for an interview of sorts. The practical interview required Ludovic to assemble ten chronographs in a week … his time in Sentier allowed him to pass this ‘test’ with days to spare, he then went on to work in the aftersales department for three years.
Following his departure from Franck Muller, Ludovic was handed an opportunity that rarely presents itself, earlier that day a watchmaker had abruptly left F. P. Journe, resulting in a vacant position. The prospect of working for F. P. Journe was an opportunity that Ludovic seized with conviction and established himself as one of the most talented watchmakers at F. P. Journe. The original six-month temporary job actually lasted seven years, out of which Ludovic, spent the last three years assembling the extremely complicated Sonnerie Souveraine, his work with such grande complications proved that Ludovic Ballouard was and is a highly talented watchmaker.
The Founding of Ludovic Ballouard
Upon launching his own brand at an uncertain time, Ludovic took a page out of Breguet’s practice of a souscription, 50% upfront and 50% upon the delivery of the piece. The souscripiton upside down is limited to 12 examples with each edition number in red on the dial. This would mean that the first example number 01/12, would feature a red 1 o’clock numeral and so on. The project was relatively secretive as Ludovic was awaiting for his patent to be granted. It is believed that Ludovic’s current production hovers around 12 pieces per annum.
This 41mm platinum Up Side Down embodies everything the brand stands for, Ludovic stresses the importance of living in the moment. The past and the future time is, literally, presented upside down to tell you that there should be no regrets about the past which you cannot change, and no qualms for the future which you don’t know anything about. The poetic play on the jumping hours results in the watch only having two hands, a traditional centralised feuille hand is used for the minutes and a recessed 60-second counter is found at 6 o’clock.
The shimmery texture white gold dial is reminiscent of some of F. P. Journe’s early dials. The dial features 12 apertures for the jumping hours, at any given time 11 of the 12 apertures are upside down, the only one that is not upside down is the current hour denoted with a dot. The sunken 60 second sub dial adds an element of depth to the dial. The dial is signed Ludovic Ballouard – Geneve.
The hefty 41mm platinum case commands a firm presence on a wrist, the thickness of the case measures 11mm. The entire case is polished and features an off centre crown found at 2 ‘clock, the additional use of crown ‘guards’ allows for the crown to seamlessly blend in within the case. The movement remains visible through a sapphire case back, the watch is signed Ludovic Ballouard – Upside Down which is achieved through hang engraving. The uniquely shaped pin buckle is also made out of platinum.
The patented calibre BO1 is capable of delivering a 36hour power reserve and has a total of 228 components. The calibre is based on the Peseux 7001 with the addition of the jumping hour mechanism. All made possible by drilling twelve holes in the mainplate and fitting 12 minuscule pinions which connect each Maltese cross with the relevant hour marker. Through the use of a snail cam that is connected to the centre wheel, Ludovic was able to realise his unique jumping hour.
Brand: Ludovic Ballouard
Model: Upside Down
Case Diameter: 41mm x 11mm
Box & Papers: Original Leather Wallet