After many years working with some of the world’s greatest watchmakers – most recently with François-Paul Journe on his magnum opus Grande Sonnerie – in 2009 Ludovic Ballouard decided to become independent to develop his own horological creations. His innovative “Upside Down” heralds a completely new way to indicate the time by astonishingly rotating individual hour numbers on cue.
“Upside Down” Complication
While the idea of indicating the time by having the correct hour right side up, while the other 11 displayed numbers are upside down looks relatively simple, the fact that it had never been done before is a testimony to the technical difficulty of realising the complication. When the minute hand precisely reaches the 12 o’clock position, the past hour number instantaneously turns 180 degrees upside down. Simultaneously the new hour turns right side up. The rotation of these two tiny hour disks is faster than the eye can follow, and by using Maltese crosses to control the rotation mechanisms, time-keeping precision is not affected.
Technically, the easier route would have been to place the “Upside Down” mechanism underneath the dial; however, Ludovic Ballouard believes that the owner would appreciate seeing the complexity of the complication and watching the discs rotate, so he placed the mechanism on the back. No easy task as it necessitated drilling 12 minute holes through the movement plate for the 12 tiny pinions that control the hour discs.
The platinum case – Ludovic Ballouard intends to case all his timepieces in this precious metal – is a meticulously thought-out work of art in itself. Rather than the straightforward vertical sides or slightly outward curves commonly found in timepieces, the case sides of the “Upside Down” curve slightly inwards. This design not only protects against scratches, but also offers a tactile pleasure when running a finger lightly over the unexpected line. The platinum crown – another unusual feature of the “Upside Down” as the majority of platinum watches have white gold crowns for ease of manufacture – is protected by sleek buttresses on either side.
Manual winding mechanical movement with unique (patented)
“Upside Down” time indication and small second at 6 o’clock.
Calibre B01 / Patented “Upside Down” complication developed by Ludovic Ballouard
Power reserve : Approximately 40 hours
Balance frequency : 21,600 bph/3hz.
Number of jewels : 51
Number of components : 228 (movement only)
Diameter : 35mm/15.5 lignes
Hours indicated by the correct hour being right-side up, whereas all other numbers are upside down.
Minutes indicated by central blued steel hand.
Small seconds at 6 o’clock.
Case and hand engraved crown in 950 platinum
Dimensions: 41mm x 11mm
Lugs: milled from solid platinum with case
Water resistance: 30 metres/3ATM
Dial & Hands
Titanium Dial & blued steel hands
Strap & Buckle
Black hand-stitched alligator with patented hand engraved 950 platinum buckle.
Travel pouch hand stitched from the same leather as the strap.
About Ludovic Ballouard
Ludovic Ballouard was Born in 1971 in Brittany, France, to a French father and a Dutch mother.At the age of 12, he became interested in flying and making model aeroplanes. In 1987 he hoped to become a dental prosthetic technician because he possessed the hand skills required; however the school counsellor advised watchmaking as an alternative. In 1988 Ludovic Ballouard began studying watchmaking in Rennes, France, and qualified three years later. In 1991 Ludovic Ballouard moved to the Vallée de Joux, Switzerland and started work as watchmaker at Lémania.
In 1992 he returned to Brittany and found interesting work as an aircraft- instrument technician for the next 6 years. But in 1998, realising that Haute Horology was his true passion, Ludovic Ballouard re-located to Geneva, Switzerland, and worked during a period of 3 years for Franck Muller.
In 2001 he accepted a more challenging position at the newly established company of F.P.Journe where he worked for the next 7 years, becoming one of the very few watchmakers in the entire world to master the skills of making a “Grande Sonnerie”.
In 2009, Ludovic Ballouard left F.P.Journe to set up independently and create his first watch model, the “Upside Down”. In 2009 December, Ludovic Ballouard delivered his first “Upside Down” timepiece.