Ludovic Ballouard is something of a latecomer to the world of watchmaking. At one stage he had given up on his ambition to be a watchmaker. But then his passion returned and he moved to Switzerland to pursue his true calling.
Ballouard was born in 1971 in the northwest of France. His father came from Saint-Brieuc in Brittany, while his mother was Dutch. He grew up surrounded by nature, listening to the sounds of the wind and the ocean. As a child he loved constructing things and assembling radio-controlled airplane models, and this later evolved into a fervent interest in watchmaking. He studied horology in Rennes, where he was regarded as highly gifted. It was then that Ballouard decided that he would one day be a creator of artistic watches designed to amaze and delight. But he soon found out that France lacked a flourishing watchmaking scene like Switzerland, and in despair abandoned his dream, working instead for six years as an engineer of airplane control panels. But the passion never left, and eventually he resolved to make the move to Geneva. There he spent three years working for the Franck Muller brand, followed by seven years under the tutelage of leading watchmaker Francois-Paul Journe, learning about the construction and adjustment of grand complication movements. In 2009 he started designing models under his own name. With his exceptional skills, enthusiasm, creative flair and eye for beauty, Ballouard is one of the preeminent independent watchmakers of the new generation.
"Upside Down" No. 3 of a limited edition of 12 18k Gold(5N) case (Released 2010)
A stunning and innovative timepiece
that puts on a fascinating show every hour
Ludovic Ballouard’s overarching aim is to create watches with mechanisms that are innovative, aesthetically striking and above all, unique. He shares the passion of the master watchmakers of history, and through his creative output has himself become part of the legend.
Ballouard’s work has attracted much attention from watch aficionados. The Upside Down is the first piece to be released under his own name.
The key attraction of the Upside Down is the unique patented mechanism that rotates the numerals.
The numerals on the watch face appear upside down, with the exception of the numeral that indicates the current hour.
The minute hand is mounted in the centre of the dial and completes a full circle every hour, just like a regular watch. As it reaches the 12 o’clock position, the current hour rotates 180° to appear upside down and the new hour rotates to the correct orientation.
Thus, we witness the spectacle of two numerals simultaneously performing a little somersault on the watch face.
As the name “Upside Down” suggests, this timepiece adopts an hour indication mechanism that is unique in the world of watchmaking. The numbers on the dial are all upside down, with the exception of the number indicating the current hour, which is right-side up. To make it easier to read, there is a dot on the bottom right of the number that indicates the current hour.
The beautifully detailed finish also deserves mention, particularly the combined 18K red gold case and lug that are milled from a single gold block. The crown has been carved by hand and the windshield is yet another striking aspect of this perfectly presented piece.
The transparent back reveals the unique and totally redesigned movement of the Upside Down, including the intricate mechanisms used to rotate the numerals on the watch face.
There are only 12 of these timepieces in existence. No two look the same, thanks to the extremely rare limited-edition mother-of-pearl on the watch face. Each piece of this material has different iridescence characteristics. The watches are individually numbered, and the number can be seen through the transparent back.
No. 3 of a limited edition of 12 18k Gold(5N) case
This watch is available for viewing in the gallery
*Gallery viewings by appointment only
Mother of pearl dial
Case diameter 41 mm
Case thickness 11 mm
18K red gold case
Power reserve 36 hours approx.
Water Resistant to 3 ATM