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.
HALF TIME Platinum case black dial (released 2014)
More dynamic, yet more classical
Chapter 2 of The Hourly Show
A dramatic and dynamic expression of the passage of time. The beauty and incredible innovation of this mechanism is presented with subtle elegance. This is the long-awaited new timepiece from Ludovic Ballouard, the maverick of independent watchmaking
His previous model, the 2010 Upside Down with “jumping hour” mechanism, features a dial where all the numerals are deliberately inverted except that of the current hour. A special mechanism rotates each number so that at the new hour, the new numeral turns upright.
Half Time develops this idea of an hourly show, yet at the same time has a more classic feel, with Roman numerals replacing Arabic numerals. The mechanism itself tells the story of time, based on the same basic principle of rotation as the previous watch—but this time, it is the entire watch face that moves around. The utterly unique dial design consists of an inner disk and an outer ring, both of which rotate on the hour to create the required display.
Each of the Roman numerals for the hours is neatly bisected in the middle, with the lower half on the inner disk and the upper half on the outer ring. The two halves match only for the current hour, which appears inside a box frame at the 12 o’clock position. All the other Roman numerals appear jumbled and indecipherable. This ingenious system makes it easy to read the time at a glance.
At the six o’clock position is another intriguing mechanism: a retrograde minute display. Thus, the watch puts on a show every hour—24 times per day. The retrograde hand creeps from left to right along the minute display. When it reaches 60 at the right-hand end, it jumps straight back to the zero position on the left-hand end.
Meanwhile, the inner disk and outer ring of the watch dial rotate at exactly 30 degrees in opposite directions.
The inner disk rotates clockwise while the outer ring rotates anti-clockwise.
The upper and lower halves of the Roman numeral match only inside the box frame at the 12 o’clock position, which indicates the current hour of the day
The piece features a hand-wound movement operating at 21,600 oscillations per hour, as well as a specially developed mechanism that rotates the disk and ring instantaneously and accurately in opposite directions.
The hourly show of the Half Time is an apt expression of time itself, which marches relentlessly onward and never goes back. Chapter 2 explores new ways of expression, but the essence remains the same.
Platinum case black dial
This piece can be viewed in the Gallery. Please note that appointments are required for viewing.
*Gallery viewings by appointment only
Case diameter 41 mm
Case thickness 11 mm
Power reserve 30 hours approx.
Water Resistant to 3 ATM