What’s the distinction between a novelty watch and a traditional timepiece?
However, is it attainable to make a watch offering a novel and entertaining show of time that’s wearable in a wide range of settings and can be revered years from now?
I consider that I personal such a chunk: the Ludovic Ballouard Upside Down.
Why I purchased it
In my good friend Terry’s gathering taxonomy, this was positively a “patronage” buy for me, supposed to precise assist for Ballouard and his super inventiveness whereas grabbing a little bit of the ensuing product to have for my very own.
A very good good friend of mine was one in every of Ludovic’s very early patrons and a subscriber to the very first “subscription” sequence of the Upside Down. This was again in 2009, simply after Ballouard had departed F.P. Journe to begin up his personal operation, after three years constructing the legendary Journe Sonnerie Souveraine.
Seeing my pal’s watch within the metallic and studying extra about Ballouard had me , however I wasn’t absolutely prepared fairly but.
What sealed the deal for me have been three issues:
- I noticed and heard Ballouard throughout a panel dialogue on the PuristS occasion in Las Vegas in 2011. When one viewers member requested what would occur if a Ballouard watch stopped working, Ludovic replied, “You’ll come go to, we’ll have some wine, and I’ll repair your watch!”
- In every of the next Januaries, our collector group visited with Ballouard throughout SIHH week at his customary hang-out on the New Midi lodge in Geneva. Once I noticed the platinum Upside Down with the blue dial throughout one in every of these visits, I knew that in some unspecified time in the future I must have one.
- In 2013, Harry Winston introduced the Opus XIII (see The Harry Winston Opus Series: A Complete Overview from Opus 1 Through Opus 13), a mind-blowing jumping-time watch developed in collaboration with Ballouard. However someway, issues with the challenge went mistaken and Ballouard discovered himself embroiled in a dispute with Harry Winston’s new Swatch Group house owners. Whereas I wasn’t aware of all the particulars, my robust intuition was to assist my unbiased watchmaker good friend throughout what I knew was a difficult time for him.
Why I adore it
I’ll begin with the apparent: the motion and its complication are fantastically ingenious, fantastically executed, and fairly sturdy. Within the picture beneath, you’ll be able to see the motion facet of the Upside Down, with the obvious characteristic being the set of 12 Maltese cross mechanisms linking to the small hour indicators inserted into the dial.
For those who look rigorously, you’ll be able to see the 2 small fingers partaking the slots on the 10 o’clock cross (simply above the “O” in “Ludovic”) and one finger on the internal fringe of the 9 and 11 crosses, prepared for the mechanism on the middle to do its magic when 11 o’clock arrives.
Above, you’ll be able to see the snail cam that rotates as soon as every hour, adopted by the pointed finish of the finger at high left that in flip is held tight by the spring at backside middle. As proven within the time-lapse video beneath, when the factors of the cam and finger cross, the finger snaps the ridged round ring on the edge by one notch, in flip actuating the leaping hour indication.
The results of all of that is that when seen from the dial facet, the present hour indicator is true facet up and shows a small dot to catch the attention, whereas all the different hour indicators are, not surprisingly, the wrong way up.
I used to be a bit involved that it is perhaps a bit tough to learn the time, however in observe the dot works, your eye seeks out the “proper facet up” quantity, and I, at the least, usually have a adequate sense of the time of day that I’m not looking at 5:00 when the time is round 11:00.
For those who’re trying on the above picture – or the one beneath – on a show of any dimension, you’ll additionally see one thing else: the floor of the dial itself is fascinating to the attention, with 1000’s of tiny sparkles on the blue-coated titanium floor catching the sunshine.
The engaging visuals don’t cease there, both. A tour across the exterior reveals clean, convex flanks reflecting the viewer’s picture and environment; as you would possibly count on, within the mirrored view, all is seen the wrong way up.
Even one thing as utilitarian because the crown is hand-engraved and made in platinum fairly than the white gold utilized by many others on platinum-encased items; it’s surrounded by flowingly formed crown guards which might be so delicate you hardly discover them.
Cinching the watch to your wrist is a deal with, too, because it offers an opportunity to take a look at the distinctive B-shaped buckle (once more, in platinum). And when you’re at it, a look along side the buckle reveals one other hand-engraved signature.
The final cease on the engraving tour is the rear of the case, the place the mannequin designator, serial quantity, and Ballouard’s title have been hand-carved into the metallic.
I additionally love the quirky nature of among the decisions Ballouard made, each with the watch and its presentation. As an illustration, that is one watch that has no presentation field! As an alternative, it comes packaged in a signed pockets fabricated from the identical materials because the watchstrap. To me, it’s in keeping with Ludovic’s type, and it’s additionally one much less cumbersome field to seal up and put in storage.
Lastly, that is only a darn handsome watch, and for me a flexible one as nicely. It’s virtually a cliché lately to assert that a dressy watch will be worn with denims, nevertheless it’s actually the case for the Upside Down on this coloration mixture.
It’s equally at dwelling within the boardroom or with shoppers, because it doesn’t shout, “take a look at me” however as an alternative initiatives a dignified presence.
At 41 mm in diameter and 11 mm in peak, with a pronounced curve to the lugs, it additionally sits very comfortably on the wrist.
This watch is so engaging, versatile, and wearable that it’s on my “can not promote” listing: Mrs. GaryG has declared this one to be half hers, and Ludovic was form sufficient to suit a substitute strap of simply the best size in order that each she and I can put on it.
The proper watch has not but been made! Just some minor issues I might have modified:
- The motion snaps the discs for the present and coming hours precisely when the minute hand is at 12, however the soar will not be synchronized with the second hand. I do understand that doing so would have required a further mechanism, and sure would have jeopardized the robustness of the motion, however I can want, can’t I?
- Talking of the “jumps,” I suppose that it’s a pure results of the snapping finger and crosses that some lubricant is inevitably sprayed throughout the surfaces of the motion. The macro lens is an unforgiving mistress, although, and at excessive magnification the view is, as Mother would have mentioned, a bit schmutzig.
- If I’m not mistaken, there isn’t anti-reflective therapy on the outside of the crystals. This made capturing this watch tougher than you would possibly guess!
Is it best for you?
As at all times, watch selection is a extremely private factor. The Upside Down is perhaps simply the look ahead to you if:
- Like me, you’re keen on the look of the watch
- Regardless of understanding precisely the way it works, you’d nonetheless sit there with a smile in your face every time you wore it asking, “How did he do this?”
- The mix of traditional seems to be and ingenious works is in your candy spot as a collector, otherwise you’re in search of “one thing completely different” that can stand the check of time
- You’d prefer to personal one thing made by a very good man who additionally occurs to be a wizard designer and watchmaker
You would possibly suppose twice if:
- Watches just like the MB&F Horological Machines are too mainstream for you
- Conversely, you don’t suppose you can get used to a “three-hand” watch so daring that it has solely two arms
- You’re simply not into unbiased watchmaking in any respect
I’ve thought-about the tradeoffs, and I’ve clearly made my very own selection!
For extra info, please go to www.ballouard.com.
Fast Info Ludovic Ballouard Upside Down
Features: hours (indicated by leaping rotating disks), minutes, small seconds
Case: platinum or purple gold, 41 x 11 mm
Dial: coated titanium
Motion: handbook winding Ballouard Caliber B01, primarily based on the Peseux 7001 gear practice and barrel geometry with patented leaping hours complication; 21,600 vph, 36-hour energy reserve
Worth: 56,00zero Swiss francs (excluding VAT) in purple gold; 66,00zero Swiss francs (excluding VAT) in platinum; 2016 public sale results of $37,500 (purple gold)
* This text was first printed on October 10, 2016 at Why I Bought It: Ludovic Ballouard Upside Down.