Ludovic Ballouard


After many years working with some of the world’s greatest watchmakers – most recently with Francois-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.

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 way 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.