There’s something different about independent watch-maker Ludovic Ballouard. Not different in a bad way by any means, just different. I can’t quite put my finger on it but whatever it is it causes him to view the world of time-keeping unlike any one else. His first timepiece, the famed Upside Down watch, was a huge success thanks to its unconventional time-display presented in a very conventional manner. Now after two years Ballouard has unveiled his next creation, called simply; the Half Time. Don’t be fooled though, there is nothing simple about this new masterpiece.
Much like the Upside Down watch the Half Time is deceptively complex but, again like the Upside Down, this complexity is designed purely for the enjoyment of the wearer. You’ll find no overt complications here, no spinning tourbillons to attract the attention of jealous on-lookers or completely open worked dials (although those both most certainly have their place in haute horology.) No, here the devil is in the detail.
At first glance at the Half Time you may not even have noticed anything amiss on the relatively simplistic dial, after all it all appears pretty straightforward; hour display on the outer-ring, minutes across the retrograde half-ring display that stretches between 8 o’clock and 4 o’clock. Take a closer look though and you quickly see that something is not right here. For a start there is no hand to indicate the hour and all the hour indexes (except one) appear to be broken. So, how does it work?
Well as you can see all the hour indexes are divided in two thus rendering them effectively unreadable… all except the one showing the current hour (located at 12 o’clock). As the hour changes the rotation of two disks reconstitutes the index, forming a clean Roman numeral that allows the time to be read quickly and easily. The watch therefore has no need for an hour hand as the reconstituted hour becomes clearly visible at the top of the piece. What makes this truly spectacular though is the manner in which it happens. The disks, placed on the same plane as the dial, cannot be distinguished by the naked eye, thus giving the illusion of an unmoving surface. This means that when the hour changes it seems completely instantaneous.
It’s hard to picture in your mind but fortunately Mr. Ballouard has provided us with this excellent video to show you how it looks in action:
As you can see the minutes go left to right across the bottom whilst the hour index rotates in an anti-clockwise direction around the outer-ring. Much like the Upside-Down watch it’s not hard to imagine that the new owner may be tempted to literally just sit there winding the piece and observing the hours changing instantly.
As you would expect the movement itself is another stunning work of art. Visible through the sapphire case-back the beautifully finished calibre is comprised of over 300 different components, including the newly patented rotating disk complication.
Like the Upside-Down the Half Time will be offered in 41mm platinum case and production is not expected to exceed more than 50 pieces a year.
Please note the watch in the images shown is part of a limited edition for the first 12 ‘subscription’ watches sold on pre-order, hence the number 12 engraved at 6 o’clock. The regular production pieces will not be numbered.
The Final Word
With his second piece Ballouard has again invited us to rediscover the pleasure of traditional watch-making, using ingenuity and exceptional craftsmanship to create a complex timepiece that revels in its simplicity. Like a good marriage the secrets of this special piece are reserved for the wearer alone as opposed to being aired publicly for all to see. More than anything though Ballouard has once again shown us that you don’t have to go over the top to create something that has never been done before, all you need to do is change your thinking.
For more on this fascinating independent watch-maker please visit www.ballouard.com
Category: Wow Watch Wednesday