Ludovic Ballouard –
Beauty much more than skin deep.

Stories of visits with independent watchmakers – One of a series

For me, a big part of a watch is the watchmaker. These are the stories not of the watches and their technical marvel, but of my visits with the watchmakers themselves.

July 2018

My expectations were high as I drove to Ludovic Ballouard’s atelier. As my first visit with an independent watchmaker in their natural surroundings, and having acquired a Half Time just months earlier in an exciting auction, I expected magic – but feared reality might fall short.

The commute from Geneva presented a beautiful country side and amazing weather that was like a fine painting. An eerily straight road broken only by occasional roundabouts that reminded you to keep your eyes on the road and that there is rarely a truly straight line from point A to point B.

Passing riders on horseback I arrived at Ludovic’s simply and charming atelier. Ludovic greeted me, the central casting version of an artist – French, flowing hair, in bright colors, and full of life. Ludovic is indeed an artist, one who’s canvases are time pieces worn on the wrist. From his movements to the design of his dials, each has a story that is as rich as the artist himself.

Ludovic Ballouard 2018

His commercial director, translator when needed, and as multifaceted and surprising as the watches themselves – shared with me the stories of Ludovic’s watches.

His first, the Upside Down was created in 2009, a time when numbers everywhere seemed “upside down” due to the global economic crisis. Ludovic wanted to reflect that and remind the wearing to focus on now, this hour, thus all other numbers are upside down.

Upside Down

Interesting I thought. But there was more.

His second design, the Half Time, comes from the love of two things combining; Two people shown as two parts combining at the top of the dial to show the current hour. Again, the only readable hour is the current hour as that is what matters.

Half Time

I will admit I felt I should have seen this theme in his work, but not having a degree in fine art, I forgave myself the oversight. Knowing the stories, I now see the watches first for their art and message, and second for their mechanical marvel.

As the Half Time I acquired was close to 5 years old I anticipated the need for a service. Ludovic ran a few tests and pronounced that not only was everything fine, but the variance was zero, the movement was running as it had the day it was made without a single second of variance.

Truly magical.

Driving back to Geneva on that eerily straight rode my fears had been replaced with a large smile, the visit had been so much more than I have imagined. I had a peek into the soul of the watch and the watchmaker, been welcomed as an old friend, and learned just how rewarding a visit such as this can be to a collector.



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