The first Upside Down watch delivered. Photo essay and report

Posted by IanS 
avatar The first Upside Down watch delivered. Photo essay and report
January 14, 2010 05:52PM
At the end of April 2009, after 7 years with the brand, Ludovic Ballouard left F.P.Journe where he was working on Journe's flagship model, the Sonnerie Souveraine, to work as an independent. He had a few ideas and a few sketches, nothing more.

At around that same time, a Paris-based friend mentioned to his watch-collecting boss - Count Philippe de Nicolay, President of the Supervisory board of Rothschild & Cie Bank - Ludovic's plans. Knowing nothing at all about the watch Ludovic was developing or what it might look like, except that it would feature a never-before-seen complication.

Ludovic planned to commence with a limited-edition series of 12 watches, with first deliveries tentatively (and very ambitiously in my view) anticipated before the end of the year.

Mr. de Nicolay immediately ordered watch No.1

In September 2009, 5 months after he had placed his order, Mr. de Nicolay saw the first sketch of the Upside Down watch. While he did see that most of the hours were 'upside down, he had no idea how the complication functioned.


As I followed Ludovic's progress, I was continually surprised that, despite being a very complicated and totally unlike anything seen before complication, that the development, the prototyping and the production all went closely to schedule.

Perhaps after working on Journe's grand sonneries lesser complications appeared relatively easy to Ludovic, as even if the development took another year I would have considered it fast.

And Ludovic had not finished surprising me: in early December he invited me to accompany him to Paris to deliver his very first watch, Upside Down No.1, to Count Philippe de Nicolay at the Rothschild Bank.


Ludovic has a last minute check of the watch on the TGV Geneva-Paris


Relax, it's still working


No signs, no plaques. Rothschild & Cie bank doesn't need to advertise its presence.


Ludovic handing over Upside Down No.1 to its eager new owner, Philippe de Nicolay


That crocodile leather pouch is taken from the same skin as the strap.


Slowly savouring the experience of discovering a completely new watch.


It looks so simple from this side. Each of the 12 limited-edition models has their serial number as a red hour as well as engraved X/12 on the back of the case, crown and tang buckle (see video and report).




First sight!


The moment of truth, 'How does it feel on the wrist?' (notice the red '1')


Upside Down No.1 now in its natural habitat.


While the dial might not attract attention at first glance, the movement certainly will.




How does it work? There is only a minute hand (and sub-seconds), the hour is indicated by being the correct way up.

For more information, please see Introducing Ludovic Ballouard, an upcoming new Independent and Master engraver Bernard Ditzoff engraves two platinum Upside Down crowns.

Ian Skellern -Revolution Online moderator

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Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/15/2010 05:33PM by IanS.
avatar Re: The first Upside Down watch delivered. Photo essay and report
January 15, 2010 06:40AM
Well, I'm the 1st one to comment on this!

Congratulations to Ludovic Ballouard, this watch is honestly a great achievement where taste, function and humor are combined.

Ballouard is a master, and I can't wait to see what his future creations will be.


What kind of movement is it using? All in-house I suppose?
Re: The first Upside Down watch delivered. Photo essay and report
January 15, 2010 08:22AM
Correct, it's entirely in-house.
avatar The complication is entirely in-house, but
January 15, 2010 08:24AM
it is driven by the gear train of an existing movement

Ian Skellern -Revolution Online moderator

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avatar Ludovic Ballouard will be presenting 'Upside Down in Geneva during the fair
January 15, 2010 08:27AM
He will be at the www.parcdeseauxvives.ch/ on the 18, 19 and 20th of January 2010.

Ian Skellern -Revolution Online moderator

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Re: The first Upside Down watch delivered. Photo essay and report
January 15, 2010 11:29AM
Woooww

This is beautiful....It is funny, original and humoristic....And even tremendously serious if i start thinking of how complicated should be inside !
A great idea, but handled and developed with taste and understatement.....

ciao,
slide68
Re: The first Upside Down watch delivered. Photo essay and report
January 15, 2010 12:45PM
Hi Ian,

Thanks for the report. The finished watch is beautiful. Any pics of the movement?

Cheers,

Curtis
avatar Re: The first Upside Down watch delivered. Photo essay and report
January 15, 2010 01:50PM
That looks very funny grinning smiley What a 'special' mind you must have to be able to design and develop a watch like this. First I was thinking what a weird idea, but after reading and seeing the video I really like it. thumbs up
avatar Here is a photo of the movement Curtis
January 15, 2010 05:30PM


Ian Skellern -Revolution Online moderator

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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/15/2010 05:30PM by IanS.
Re: The first Upside Down watch delivered. Photo essay and report
January 15, 2010 09:26PM
Wow, what a great mind! And how marvelously done! Thanks Ian for the fantastic report!
Re: The first Upside Down watch delivered. Photo essay and report
January 15, 2010 09:38PM
I was captivated by the engraving of the crown, I am intrigued by the calibre and its finsih, but i am a little bit put off by the upside down dial, I have to say. that's ok, I did not like baselitz paintings either winking smiley

very exclusive watch anyway. the owner seems happy like a kid a christmas!
avatar Re: The first Upside Down watch delivered. Photo essay and report
January 18, 2010 06:32PM
Now a technical question:

Moving the 12 H "modules" would obviously require more energy than say moving the hands. I've personally worked on concepts very similar to this as a designer, and been told that this would cause excessive strain on the movement and lead to a short life, especially when based on regular movements not built for purpose. Could someone comment on that?
avatar Turning the 'hours' with geneva/Maltese crosses uses very little power.
January 19, 2010 04:51PM
URWERK uses a similar system to turn the satellites on their UR-103 models.

Ludovic has tested the extra power used by noting the drop in amplitude of the balance when the hours turn (very little) and the loss in power reserve of the movement, which drops from 44 hours without complication to 42 hours with his complication.

The Upside Down complication is very efficient and draws little extra power.

Ian Skellern -Revolution Online moderator

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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/20/2010 08:17AM by IanS.
Re: Turning the 'hours' with geneva/Maltese crosses uses very little power.
January 21, 2010 08:57AM
The hours mechanism is very cleverly designed, and indeed won't draw much power away from the escapement. (If I'm not terribly mistaken - ) The snail on the center wheel arbor moves the 'jump lever' past the next step in the jump wheel, and as the snail drops the lever back to base level the lever advances the jump wheel and the next hour turns around. The jump lever is spring loaded so that will take care of the heavy lifting, so to speak, in the complication.

For such a visually big complication, it's remarkably simple and speaks volumes about Mr. Ballouards indisputable talent.
Thank Ian for the report................................
January 22, 2010 02:20PM
Until I read the article a couple of times and watched the video.
I didn't to much of it, but now I have totally changed my opinion.
A very unique looking piece, but with a great way to tell the time,
avatar Re: The first Upside Down watch delivered. Photo essay and report
February 04, 2010 07:02PM
¡????d ???s??u?? ?1??n1osq? u?

Claus
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Keep watching!
avatar Re: The first Upside Down watch delivered. Photo essay and report
February 05, 2010 06:32AM
cjessing Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ¡????d ???s??u?? ?1??n1osq? u?


Hmm... tried to turn the text upside down - didn't do all that well :-(

Nevertheless an absolutely amazing watch. I keep getting surprised how watchmakers come up with new ideas to display time...

Claus
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Keep watching!