Courtesy Ludovic Ballouard

5 Minutes With Ludovic Ballouard

By Sophie Stevens
07 October 2018
The eccentric independent watchmaker has released his first two in-house complications and tells GQ about his recent focus on the Middle East.

GQ: How did you start in watchmaking?

LB: I arrived in Geneva in 1998 and began at Franck Muller, where I led the after sales services department for three years. One afternoon after that I phoned a friend who worked at FP Journe, and as fate would have it a position for a watchmaker had become vacant that very morning.

I joined on the basis I would stay there for six months but ended up being there seven years, working on their famed Sonnerie Souveraine timepiece during the last three. In 2009 I decided to take the leap and start creating my own timepieces.

Ludovic Ballouard Upside Down

Upside Down timepiece in rose gold, $78,000Ludovic Ballouard

GQ: Tell us about your first in-house complication

LB: When I left FP Journe in 2009 the financial crisis had hit. Everywhere I turned there was news of money being lost - the world was obsessed with it - and it really was like the world had flipped upside down. It started me questioning humanity’s relationship with time.

The Upside Down complication is therefore based on living in the present. Only the numeral portraying the present time is displayed the right way up, with all the other numerals upside down. It reminds the wearer that the most important time is now – don’t regret the past and don’t worry about the future.

Ludovic Ballouard Half Time

Half Time timepiece in platinum, $95,000, Ludovic Ballouard

GQ: What came after that?

LB: Half Time was my second in-house complication, again focused on the present as the most important time and now inspired by love and how two halves make a whole. I found a way to split the hour numerals in two and place them on two discs. The outer disk holds the upper half of the Roman numerals, and the inner disc the bottom half.

It took me three years to create and was launched in 2012. That year also saw me create the OPUS XIII for Harry Winston, which was presented at Baselworld in 2013. So that was a busy year of barely sleeping.

Ludovic Ballouard

Ludovic Ballouard

GQ: Why is the Middle East important to you?

LB: Because it is a part of the world I haven’t had the chance to discover yet, and I am lucky enough to be an independent watchmaker who can travel the world and share what I love. We arrived in Dubai this year, which is the first location we’ve entered in the Middle East, and our timepieces can be found at Seddiqi & Sons.

GQ: What can we expect next?

LB: I would rather let time tell!