Article contentAfter being whisked efficiently into Basel by Thomas, we went in to the AHCI stand to meet up with a relatively unknown outside these rarified halls, M. Ludovic Ballouard. Inventor of the Upside Down watch, he received many accolades by collectors in the know, and who I might add spend arguably way too much time surfing the web long into the night learning about this passion of ours, myself included!!! Originally from Brittany in North Western France, he subsequently joined many of his colleagues in Switzerland after watchmaking school. Recently working for another countryman, Monsieur F.P. Journe, he was tasked with the sonnerie work. His debut watch, the "Upside Down" is rather fascinating and quite clever while being whimsical. Here it is:
The creator, Ludovic and myself
Following up this well received piece is "Half Time", which is essentially a jump hour with retrograde minutes but executed in a novel way, the two hour discs rotate in opposite directions, instantaneously jumping on the hour to form the correct roman numeral hour. I have to say I marginally prefer this to Ludovic's first offering. I have several pictures as follows:
The platinum Half Time.
The business end of the Half Time, cased in platinum, quite lovely!
Our next port of call was across the exhibition plaza at the so called Palace, where the likes of Speake-Marin, M.B &F and others are to be found. A small company that was founded by an ex-Patek-Philippe employee, Monsieur Laurent Ferrier, got everyone's attention with their first watch, the Galet Classic Tourbillon Double Balance Spring a couple of years ago. Their recent addition to the line up is the Galet Micro-rotor, an automatic watch with a rather unique, to my knowledge, escapement. The new double direct-impulse escapement fitted directly on the balance is equipped with a silicon lever is inspired by Abraham-Loius Breguet's invention, the natural escapement. Designed by Ferrier to improve efficiency and improve amplitude, it is welcome addition to their offering. Hand finished to a very high degree, this elegant watch will appeal to many.
Here are the two models that I was able to enjoy. First up are both versions of the Tourbillon with a stunning cream enamel dial and the other black onyx. Each sporting the elongated romans that I so love, I was smitten. To follow the Galet Micro-Rotor.
Clean, classic and lovely. I'm a convert after spending ome time with these watches. I have thought they were a bit too Genevan in the past, if you know what I mean! They are in a class of their own.
The RG Galet Tourbillon Double Hairspring.
The beautiful caliber of the Galet Tourbillon.
Another version of the RG Galet Tourbillon, this one with applied RG roman numerals on a grey dial.
Here yet another version in WG with a stunning black Onyx dial and painted white roman numerals.
The back of the WG Galet Tourbillon.
A brace of Tourbillons by Ferrier!
Now we get to look at the Galet Micro Rotor, Laurent Ferrier's latest model. This did not debut in Basel, so not a brand new release, but still exciting to see and handle in person.
The RG Galet Micro Rotor.
The back showing off the solid gold rotor and stunning high quality hand finishing.
Another view of the Galet Micro Rotor, showing off the sublime black polishing of the steel bridges.
Here a WG version of the Galet Micro Rotor.
The caliber of the WG Micro Rotor.
I must say it was a great pleasure to be able to spend some time with these exquisite pieces, and I can see why so many of my friends are smitten. They are not inexpensive pieces and they will appeal to a rather narrow market, which understands and appreciates what they represent. I'd say congratulations to Laurent and his team for creating such classic pieces with innovative calibers. These will stand the test of time.