Batons, sticks, dots, Arabic or roman numerals, applied or painted; the watch industry is a source for a vast array of sometimes very creative markers. Some brands go for the traditional approach, while others opt for a more creative “twist” to indicate time. We’ve covered the Ludovic Ballouard Halftime before, featuring split markers spread across two discs, but now the Swiss independent manufacturer introduces the Halftime with Chinese markers.
China is still a growing, power-economy with an ever increasing number of wealthy individuals. With this rising number of millionaires and billionaires comes a likely equally increasing hunger for High-End, whether it is cars, houses, boats, clothing or watches of course. Over the course of the past couple of years we’ve seen a number of China-editions from several watchmakers and now Ludovic Ballouard joins this group.
No year-of-the-horse or carp-turning-into-dragon-myth here. Ludovic Ballouard chose to use traditional Chinese markings – split in half and placed on two discs that rotate in each other’s opposite direction. One jumps clockwise, while the other is mirrored and jumps counterclockwise. The movement gathers power through the course of an hour, and releases it to instantaneously turn both discs to show a perfect numeral at 12 o’clock. The technical wizardry behind this is a feast for the eyes, as you can see through the sapphire caseback.
The movement is entirely made in-house except for the gear the gear train, barrel and ratchet wheel that are based on the Peseux 7001 architecture. However, it has nothing to do with this simple movement, both on a technical or finish point of view. Once totally build up, it is composed of more than 300 pieces and measures 35mm (compared to the 98 pieces and 23mm of the Peseux movement). The finish is also bringing some extra refinement: concentric graining on the plates and bridges and very complex polished beveled angles.
The retrograde minutes can be read through the arch on the bottom half of the dial which has Arabic numerals for every ten minutes. The leaf shaped hand is positioned at 6 o’clock and jumps back in sync with the two discs jumping forward to the new hour.
The Chinese hour markings used for the Halftime are 1-12 but in Mandarin. For non-Chinese people, it is a bit hard to read, although the numerals 1 to 3 are quite self-explanatory. Even some of the other numerals are readable with some creativity as the 7 seems flipped upside down. Here’s a full overview of the numbers.
The choice you have is either a platinum case with black dial and white markers, attached to a black alligator strap with platinum B-style buckle or a red-gold case with a white dial and red-gold markers on a brown alligator strap and matching gold buckle. The rest of the specifications remain the same.
It somehow makes sense to introduce a watch, aimed for the Chinese market, with Chinese numerals but we haven’t seen something like this before. Ludovic Ballouard isn’t going to sell hundreds of these obviously, but it seems more then fitting that an independent caters to a market focused on ‘unique’.
The Ludovic Ballouard Halftime with Chinese numerals is non-limited, and priced at € 62,600Eur in platinum and € 57,700Eur in red gold. For more information about Ludovic Ballouard, and its watches – Halftime or Upside-Down – go ahead the official website.
As a little bonus, a grey dialed version with roman numerals was present during shooting, featuring a single red marker for the 2. Coincidentally this is the corresponding number of the watch in the limited run of 12 pieces in total for this version and the owner wanted something to set it apart from the rest of the collection.