woensdag 23 juni 2010

Persbericht Thomas Prescher

Thomas Prescher presenting the Triple Axis Tourbillon Regulator

The world's only triple-axis flying tourbillon wristwatch A triple-axis tourbillon is extremely rare; a triple-axis tourbillon wristwatch even more so. However, Thomas Prescher's triple-axis flying tourbillon is not simply extremely rare – it is absolutely unique.


Thomas Prescher’s passion for horology was born of a childhood obsession with collecting crystals and minerals. As a teenager on a visit to a local jewellery shop, his eye drifted to the watchmaker working at his bench and he was smitten. He began working part-time at the store and became familiar with the mechanics of watches and clocks.

Prescher decided to study watchmaking and he won the single apprenticeship position offered yearly by IWC. The watch he crafted at the end of his four-year apprenticeship – which he completed in three years – was a rare, half-flying tourbillon and he came top of his class.

Prescher then moved to Audemars Piguet in Frankfurt, where he also obtained his Master Watchmaker certificate. Then it was back to Switzerland to work in the restoration department of Gübelin where he had the opportunity to restore some of the world’s most iconic and complicated timepieces and to create bespoke watches for special clients.

Four years at Gübelin was followed by a brief spell at Progress Watch, then a position as Production Manager for Blancpain. In 2002 Prescher opened his own restoration atelier, making time to craft a watch of his own that became the world’s first double-axis tourbillon with constant-force device. This earned him his place as a candidate of the AHCI in 2003.

Why a flying tourbillon?

A normal tourbillon is supported by bridges top and bottom that obstruct a clear view into the tourbillon. Although much more difficult to achieve, Thomas Prescher chose to make his triple-axis tourbillon fully flying, i.e. supported by just one side so that very little impedes visual access to the kinetic ballet of the triple-axis tourbillon.

Further ensuring that absolutely nothing diminishes the pleasure of enjoying the tourbillon in all its beauty, the complex and intricate triple-axis tourbillon mechanism is driven via two conical gears instead of the easier gear-to-gear solution. Thomas Prescher was the first, and is still the only watchmaker to use this system.

The difficulty in supporting anything by just one end is balance. When an object is supported on two sides its equilibrium is not as critical as if it is supported on only one. However, imagine balancing an object moving through not one, not two, but three different planes!

Constant-force mechanism

While the triple-axis tourbillon mechanism, which includes the escapement wheel, pallets, anchor, balance spring and balance wheel, is extremely light in weight – the smallest screw is less than 1/1000th of a gram – it is actually heavy in relation to the amount of energy available. One of the major issues regarding multi-axis tourbillons is ensuring an ample supply of power to the escapement, the mechanism that regulates timekeeping.

To resolve this problem, Prescher has added a constant-force device inside the tourbillon cage turning around the first axis. This device transmits energy directly to the escapement six times per second, i.e. with every beat of the oscillating balance. The main power train drives the tourbillon and recharges the constant-force spring so that it always has sufficient power on tap for the escapement. The "Jeanneret" constant-force system used requires no energy-sapping levers, but works efficiently using the different inertias of the escapement wheel and tourbillon carriage.