A triple axis tourbillon is a rare beast; a triple axis tourbillon in a wristwatch rarer still; a triple axis flying tourbillon regulator is a feat of technique and a world first from Thomas Prescher. When in 2003 Thomas Prescher presented his double axis flying tourbillon pocket watch, a colleague passed the remark that it would be impossible to fit a double axis tourbillon inside the small space of a wristwatch. Prescher decided there and then to take up the challenge. Just one year later he unveiled his famous trilogy of single, double and triple axis flying tourbillons; needless to say, all three inside a wristwatch. This, however, was not enough for the watchmaker whose latest creation is an astounding Triple Axis Tourbillon Regulator.
As the presentation of the watch explains, “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.”
When watchmaking becomes an art
A further characteristic of this timepiece is that, in order to supply sufficient power to the escapement – even if the tourbillon itself is extraordinarily light with screws that weigh less than a thousandth of a gram – Thomas Prescher has incorporated a constant-force mechanism inside the tourbillon cage (Jeanneret system). It rotates around the first axis and transmits energy directly to the escapement six times a second, once with each beat of the oscillating balance.
This triple axis tourbillon makes one complete rotation an hour, tracking the minutes as it does. Regulator-style hours and seconds are shown in sub-dials. “At this extreme level of micro-mechanical sophistication and miniaturisation, watchmaking ceases to be about timekeeping and becomes pure art,” the presentation, very rightly, concludes.