In a League of Its Own: Thomas Prescher Triple Axis Tourbillon Regulator Watch

Few watch lovers will ever have the pleasure of owning a Thomas Prescher timepiece. Prescher makes a very limited amount of watches each year, and they are often extremely expensive. The level of horological understanding necessary to appreciate his craft is also intimidating. Merely grasping what a “triple axis flying tourbillon” even is can require years of being exposed to luxury mechanical timepieces. Though to the layperson, a simple way of understanding this compounded complication is by mentioning the simple fact that more or less only Thomas Prescher and his workshop maintain the ability to create these machines. They are so complex and require such infinite precision and use of tiny parts that others, no matter how hard they try, cannot replicate Prescher’s techniques. A master in his watchmaking domain, Prescher has always been eccentric and independent.

The Triple Axis Tourbillon Regulator is one of his most complex watches to date. In addition to using precious materials, the watch involves a dizzying level of precision work that requires many (many) hours to complete. A simple singe axis tourbillon is complex enough. Tourbillon watches are regarded so highly among collectors and come with such high premiums due to their complexity and beauty.

Most tourbillon watches out there involve a single axis style spinning escapement. The watch’s escapement revolves around itself, creating the tourbillon (whirlwind) motion. Adding axes of movement means that it moves around itself in more than one direction. Thomas Prescher makes single, double and triple axis tourbillons, each with an increasingly complex movement. He proudly displays his tourbillon cages suspended on a single arm, sitting in an open window for viewing purposes.

Seen here, the tourbillon first motions as the arm moves around the entire circular window (axis 1) one each minute. This is actually the minute indicator for the watch. The tourbillon then spins around itself in both a Y and X plane axis, which are the second and third axis points. A good way of understanding it without a helpful visual, is to consider that the tourbillon escapement rotates around itself, while spinning, and turning — all at the same time.

Being a regulator, the watch has separate dials for the hours, minutes and seconds. The complex Calibre TP 3W6A.3 manually wound movement features something called a constant force escapement that ensures that power moves from the mainspring into the movement helping it stay optimally accurate despite the high power drain from the triple axis tourbillon. Power reserve is still a respectable 40 hours. Aside from being complex, the movement features incredibly beautiful hand-engraved gold-plated brass bridges — as well as some signature parts and techniques completely exclusive to Thomas Prescher.

The watch comes in a 43-mm wide case in various precious metals with 18-karat gold hands and dial applications. The dial itself is in a very thick black onyx that gives is a gorgeous deep black look. Unlike watches with a more “processed” look, Thomas Prescher pieces retain a craftsman feel to them that has a delicate degree of humanity in them.

Interested? Thomas Prescher will make one especially for you — a fact clearly indicated by the high value of his products. The Triple Axis Tourbillon Regulator watch is priced at 525,000 Swiss Francs in pink gold, 545,000 Swiss Francs in white gold, and tops out at 575,000 Swiss Francs in platinum. They are quite literally some of the most exclusive watches in the world.

Ariel Adams is the Haute Living Watch Editor and also publishes the luxury watch review site

1. 43-mm wide case in gold or platinum
2. Triple axis flying tourbillon in window
3. Tourbillon rotation serves also as minute hand
4. Subsidiary hours hand
5. Deep black onyx stone dial
6. Subsidiary seconds hand