THOMAS PRESCHER HAUTE HORLOGERIE –
Located on Lake Biel’s shores, Ipsach lies near the foot of the jura mountains. This scenic area of Switzerland has not only been home to winemaking for centuries, but also various small and highly specialized watch manufacturers. The solitude and atmosphere of tradition surrounding the town, the natural beauty of the lake and forest, made it an ideal location for the founding of Thomas Prescher Haute Horlogerie in 2002.
This decision to found an independent Swiss watchmaking workshop was naturally preceded by many years of intense study and apprenticeships. Having entered the German Navy for the officer carrier at the age of 19 and finishing six years later in 1991, Thomas Prescher decided the time had come to turn his passionate interest in watchmaking into a tangible reality.
Using the well-developed sense of discipline and planning attained during his time in the navy, he spent more than a year buying up dozens of old, broken clocks and watches, teaching himself to repair them, and reading technical books and articles in order to be able to compete for the single apprenticeship position that became available each year at IWC. Thomas Prescher was accepted, completing the four-year apprenticeship in only three as the year’s top student of switzerland.
Thomas Prescher’s first real job in the industry was at Audemars Piguet’s German service center, where he remained for about one and a half years. This was followed by four years at Gübelin in Lucerne, where he not only specialized in the restoration of antique and complicated watches, but also the manufacture of custom-made timepieces. These tasks strengthened Prescher’s interest in complicated watches, which had already become a personal passion during his apprenticeship period. His sketchbooks from this period are filled with detailed drawings of single, double, and even triple axis tourbillons, which he was to later realize, as well as original designs for perpetual calendar and sidereal time movements.
By the time he founded his workshop, he was already well known in collector’s circles for his predilection for complicated watches. Complicated antique timepieces by the likes of Abraham-Louis Breguet, Thomas Earnshaw, Girard-Perregaux, Ferdinand Adolf Lange, John Arnold, Patek Philippe, Urban Jürgensen, LeRoy, Thomas Mudge, and Thomas Tompion regularly arrived in his workshop for restoration.
Therefore it is not surprising that complications also form the basis of Thomas Prescher’s own wristwatch collection.
Tempusvivendi, his first creation, is based on a double retrograde complication, first developed in the eighteenth century. Today it features an artistically engraved or enameled scene on the dial, usually focusing on a centrally placed human or animal figure. When the button hidden in the crown is pressed, the extremities of the figure on the dial move to show the correct hours and minutes. When the button is pressed again, the scene returns to its non-temporal resting state, the most attractive and anatomically correct position.
In 2003, Thomas Prescher was accepted as a candidate member of the illustrious AHCI—Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendents (Horological Academy of Independent Creators). That year at Baselworld, he exhibited both a double axis tourbillon pocket watch and the first watch of the Tempusvivendi line at the AHCI booth.
The tremendously positive reactions to these works convinced him, that the time was ripe to develop the Tourbillon Trilogy for Baselworld 2004. A triple world premiere, the set contained single, double, and triple axis tourbillons powered by in-house movements conceived and constructed by the independent master watchmaker Thomas Prescher himself. Not only did these wristwatch tourbillons include a constant force mechanism, the set also premiered a flying triple axis tourbillon wristwatch.
Thomas Prescher meanwhile offers individual tourbillons outside of the Tourbillon Trilogy, always completed according to the special wishes of his customers. The Tempusvivendi line now includes several exquisite base models that can be customized as the client desires.
Prescher is continuing his work in this basic philosophy, today, creating complicated timepieces with exceptional designs.