By Jonathan Kopp
What a pleasure to see and contemplate the new Nemo Sub I by master watchmaker Thomas Prescher. Several months ago in Baselworld I had a discussion with the genius Thomas Prescher about this piece, and I have to say that I can’t wait to see the final result. For the moment I’m glad to put a description on this amazing timepiece and of course the technical details.
The 2014 NEMO SUB I is a steampunk submariner inspired mechanical watch with an automatic‐winding bi‐axial tourbillon and triple‐piece case that is produced mostly from precision machined synthetic sapphire crystal.
Thomas Prescher combines sapphire crystal with 18k red gold and palladium for one of the most unique and original watch cases ever produced. In herently avant‐garde, the NEMO SUB I case is divided into three main pieces that includes a larger central tube, as well as two smaller peripheral tubes on each side. The purpose of the side tubes is to indicate the hours and minutes, as they are connected by a discreet gear shaft to the cylindrical mechanical movement that is placed inside the larger main tube.
This is perhaps the ultimate exhibition case and movement. For the first time ever Thomas Prescher has designed a movement with a half‐cylinder‐shaped automatic rotor that winds in each direction. Visible through the sapphire crystal tube case, it powers the carefully assembled bi‐axial tourbillon movement.
The front of the case has a view showing the tourbillon which spins on two axis points, eachin 60 second rotations. The design makes for a visually stunning display as only Thomas Prescher ‐ a master of multi‐axis tourbillon–is capable of presenting. Toward to rear of the main case is a second gyroscopic‐style (or cardanic spherical oscillator) automatic rotor which is used for a purely whimsical purposes.
Its function is power the functioning propellers shafts located in each of the side tubes. These exist to complete the submarine fantasy in the world of Captain Nemo. At the top of the NEMO SUB I case are two porthole‐style crowns that are used to either set the time or wind the mechanical movement.
Thomas Prescher has ensured that despite the unorthodox nature of the NEMO SUB I design, any watch lover will understand its operation inherently. Thomas Prescher’s journey into the steampunk aesthetic began in 2012 with the release of the Nemo Sailor and later in 2013 with the tourbillon‐based Nemo Captain.
2014 continues Thomas Prescher’s fascination with the world retro‐futuristic world of steampunk with the NEMO SUB I, while will be part of a limited edition of only five pieces. The initial piece will be produced in 2014, while the remaining four pieces will be delivered starting in 2015. Each Thomas Prescher watch is produced in Switzerland exclusively by Thomas Prescher himself.
Nemo Sub I technical specs from Thomas Prescher:
• Central tube: Sapphire glass tube diameter 20mm, Length ca. 67mm
• Side tubes: Sapphire glass tube diameter 7mm, Length 47mm
• Frame material: 18k Red gold 750/1000 and Palladium 950/1000
• Hours: Spiral tuning bar in the right side tube; it turns 3 times in 12 hours before jumping back to its original position.
• Minutes: Spiral tuning bar in the right side tube, it turns 3 times in one hour before jumping back its original position.
• Seconds: Double hand with red gold tips fixed to the 2nd Axis of the tourbillon.
• Propellers: The propellers in the side tubes have aesthetic purpose only.
• Hatch/bulkhead on top of the tube has to be opened and from there a crown is risen. After switching from neutral to setting or winding with the hatch switch, the crown can be turned and the movement set or wound.
• Double Axis Tourbillon
– First Axis coaxial with the middle tube center, holding pipe with inner axis to transmit force.
– Second axis is inclined 45° and fixed to the rotating part of first tourbillon axis.
– 21,000 beats per hour, regular balance wheel with flat hairspring.
– Special system design that does not require lower escapement bridge.
• Movement structure built in eight sections:
– Section one is the tourbillon, section two is the reduction gear, section three is the time indication gear, section four is the barrel, section five is the automatic gear, section six is the oscillation weight, section seven is the propeller gear, and section eight is gyroscopic oscillating weight for the propeller system.
• Vertical automatic system winds movement while turning in either direction, single barrel with mainspring, power reserve ca. 40 hours.
• Movement designed in vertical position.
• Unique time indication system with two spiral turning bars with engraved numbers. After three turns a hidden mechanic uncouples and the bar jumps back in its starting position.
• Double 90° inclined gear to transmit rotation through a hidden connection in the frame from central tube to time indication.
• Double 90° inclined gear to transmit rotation through a hidden connection in the frame from central tube to propellers
Jonathan Kopp – Contributing Writer
Jonathan Kopp has an avid enthusiasm for timepieces of all genre, from vintage timepieces to modern Luxury Haute Horology. His preference goes to small and independent high-end watchmakers. He loves the difference rather than classicism, although if he admits to being in love with several ultra-classics pieces. Jonathan was caught by the passion for watchmaking there are almost 6 years. For about 5 years, he wanders in this industry and was Communication-Marketing-PR Consultant for several brands. He has worked for over 2 years as a freelance for the development of the Swiss brand Arthur Oskar Stampfli (AOSWatches). Read his articles here.
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