Tempusvivendi originates in the golden era of artistic and technical horology of the eighteenth century. This period was not only renowned for some of the greatest horological inventions in history, but was also an epoch in which a watch combined valuable timekeeping properties with a high level of visual artistry and personal pleasure.
The roots of the Tempusvivendi line from Thomas Prescher originate in the early part of the eighteenth century, the golden era of artistic and technical extravaganzas – a time when horologists were developing the first watches with retrograde indications as an alternative to the everyday circular dial.
Retrograde displays are currently enjoying a great revival thanks to their clarity and extreme legibility. The hands move along a semi-circular arc; upon reaching 60 minutes or 12 hours, they spring back to the beginning and start all over again. Retrograde indicators are naturally used to present all kinds of information: date, months, days, temperature, barometric pressure, and much more.
In the second quarter of the eighteenth century, the montre en bras represented the second stage of this retrograde development. These types of watches saw retrograde indications combined with etched or cast figures, moving the extreme legibility of the retrograde indication into the world of visual and artistic representation. These early pieces often depicted people, animals and even fully developed scenes.
One extremity of the figure showed the minutes, while the other displayed the hours. For this reason, the montre en bras (literally «watch in arms») was also known as the bras en l’air, or «arms in the air,» and various technical types were developed. Some versions have the figure permanently in motion, always depicting the time.
Later, more advanced versions had the figures at rest, in a non-temporal state without indicating the time. When a button was pressed and held down, these figures showed the time on two retrograde scales. When the button was released, the figures returned to their resting state. These watches were a perfect example of how an artist combined legibility with beauty and personality in a fashion rarely seen today.
Thomas Prescher has further developed this exquisite and currently rare concept by allowing the wearer the choice of having the figure continuously show the time or allowing it to simply remain in its non-temporal state until called upon. This is achieved through the use of a complicated and ingenious gearing system that he developed. After closely studying and researching many original bras en l’air pieces while restoring them, Thomas Prescher was able to construct his own version, creating a special mechanism.
Thomas Prescher has always been specialized in the production of small series and custom-made watches to suit a client’s particular wish.
The Tempusvivendi line allows a variety of figures such as animals, human figures, symbols, emblems, and a great number of other subjects to be used. These can be created using any combination of engraving, enameling, and gem setting. Individual and unique timepieces are thus created, timepieces as one-of-a-kind as their owners. Each one, a work of art unto itself, tells its own story.
Double retrograde indication of time
Continuously running display of minutes and jumping display of hours (temporal display)
Special device for switching between the figure displaying the time and being in a non-temporal resting position (activated by button in crown)
Diameter: 37 mm, including module
Height: 7 mm, including module
Power reserve: 40 hours
Number of jewels: 25 bearing jewels
Frequency: 28800 beats per hour (4Hz)
Escapement: Swiss lever escapement
Balance spring: flat hairspring
Shock protection: Incabloc
Decoration: completely hand-engraved and gold-plated
Rotor: 18-karat gold, completely hand-engraved
Jumping hours (retrograde), minutes (retrograde)
Each shown by one of the figure’s extremities on a semicircular scale
Material: 18-karat gold
Diameter: 43 mm
Height: 16.1 mm
Glass sapphire glass on front (convex) and on back (ﬂat)
Crown contains button for activating time display
Water resistance 1 atm (10 meters)
Material: onyx or precious metal
Figure: 18-karat gold
Index plates: 18-karat gold
Name plates :18-karat gold
Hand-cut and –sewn alligator skin uppers and lowers
Buckle 18-karat gold