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Thomas Prescher Nemo Sub I Watch Is Steampunk Submersible

Thomas Prescher Nemo Sub I Watch Is Steampunk Submersible Watch Releases

Late night e-mails from German-born Swiss watchmaker Thomas Prescher are always interesting. This is the man who has brought us the first triple axis-tourbillon and who really epitomizes the concept of independent watchmaker. Always inspired, the newest watch by Mr. Prescher is his most impressive and ambitious project yet. Called the Nemo Sub I, this is perhaps the most interesting new watch of 2014, and is likely to stay that way.

What you see is a mostly sapphire crystal case that is meant to look like a steampunk submarine dreamed out of the work of early science fiction writer Jules Verne. This is also the third in a series of “Nemo” watches, inspired by the Captain Nemo character that is featured in Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island.  This watch journey began with the simple (for Thomas Prescher) limited edition Nemo Sailor in 2012 and later more complicated and also limited Nemo Captain tourbillon in 2013. For 2014 the two first pieces are totally blown out of the water with the Nemo Sub I, a watch that, while fitting into the overall steampunk collection, is something totally different.

Thomas Prescher Nemo Sub I Watch Is Steampunk Submersible Watch Releases

Thomas Prescher Nemo Sub I Watch Is Steampunk Submersible Watch Releases

The case has two “side cars” in the form of peripheral tubes also produced from mostly synthetic sapphire crystal. All the metal hardware on the case is 18k red gold as well as palladium. The two smaller peripheral tubes each have two purposes. First they indicate either the hours (left) or minutes (right), and second they contain actual working (spinning) propellers. The side tubes cannot function alone however, as they are connected to the main case via “mystery” gear shafts that go through the brackets that seem to hold the entire assembly together.

The way the hours are minutes are indicated is via a tube that moves up and down as it spins and is read through an indicator window. It is quite an ingenious solution and I’ve never see anything quite like it. How does the watch look on the wrist? Weird of course. It is certainly wearable though, especially because the gold part of the case is meant to wrap around your wrist. Again, not a daily wear, but a very interesting design. Not sure about water resistance though.. you’d think a lot for a watch themed after a fantasy submarine right?

Thomas Prescher Nemo Sub I Watch Is Steampunk Submersible Watch Releases

Thomas Prescher Nemo Sub I Watch Is Steampunk Submersible Watch Releases

More surprises come in the form of the movement. Entirely made by hand and exclusively by Thomas Prescher himself, the movement is both an automatic and tourbillon-based. Bi-axial tourbillon actually. The tourbillon spins in two directions, with each being in 60 second rotations. The tourbillon is visible through the front of the case and it makes for a pretty awesome view in the entirely see-through case.


The movement is also an automatic, as I mentioned. It does not use a normal rotor, though: Thomas Prescher designed it with a half cylinder versus half circle style rotor and it winds when spinning in both directions. It is toward the middle of the case and again, is viewable in the movement. Thomas Prescher reports about 40 hours of power reserve. A label of “Steam Engine” sits on the movement.

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  • abhishes

    I was interested till I saw it on the man’s wrist. that just killed it for me.

  • ZL

    The leather strap is good, but I’d like to see it on a steel bracelet also.

  • Zeitblom

    It’s beautiful because it exists, eh? Well, Donatella Versace exists. Perhaps you would like to reconsider that line of reasoning….

  • abhishes Exactly. I thought it was interesting until I saw the case strapped to a wrist. Then I busted out laughing. How ridiculous looking. But technically, I still find it interesting. But I guess I was also hoping that it was somehow steam powered.

  • Ulysses31

    Seeing this for the first time is one of those “holy shit” moments.  It’s incredibly audacious.  I think it looks more like a ship from Star Trek with those “warp nacelles” on either side.  Surprise is mixed with dismay, as it is a reminder once again that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.  Is Thomas Prescher trying to be the Lady Gaga of the horological world?  That’s really not something he should aspire to, because there’s a difference between shocking someone with your brilliance and shocking them with randomness.  This isn’t practical as a watch and looks like it was conceived in the mind of a small child.  It might pass as a curious desk ornament or as some time inflation device worn by Doctor Who, but nothing more.  
    To be fair to Thomas Prescher he has come up with some very beautiful watches in the past, this is hopefully just an isolated lapse in judgement.

  • Fraser Petrick

    OK, that’s it! I’m swearing off that devil rum!

  • Fraser Petrick

    MarkCarson abhishes “steamed powered” ? As in “chugga, chugga, toot, toot”?

  • DangerussArt

    Wholly crap! Even MB&F would think this is over the top.

  • CG

    What was Captain Nemo’s sub, the Nautilus? Should there be little tiny people in there?

  • CG

    Or maybe Nemo’s wrist Catamaran… Cowabunga!


    Many houses could be bought instead of this obnoxious upstart. These horologists should simply ally themselves with the gentry & produce creations on consignments.

  • PrestoMan

    You’d be lying if you said this isn’t an interesting piece. If anything, this serves an excellent role as a “concept” watch – it provides others with ideas and opinions about watches that has likely never been expressed before. This can then be taken for interpretation and modification by other watch makers for production of pieces that are still within the brand’s tradition or set of ideas, while providing a fresh outlook to satisfy the publics hunger for new things.

  • aleximd2000

    it reminds me of videoclips with afroamericans with wallclocks on their chests  cool

  • Frauss

    You’d better be Obi Wan Kenobe to get this under your sleeve. First flying bathroom scales, now a steam powered diver! Ariel’s been drinking the Kool-aid!

  • emenezes

    On the plate, instead of “Prescher”, it should say, paraphrasing Magritte: “Ceci est une montre.”

  • Fraser Petrick MarkCarsonabhishesYeah, a genuinely steam powered  watch would be very technically interesting. And would match the steampunk look of  the watch, err…wrist submarine. This thing gives new meaning to the term “Desk Diver”.

  • antjay

    Scaled up 100% this would make an awesome desk clock . Scaled down 50% and it would make a very interesting watch . Sometimes a thought bubble should remain a thought bubble .

  • Kris C

    Was it DeWitt that made the similar wrist monstrosity, where the actual time telling portion slid out from the main case? It also looked ridiculous on the wrist. ‘Incognito” or something like that. 

    Stuff like this exists so that people can show off what they can do, not because they think they are going to start creating new trends. I think it looks laughable on the wrist, and I couldn’t be happier that it is being done.

  • IvanGopey

    DeWitt X-1

  • Not a single penis pump joke? No? Anyone?

  • CG  I think the PC term is “miniature horlogerian companions”

  • CG

    …and at a convenient location for quick use, this being a “proto”type it would definitely have to be scaled way up!

  • I red somewhere that swiss watchmakers are very serious with tradition when making watches!!! Take a look at Hublot burgers… That in 10 years became a fashion worldwide.!!! So don’t be surprised if this watch is in the top 10 in the years to come. After all, the time a watch was just round with 2 hands is long ago gone but people loaded with money there will always be around us!

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