IWC Schaffhausen has unveiled its latest horological masterpiece – the Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Tourbillon Markus Bühler. This exceptional timepiece serves as the long-awaited successor to the iconic Big Pilot’s Watch Edition Markus Bühler, originally released in 2008. With its integration of a flying minute tourbillon featuring the characteristic aircraft turbine at 6:00, this watch stands as a testament to precision engineering and watchmaking excellence.
Limited to just 51 pieces (price on request), this new interpretation of the “Markus Bühler” watch (Ref. IW329901) is crafted in a polished platinum case and boasts a glossy black dial and a black Cordovan leather strap. It is powered by the IWC-manufactured 82905 caliber with blackened components, visible via the sapphire case back.
Among IWC Schaffhausen’s iconic Pilot’s Watches collection, the original Big Pilot’s Watch Edition Markus Bühler from 2008 has achieved iconic stature. Inspired by a unique piece created by IWC watchmaker Markus Bühler during his final year of apprenticeship at IWC, this watch was distinguished by its striking aircraft turbine on the small seconds sub-dial. Now, IWC releases an exclusive new interpretation with the small turbine on the dial, but this time, the turbine it has been ingeniously integrated into a flying minute tourbillon at 6:00.
The incorporation of the turbine into a tourbillon presented a unique challenge. In a tourbillon, the balance and escapement are housed in a small rotating cage, and reducing its mass is essential to conserve energy. Thus, the turbine was machined from a lightweight titanium alloy, a process that took several hours due to the complex geometry and small dimensions. Each of the twelve minuscule blades was meticulously hand-polished to achieve an exquisite level of detail. The turbine also serves a technical purpose, as the hairspring attaches to the underside of one of its blades, allowing watchmakers to adjust the balance’s zero crossing by turning the turbine.
This state-of-the-art tourbillon comprises 56 parts and weighs just 0.663 grams. The pallet lever and escape wheel are treated with Diamond Shell® technology, a special coating that reduces friction and enhances energy flow within the movement.
The watch’s exterior is equally impressive, featuring a platinum case and crown, hand-finished with polished surfaces around the bezel and horns. The black lacquered, glossy dial boasts white numerals and Super-LumiNova®-filled applied indices for superior legibility. Completing the look is a black Cordovan leather strap bearing Markus Bühler’s signature on the inner side. The IWC-manufactured 82905 caliber, equipped with a Pellaton winding system reinforced with ceramic components, offers a generous power reserve of 80 hours. Plates, bridges, and the rotor are visible through the sapphire case back and are treated with a PVD coating, laser-engraved, and rhodium-plated in the engraved areas.
The journey of the Big Pilot’s Watch Edition Markus Bühler and its re-edition is a testament to IWC’s apprentice program. The original watch, created for a competition, eventually led to Markus Bühler’s rise within IWC, where he has held various positions, culminating in his current role as Associate Director of Watch & Movement Assembly.
Markus Bühler, Associate Director of Watch and Movement Assembly at IWC Schaffhausen, shared his insights on the project: “When I created my Big Pilot’s Watch with a turbine as an apprentice watchmaker, I would never have imagined I would lead the development of a second edition 15 years later – let alone that I would be responsible for all assembly processes at IWC. To meet the high expectations of our collectors, we decided to create something truly exclusive and integrate the signature turbine into a tourbillon. This new edition perfectly embodies IWC’s engineering spirit while showcasing the highest levels of detail and craftsmanship.”