Swiss luxury watch brand IWC Schaffhausen unveils the Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Tourbillon Markus Bühler, the long-awaited successor to the Big Pilot’s Watch Edition Markus Bühler from 2008.
Markus Bühler is the Associate Director of Watch and Movement Assembly at IWC Schaffhausen. Released in 2008, the Big Pilot’s Watch Edition Markus Bühler was inspired by a unique piece Markus Bühler had created for a competition in the final year of his watchmaker apprenticeship at IWC.
Its most striking visual feature was the aircraft turbine on the small seconds. Fifteen years later, IWC presents an exclusive new interpretation.
Like its predecessor, the Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Tourbillon Markus Bühler (Ref. IW329901) features a small turbine on the dial. However, the characteristic aircraft engine has been integrated into a flying minute tourbillon at 6 o’clock this time.
Limited to 51 pieces, this new interpretation of the “Markus Bühler” watch impresses with its polished platinum case, a glossy black dial and a black Cordovan leather strap. The IWC-manufactured 82905 calibre with blackened components is visible through the sapphire glass back.
In a tourbillon, the balance and escapement are housed in a small cage that rotates around its axis once per minute. The higher its mass and inertia, the more energy it takes to keep the mechanism in motion.
Weight reduction is, therefore, the primary focus in any tourbillon construction. For this reason, the turbine was machined from a lightweight titanium alloy. Due to the complex geometry and the small dimensions, the milling process alone took several hours. After machining, each of the twelve minuscule blades was polished by hand and finished to an incredibly high level of detail and aesthetic perfection.
To avoid the turbine adding additional weight to the mechanism, Bühler used it as the upper part of the tourbillon cage, replacing the regulator. As a result, the eye-catcher on the dial also has a technical function: the hairspring attaches to the underside of one of its blades, and the watchmaker can adjust the zero crossing of the balance by turning the turbine.
The state-of-the-art tourbillon consists of 56 parts and weighs only 0.663 grams. The pallet lever and the escape wheel were treated with Diamond Shell® technology, a special coating that reduces friction and improves the energy flow in the movement.
The 43-millimetre case and the crown are crafted from platinum. The case has been elaborately finished by hand with polished surfaces around the bezel and the horns.
The black lacquered, glossy dial has been imprinted with white numerals and features applied indices filled with Super-LumiNova®. A black Cordovan leather strap with Markus Bühler’s signature printed on the inner side complements the design.
Powering this Big Pilot’s Watch 43 is the IWC-manufactured 82905 calibre. Its Pellaton winding system has been reinforced with ceramic components and builds up a power reserve of 80 hours in the mainspring.
The plates, bridges and the rotor, visible through the sapphire case back, were blackened with a PVD coating, then laser-engraved and finally rhodium-plated in the engraved areas.
The first edition from 2008 was initially created as an entry for a competition organised by the “Institut de Formation à la Haute Horlogerie,” in which Markus Bühler won first prize.
After finishing his apprenticeship as a watchmaker, Bühler remained loyal to IWC. Among other positions, he has been Department Manager of Industrialization and Head of Movement Assembly & Industrialization. Since 2020, he has been responsible for the entire spectrum of IWC’s assembly processes at the new Manufakturzentrum as Associate Director of Watch & Movement Assembly.
Model: IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Tourbillon Markus Bühler Ref. IW329901
IWC-manufactured automatic calibre 82905
Frequency: 28,800 vph / 4 Hz
Power reserve: 80 h
Pellaton automatic winding system
Flying minute tourbillon at 6 o’clock with integrated aircraft turbine
Platinum case and crown
Diameter: 43 mm
Height: 14.6 mm
Glass: Sapphire, convex, antireflective coating on both sides
See-through sapphire glass back
Glass secured against displacement caused by drops in air pressure
Water-resistance: 10 bar
Black dial, rhodium-plated hands
Black Cordovan leather strap with special print on the inner side
Limited to 51 pieces