The IWC Big Pilot’s Markus Bühler Edition from their Pilot series has garnered legendary status among watch enthusiasts since its 2008 release. Its design takes cues from an exclusive piece Markus Bühler designed during his last apprenticeship year at IWC for a contest, particularly noticeable in the aircraft turbine design on the small seconds. Fast forward 15 years, IWC introduces a new version. The Big Pilot’s Tourbillon Markus Bühler (Ref. IW329901) also incorporates the miniature turbine design on its face. This version, though, weaves the iconic aircraft engine into a flying minute tourbillon positioned at 6 o’clock.
Tourbillons housed the balance and escapement within a rotating cage, completing one full rotation each minute. Since the heavier it is, the more energy it consumes, the focus of designing any tourbillon is on making it as light as possible. Thus, the turbine in this design is carved from a very lightweight titanium alloy. The intricate shape and size made the milling procedure span several hours. Afterwards, each of the twelve delicate blades underwent manual polishing, resulting in an impeccable finish and beauty. To ensure the turbine doesn’t add unnecessary weight, Bühler ingeniously integrated it as the tourbillon cage’s top portion in place of the regulator. This design means that the dial’s standout feature also serves a technical purpose: one of its blades holds the hairspring, allowing for balance adjustment by merely rotating the turbine. Comprising 56 components, this modern tourbillon weighs a mere 0.663 grams. The pallet lever and escape wheel received a unique Diamond Shell® treatment, which minimizes friction, thus enhancing the movement’s energy flow.
Measuring 43mm, the watch case and crown are sculpted from platinum – one of the scarcest and most esteemed metals for watchmaking and jewellery. The platinum’s silvery glint is beautifully highlighted through meticulous hand-polished surfaces around the bezel and lugs, giving the watch a graceful and polished look. Contrasting this is a sleek black glossy dial decorated with white numerals and indices infused with Super-LumiNova®. The watch is paired with a black Cordovan leather strap, which discreetly carries Markus Bühler’s signature inside. The watch’s movement is the IWC’s in-house 82905 calibre. Its Pellaton winding mechanism, fortified with ceramic parts, boasts an 80-hour power reserve. Through a sapphire case-back, one can admire the plates, bridges, and rotor – all given a black PVD finish, laser-engraved, and rhodium-plated in engraved sections.
The legacy of the Big Pilot Markus Bühler edition and its successor speaks volumes about IWC’s dedication to its apprenticeship program. Bühler’s 2008 original was an entry for a contest held by the “Institut de Formation à la Haute Horlogerie,” which he clinched. These competitions and events focused on nurturing new talents and innovating solutions remain integral to IWC. After his apprenticeship completion, Bühler’s commitment to IWC never waned. He held various roles, including Department Manager of Industrialization and Head of Movement Assembly & Industrialization. Since 2020, he’s overseen all of IWC’s assembly processes at their new Manufakturzentrum, serving as the Associate Director of Watch & Movement Assembly.
Learn more about the watch here.
|Dimensions||43mm x 14.6mm|
|Materials||Platinum case and crown, black dial, rhodium-plated hands, black Cordovan leather strap with special print on the inner side Sapphire, convex, antireflective coating on both sides|
|Water Resistance||100m (10 bar)|
|Base Movement||Calibre 82905|
|Frequency||28,800 vph / 4 Hz|
|Power Reserve||80 hours|