A fine touch, a keen eye, a love of the materials and a contemplative style of work: these are skills Wilhelm Rieber has acquired from an early age. The Rieber watchmaking tradition is an impressive 220 years old, and Wilhelm Rieber is leading it to new heights with his enchanting pieces. In keeping with family tradition, he completed his watchmaking apprenticeship in 1977 as the winner of the award given to the nation's best apprentices in the field. He then trained as master craftsman and took on repairs, just as his ancestors did. But then, in 1984, he discovers his true passion: he builds a flying pocket watch tourbillon with a spring detent escapement. Surely the most challenging area of horology, it has not lost its grip on Wilhem Rieber since. The first wristwatch with flying tourbillon would follow in 1996. Rieber created his second wristwatch tourbillon with flying carriage in 2001/2002.
Wilhem Rieber has made his way with utter conviction - and with all the passion of a watchmaking virtuoso: 'It was my aim to produce this most challenging and complicated type of watch by building all parts with my own hands.' He still does so today. Only the case and watchband are supplied externally. Everything else is made with the oldest, most precise and fascinating tool in the world: the hands. You will not find computers or CNC machines in his workshop. Whether lathing, drilling or milling - he succeeds in doing all of it on a vintage turning lathe with the utmost precision. He is driven by his passion for traditional horology, achieving ever greater results in this most challenging horological discipline, the pinnacle of the craft. Elegant clarity, exclusivity, technical finesse, individuality and quality characterise his tourbillons, those supremely complex masterpieces that carry "a magical mystique", according to Rieber himself. Hardly anyone is able to master the techniques required for the creation of such masterpieces the way he does.
Wilhelm Rieber - The watch wizard
He is a master of his trade. A perfectionist dedicated to the supreme art of watchmaking in the tradition of Abraham Louis Breguet and Alfred Helwig, he brings it to new life, leading the tradition to new dimensions. He seems obsessed - which is good. Such masterpieces are only conceivable because of his utter dedication, boundless passion and uncompromising pursuit of artisanal and technical sophistication. His tourbillons are true gems, icons of haute horlogerie. Above all, they are the life's work of a man striving for the ultimate, who will settle for nothing less than excellence.
Tourbillons - story of a passion
Refined mechanics, incessant pulsation, endlessly recurring movement: the beating of a heart. Every Rieber watch has a soul, as the master watchmaker imbues every model with his seemingly boundless know-how, his passion and his desire to create something unique. Rieber breathes life into his watches, from the first vision to the finished masterpiece. Everything carries his loving, fascinating signature style, from the first draft to the last microscopically small screw. Each and everyone of his tourbillons is unique worldwide, a piece of time materialised, a one-off keeping time as well as outlasting it
Rieber tourbillons - unique pieces with a soul
He is not interested in fame or wealth. Wilhelm Rieber is one of those rare people following their passion with heart and soul. And soul is something his tourbillons all have, with the carriage pulsating, vibrating and racing like a heart. It takes about half a year's work until the artful precision mechanics conform to Rieber's quality standards. He therefore might be able to create some fifty pieces in his horologist's life - no more than that. They will all be unique, infinitely refined, tested and refined again ... so individually that all parts only function as a whole. They won't fit a different watch. After completion, the tourbillon is taken apart once more and reset. Excellence is no coincidence, and it is the only measure of Rieber's work. When so much passionate commitment is involved, completion is a special, touching moment. In the unique 'biography' of each watch the first running of the tourbillon is documented with a photograph, the date and time, and celebrated with coffee and cake - very much in the tradition of Alfred Helwig.
Rieber, the modest Southern German, has reached worldwide renown with his unique Maybach tourbillon, manufactured exclusively for the luxury car brand and entirely in keeping with the sophisticated design and technology of the vehicles. No less spectacular is the Goldstadt tourbillon, which he created for the five-year anniversary of the jewellery fair Pforzheimer Schmuckwelten - the most ambitious watch ever created in the region.
Ambassador of time
A real Rieber watch has a high material value. But its intangible inner richness is more valuable. Finding deserving wearers is dear to Wilhelm Rieber's heart. He is an ambassador of time. In his exciting, passionately delivered 'Time Travels' talks he leads his listeners into a separate, fascinating world wildly different from everyday life. His wristwatch with flying tourbillon and spring detent escapement - the masterpiece which was deemed impossible to build - has earned him immortality during his lifetime. In the worthy succession of Breguet and Helwig, Rieber is writing a new chapter in the sublime art of horology.