Holthinrichs Deconstructs the Wristwatch Dutch Style with First In-House Movement
by Martin Green
For such a small country, The Netherlands has a surprising number of watch brands operating in the watch world’s top tier. Christiaan van der Klaauw is known to many, as are the Grönefeld brothers, and among them, Holthinrichs is still a bit of a secret. Founded by Michiel Holthinrichs in the Dutch town of Delft, the brand is only seven years old but has made tremendous strides in such a short time.
As well as a generous dose of faith and determination, three factors appear to have been vital to Holthinrichs’ success. First, Michiel Holthinrichs is a trained architect who enjoys designing watches even more than buildings. This gives him a unique perspective making his watches stand out. Second, he embraced a new technology, including 3D printing, which, as an early adopter, gives him quite the edge. And third, Holthinrichs is his love for craftsmanship.
Being interested in old buildings and cars, as well as fine-tailored clothes and hand-made shoes, he knows the value of details and the hand of the master. While he embraced the latest technology on one side, he is a fierce defender of hand finishing.
This brings together two universes, with modern technology allowing shapes and forms that haven’t been done before and the hands of watchmakers to put it all together and finish it to perfection.
Let’s print it!
For Holthinrichs latest watch, the Deconstructed, they have taken things to the next level without compromising the elements that make them so special. As he has over seven years of experience, Holthinrichs can push the 3D metal binder jetting technology to new places. and allows him to work with tolerances of just a few tenths of a millimeter.
For the Deconstructed, Holthinrichs used grade 5 titanium to print the monocoque case. It features the signature lug design, that seems to almost float around the case. At the same time, their elegant shape is reminiscent of watches from the 1950s, however, the hue of the titanium gives it a contemporary edge.
Holthinrichs is very proud to print his cases and also likes to show that. So while some surfaces are superbly finished, others are deliberately not. This not only gives a pleasant contrast, but also highlights that you are wearing something special. My favorite part of the case is the sides where you can see both how airy the lugs and how deep they are ‘carved’ into the case.
This gives the Deconstructed another dimension to love. It also makes you realize how often side of the case is looked at. Holthinrichs apparently also realized this as he printed his brand name on the left side of the case with elegant letters.
Like a building
Holthinrichs latest watch is inspired by the postmodernist architecture movement, Deconstructivism, something that cannot come as a surprise from a trained architect. This movement is about separating all different elements of a structure and analyzing them to gain new configurations by reassembling them. The effect of this lengthy process becomes evident on the dial, which consists of no less than 25 parts, built on three layers.
While the hour markers are pretty straightforward, the dial segments with the minute markers set the tone. Their different shapes tantalize your eyes, while drawing them to the center. Clever skeletonization makes it difficult to see where the dial ends and the movement begins.
A classic movement
As a lover of the classics, Holthinrichs opted for a manual wound movement with the seconds hand just above six o’clock. The movement itself, caliber HW-M01, is the brands’ first in-house movement, which was six years in the making.
It is made 50% in The Netherlands and delights with its finishing. The textures are enticing, as is the way that Holthinrichs skeletonized the movement.
From the dial side, he highlights the main gear train, adding a sense of depth that way. The back of the movement also shows different levels, making it one of the most pleasing manual wound movements that I have seen in a while. The finishing is up to par, many of them being hand-made, like the anglage and the black polish.
While this is already a very enticing package, Holthinrichs has another ace up its sleeve, and that is that the Deconstructed comes with a bracelet. 3D printed from the same grade 5 titanium as the case, it has a mind blowing, asymmetrical design. It looks like the skin of a metal dinosaur, Holthinrichs playing again with finished and raw surfaces.
Creating a bracelet is something smaller brands almost never do, as it costs resources that they would rather spend on making watches. Holthinrichs shows that it can be worthwhile as this bracelet is not only one of the most original, but also one of the best constructed I have seen in quite a while.
First, there is no angle that this bracelet is not surprisingly good-looking. The sides, and even the inside, of this bracelet are really thought through, down to the way that the links are connected.
And with its wishbone quick-release system, even the clasp is a thing of beauty.
Even without the watch, I feel that this bracelet deserves to win at the GPHG, although I do realize that they need to invent a new category just for bracelets, which I think they should.
Holthinrichs also offers a nice rubber strap and an alligator strap with a nice patina with the Deconstructed, but it’s the bracelet that takes the crown. As making this watch is highly time-consuming, they currently only do a run of twenty pieces, but I feel that there is more to come.
For more information, please visit https://holthinrichswatches.com/collection/deconstructed/
Quick Facts Holthinrichs Deconstructed
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Case: 38.5 x 9.8 mm, 3D printed titanium grade 5 with a domed sapphire crystal with AR-coating in front and a flat saphire crystal in the back.
Movement: manufacture manual winding Caliber HW-M01, open-worked and hand-bevelled mainplate, with three quarter bridge and balance bridge including lasered frosted recess and handmade anglage, Holthinrichs balance wheel with variable inertia and piton fix, handmade anglage and cerclage on the gears, laser-engraving on the barrel, black polished click and click spring, screw-heads and countersinks.
Limitation: 20 pieces
Price: €35,000 (ex.VAT)