Introducing the Holthinrichs Deconstructed
A stripped-back, openworked take from the Dutch watchmaker.
An independent brand that has already established itself through its creative manufacturing and keen eye for architectural design, Dutch watchmaker Holthinrichs has just announced its latest watch, taking its craftsmanship to new heights. Unveiling the Deconstructed collection, the brand introduces a thoughtfully redesigned watch featuring a striking openworked dial, bracelet, and movement, offering a significant leap forward from its predecessors while still maintaining the distinct Holthinrichs aesthetic.
For those who may not be familiar with Holthinrichs, the brand was founded by a Dutch architect named Michiel Holthinrichs. Inspired by his architectural experiences around the world, he developed a keen interest in translating his design preferences into miniature objects like watches. This led him to establish the brand in 2016. Holthinrichs watches are renowned for their distinctive hollowed-out with creative geometry, which are cleverly crafted using the technique of 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing.
The brand has extended the concept of revealing geometry to the dial, movement, and bracelet, specifically developed for the new Deconstructed timepiece. True to its name, the components are skillfully skeletonized, unveiling the intricate details within. The result is a modern watch that immediately catches the eye. Moreover, as we will discuss later, this latest release signifies a substantial advancement for the brand, reflecting its journey towards greater independence, including the development of movement parts.
Transitioning from the overall design, let’s focus on the intricacies of the new dial. It has been thoughtfully divided into several sectors and visual layers, each showcasing attention to detail. Notably, the hour and minute track present two stepped layers, with the outermost layer adorned by individual indices of varying lengths and finishing. However, what truly distinguishes the dial is its exceptional finishing. Resembling a movement plate, the dial plates exhibit bevelled edges, creating a polished contrast against the textured top surface. This exquisite treatment extends to other visible components on the front, such as the hour markers, hands, and movement bridges, all carefully finished to highlight the brand’s appreciation of traditional craftsmanship in movement detailing.
“The dial and particularly the movement were extremely challenging as they demanded a level of precision that we were not accustomed to in Netherlands,” comments Mr. Holthinrichs when asked about the challenges in developing the new Deconstructed. “Both parts require repetitive precision within five-thousandths of a millimetre to ensure their durability and functionality, and, especially for the dial, to ensure perfect optical alignment.”
“We pushed beyond our previous work in terms of tolerances for all the parts, but the real challenge lay in their manufacturing,” Mr. Holthinrichs explains. “Repeatability and consistency are crucial because every component requires post-processing, including milling and manual finishing. This means that special tooling is created for each part, and individual attention is required to calibrate them correctly. It also results in a relatively significant number of rejected parts.”
Another notable component of the Deconstructed watch is the bracelet, which is truly eye-catching. Unlike the brand’s previous watches that featured traditional bracelets, this new design stands out as refreshingly creative and unparalleled in the market. Holthinrichs has created a sporty and organic bracelet that ingeniously incorporates alternating positions for its middle link. The result is a futuristic-looking timepiece that perfectly complements the distinctive case shape. Designing a bracelet that complements the brand’s unique case shape is a challenging endeavour. Nevertheless, Holthinrichs has skillfully accomplished this task, creating a bracelet that harmoniously blends with the watch. The result is a cohesive integration that gives the impression that the bracelet has been an integral part of the design from the very beginning.
Finally, the Deconstructed showcases a thoughtfully made open-worked movement, specifically developed for this watch. While the gear train layout remains faithful to the established Pesuex 7001, the bridges and other intricate details have been customised to harmonise with the watch design. Notably, the bridges on both the front and back exhibit gentle curves that beautifully complement the concentric dial pattern. Additional enhancements include relief engravings on the barrel and base plate, which create a cohesive aesthetic and echo the similar engraving found on the case back and case side. Furthermore, the movement incorporates a free-sprung balance, replacing the typical Etachron regulator found in standard Peseux 7001. This upgrade not only enhances elegance but also provides improved shock resistance and timekeeping stability.
Notably, Holthinrichs has strived to produce as many parts in-house as possible. “I really wanted to see how far we could go with developing and manufacturing locally and in-house,” comments Mr Holthinrichs when asked about the motivation and challenges of developing the movement. “Through my experiences since launching the brand in 2016, I’ve come to realize the fragility of companies operating in this industry.” He continues, “Deconstructed has a strong meaning for us towards our independence.”
The brand cleverly finds a solid foundation for this new endeavour. As it has been using the Peseux 7001 in its past watches, Holthinrichs opts to retain the gear train architecture and instead ventures into manufacturing the parts. For example, the gear train wheels and escapements are procured from a specialist in Switzerland, but the balance wheel, levers, and the keyless works are made by the brand itself. Mr Holthinrichs explains that its familiarity with the Peseux 7001 means it knows its shortcomings well, so producing some of the parts in-house allows him to improve the integrity of the movement. For example, the movement incorporates a free-sprung balance, replacing the typical Etachron regulator found in the standard Peseux 7001. This upgrade not only enhances elegance but also provides improved shock resistance and timekeeping stability.
“The first prototype, including the escapement, was built in our atelier using conventional machines,” explains Mr. Holthinrichs. “This served as our proof of concept. However, for the sake of reliability and repeatability, we decided to collaborate with specialists for the production of precision components.” As a result, the movement currently incorporates at least 50% of components made in the country during the prototype process, with a goal of reaching 75% in the future.
The excellence of the movement extends beyond its newly developed components to the meticulous finishing. All visible parts have been adorned, with certain elements adhering to traditional finishing techniques. For instance, the bridges feature polished bevels, accentuated by multiple sharp internal angles, preserving traditional craftsmanship despite the watch’s futuristic overall design.
The Deconstructed represents a remarkable advancement in design, construction, and finishing compared to its predecessor, which consequently accounts for its higher price. Limited to a production of only 20 timepieces, deliveries are scheduled to commence in approximately a year and a half. Priced at €35,000, the Deconstructed offers customization options at an additional cost, placing it in direct competition with hand-wound dress watches from esteemed traditional haute horlogerie brands like Patek Philippe’s Calatrava, or examples from independent watchmakers such as Laurent Ferrier’s Classic Origin, though each offers a distinct set of qualities and values.
Movement: Decon; manual; 60 hours power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Case: 38.5 x 9.5 mm; titanium; water resistant to 30 m
Strap: Titanium or bracelet
Availability: 20 pieces; with an estimated lead time of 18 months
Price: €35,000 (excluding tax and customization options)
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|Movement||Self-winding caliber A-500; 60 hours power reserve|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph and date|
|Case||42.5mm; titanium; water resistant to 30m|
|Dial||Salmon (6N gold plated) with gené or frosted area; Super-LumiNova filled Arabic numerals|
|Strap||Ballistic gray rubber; titanium folding clasp|