Michiel Holthinrichs first amazed us with his 3D-printed Ornament watch; this year the Amsterdam-based watchmaker continues to impress by collaborating with Revolution and The Rake on two sublimely elegant limited editions.

One of my favourite discoveries of 2020 has been Holthinrichs Watches. Michiel Holthinrichs who is based in Delft, a town about 50km from Amsterdam, has created precisely the type of watch that I feel the collector community was searching desperately for. Why? Well, first he created an all-new design that is simultaneously different and intriguing but somehow familiar and comforting.

Part of what makes his perfectly sized 38mm case so unique is his use of 3D printing, which allows a remarkable level of complexity, particularly in the amazing massive architectural voids he creates along the caseband and through his signature lugs which are skeletonised along two axes and are to me reminiscent of the flying buttresses of France’s iconic Nantes Cathedral. I think it will come as no surprise that Michiel was an architect in a previous life. If there was a prize for sexiest modern watch lugs, I would be engraving Michiel’s name on the trophy.

    The second thing I love about Holthinrichs is that each and every watch is made by him, meaning he applies the angling to the handmade hands, he is the one applying the angles and the engraving to the baseplates and bridges of every one of his highly modified vintage Peseux movements.

    In a world where automation even in the rarefied field of horology rules the day, it is refreshingly human to have the hand of the man whose name is on the dial actually finish and assemble every timepiece that leaves his workshop. The closest equivalent I can think of is the ultra-cool Akira Nakai of Rough World aka Rauh-Welt Begriff, the famed Japanese Porsche customiser who insists to fit each and every car with his signature fender flares, nose and speed tail personally. There are amazing videos of him travelling the world and taking his air saw to freshly painted Porsche fenders as he cuts them to make way for his magnificently bombastic wheel arches. Does this create scale issues for old-school craftsmen like Holthinrichs and Nakai? Of course it does.






    December 2020


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