Regular readers of MONOCHROME might remember the name of Michiel Holthinrichs, the Dutch designer who combines traditional mechanical watchmaking with cutting-edge 3D printing. By introducing 21st-century technology into the mix, Holthinrichs is able to create highly specialised designs, reduce costs, and explore the potential of his revolutionary method. His first watch, Ornament 1, featured a 3D-printed case with classic proportions, a slightly vintage vibe and a combination of polished and unpolished surfaces that revealed glimpses of the unusual texture obtained by 3D printing. Pushing the ‘textural’ aspect of the Ornament 1 watch further, Holthinrichs has presented the RAW Ornament watch. Exactly the same model as the 2016 Ornament 1, the RAW Ornament comes across as a very different watch indeed. Rougher, rawer and more contemporary than its predecessor, the RAW Ornament showcases the grainy surface produced by 3D laser printing.
Our contributor Robin Nooy visited Michiel Holthinrichs’ atelier in Delft and got to see first-hand the challenges of 3D printing to produce cases. Don’t miss his two-part coverage, here and here, dedicated to this pioneering young Dutch designer turned watchmaker. Using powdered steel and a laser to shape the case, the process of 3D printing is painstakingly slow. One of the results of 3D printing is the abrasive texture produced on the surface. Instead of polishing every single surface area of the case, Holthinrichs decided it would be cool to showcase the hand of modern technology. His first watch, Ornament I, featured classic, hand-polished finishes on the superior part of the case with a peek of the rougher texture on the cavities of the case band, complete with an engraved 3D signature on the side.
The latest creation of Holthinrichs Watches is this RAW Ornament model with a case that looks as though it was made from concrete. Trained as an architect, Michiel Holthinrichs was inspired by early modern architects like Le Corbusier, Oscar Niemeyer “the Picasso of concrete” and Eero Saarinen who proved that concrete, and other low-cost 20th-century materials, could be used artistically to interpret their wildest dreams.
The entire 38mm case (including lugs and crown) of the RAW Ornament watch is a single part made from 3D-printed surgical steel and reveals an unusual, abrasive texture. The result of the sandy matte finish does seem to flatten the case somewhat, which is probably why Holthinrichs decided to polish the extremities of the lugs and parts of the crown to add some volume. The concave recesses on the side of the case have been left unpolished and feature Holthinrichs’ raised signature with a polished finish.
The segmented dial with it recessed small seconds counter at 6 o’clock also reveals a grainy texture but has a golden colour. The hands are not metal printed but made from laser-cut surgical steel and skeletonised. The hollowed out hands echo the design of the openworked lugs. The domed concave Plexiglass covering the dial is another nod to Holthinrichs’ passion for vintage watches.
As a lover of vintage watches, Michiel Holthinrichs has chosen a vintage-style movement and equipped the RAW Ornament with a manual-winding Peseux/ETA7001, the same movement inside the Ornament 1 watches. Beating at 21,600vph, the movement has a power reserve of 42h and can also be customised with an engraving.
With such limited production, Holthinrichs can offer a high level of customisation and there are countless options for the strap although the buckle, as you probably have guessed, is also metal printed to match the case. The RAW Ornament price depends on the details you’ll choose, however, expect around EUR 4,500.
For more details of Holthinrichs’ unique approach to watchmaking, please visit www.holthinrichswatches.com.