Monochrome Watches
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The New Holthinrichs PreLiminality Comes Crashing Through

An imaginative exploded dial that captures the fleeting moment of a catastrophic impact

| By Robin Nooy | 4 min read |

Michiel Holthinrichs, the founder of Holthinrichs Watches, is devoted to the craft of architectural watchmaking, a term we once coined when covering some of his early work. His background as an architect shines through in his sculptural designs, as well as his passion for ornamental details. Using 3D printing technology not as a gimmick but as an actual design aesthetic, Holthinrichs Watches are a unique occurrence in the watchmaking industry. His latest piece is proof of the creative flow of not only himself, but also the rest of his team, and imagines what happens mere moments after a catastrophic impact of some sort. A first in a new series, this is the Holthinrichs PreLiminality.

We all know the story of how a giant asteroid wiped out basically all life on earth at one point, right? Just imagine something like that happening at one point in time, maybe not as severe though, but still. An asteroid is hurtling itself through our atmosphere, burning up in the process, but is still large enough to strike the earth. The impact is of such severity it creates a huge crater, and expels all sorts of debris outward.

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I also imagine it creating extreme pressure and temperatures, even burning the earth’s surface. Diamonds, once embedded deep underground, are expelled from the crater. Huge cracks appear from the epicentre of the impact, radiating outward, engulfing trees and houses in the process. That is exactly the moment occurrence captured in this trilogy, with the PreLiminality capturing phase 1.

The literal transcription of the term Liminality is a transition from one stage to another, spread across three phases. A process where one has begun to let go of past status and is yet to embrace the future status. It is an occurrence during events with a major impact so you can see why this name might sound strange at first, but makes perfect sense given the concept.

The case for the PreLiminality is the one used in previous Ornament 1 models, constructed of 3D printed steel and fully polished. As this is phase 1 in the timeline just after impact, the exterior is still in pristine condition, as the destructive forces involved have yet to reach it. It measures 38mm across and comes with the Holthinrichs-signature in the caseband, the open-worked lugs and the sculpted crown for winding and setting. On the reverse side, there’s a screw-down caseback with relief lettering and a sapphire crystal to reveal the movement inside.

By far the most unconventional element of the PreLiminality, and the successive models in the series, will be the deconstructed dial. As the dial is made by hand, slight differences may occur in each one. With a hole punched over the balance wheel sort of being the “point of impact”, parts of the movement underneath are revealed. The grooves radiating outward mimic shockwaves sending ripples through the earth’s crust. With a bit of a creative eye, the impact also “scattered” 18 diamonds across the surrounding area. You’d almost forget this is also a watch that tells time, which is done by the classic hollowed-out hands with a heat-bronzed finish and broken Breguet-style numerals.

If you take a look at the backside of the watch, you’ll notice the movement has been given a similar style of decoration and finishing as the dial. This ties in the HW-LIM dubbed calibre, based on the Peseux 7001, with the overall concept of the new Liminality series. This simple little hand-wound movement is at the heart of every Holthinrichs watch so far, yet its finishing has evolved from basic, to extravagant at the hands of Michiel and his artisans.

Worn on a Milanese bracelet, the Holthinrichs PreLiminality wears a bit heavier than usual yet sits on the wrist very comfortable. It is not limited in the sense of a fixed number, but Holthinrichs Watches has a production capacity of about 150 pieces per year. The PreLiminality will retail price of EUR 8,500 excl. VAT. Out of all proceeds during the month of May, 5% will be donated to Wereld Psychologen, a Dutch humanitarian organization providing psychological help to first-aid helpers and refugees.

All in all the Holthinrichs PreLiminality is once more a highly artistic and expressive watch, much like the Raw Bronze, we saw late last year. It is a perfect example of the somewhat unconventional views on watchmaking Michiel Holthinrichs can put on display. And although it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I sure find it refreshing to see this level of creativity on display in watchmaking.

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1 response

  1. The interpretation dial-side is very difficult to read, but the artistic view on the movement is excellent!

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