A little over a month ago, I had the chance to review the incredible Holthinrichs RAW Ornament, and at the end of the review, I had the less incredible task of sharing that the brand was discontinuing two of its three models as it reorganizes its product line and strategy. Well, Holthinrichs has just released the first model of that brand evolution, the Holthinrichs DECONSTRUCTED. While the all-caps text is from the brand, it’s not a far cry from how I feel about this release, which marks an exciting chapter not just for the brand but for 3D printing in watch manufacturing.

The case of the Holthinrichs DECONSTRUCTED should be familiar if you’ve read a review or handled one of the brand’s watches. This new iteration, though, pushes things further. Entirely 3D-printed, the 38.5mm Grade 5 titanium case is a single piece measuring 47mm lug-to-lug, and, at just 20g (including the movement but omitting the bracelet), is arguably one of the lightest mechanical watches on the market — though this was incidental rather than intentional. The entire idea behind the new model was to pare components down as much as possible without having them look minimalist. Parts of the skeletonized lugs are just .7mm thick, while the entire case measures just 9.8mm with the domed sapphire crystal. As with the entire watch, every surface is hand-finished, though some are kept raw to showcase its production prowess right alongside its finishing chops. One thing I do notice is that the crown seems to be improved over the RAW Ornament I reviewed, with this one likely providing a better grip for winding and setting.

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While the DECONSTRUCTED comes with a rubber strap, I can’t imagine wanting to not enjoy the attractive titanium bracelet. The two can be exchanged easily thanks to a rather novel quick-release mechanism (the two tabs visible in the endlink’s gap). The bracelet is entirely 3D printed and tapers from 20mm to 16mm. Developing this was reportedly no small feat, as using 3D printing technology posed significant obstacles to finding a design and form that afforded both comfort and durability while also enabling the printing to the necessary tolerances. One element that adds comfort is two rubber rings on the end links, which eliminates any noise between the bracelet and case and affords smoother articulation.  The overall design has an organic, almost reptilian, look, which makes sense as the design was loosely inspired by the scales of an alligator. (I can’t really see that, though.) Especially from the side view, where you can see the screws for the links and side cavities, I’m more reminded of the machinery in The Matrix than anything else. The bracelet features hand-finishing to match the case, and overall, I’m quite curious as to how it wears and looks in person. I can see it being a bit chunky but aesthetically mesmerizing, a push and pull.

The dial is another spectacular affair (can you tell I like this watch ?) — inspired by the way wood forms around a core, or by how bone does the same thing, if you like — the dial is comprised of 25 components in three layers, made with 5/1000mm precision. The dial builds off the brand’s Liminality series, which looked like an explosion. This iteration, though, seems less chaotic while still underscoring the entire DECONSTRUCTED look. A base layer is topped with the elements surrounding the hour and minute markers, with those markers being treated as the third layer.  The main dial, applied indices, and hands are all laser-cut and then undergo hand-finishing to achieve their contrast.

Until the Holthinrichs DECONSTRUCTED, the brand relied upon new old stock Peseux 7001 movements, which they would meticulously disassemble and refinish before casing. As that supply dried up and the brand sought to elevate itself further, Holthinrichs undertook the development of an in-house caliber (in fact, development started in 2017, just one year after the brand was launched). The result is the Holthinrichs HM-M01. 75% of the components are produced in the Netherlands, while the gear train is sourced from elsewhere in Europe. However, I would argue that enough modification has been undertaken to make this in-house (as they call it), and at the very least “manufacture.” The 3/4 plate is a custom design, the escapement has been entirely upgraded in-house to include a free-sprung variable inertia balance, and every component is hand-finished in-house, including 55 inward angles, some of the most challenging elements in finishing a movement. (For those that wish to bicker, let me tell you a little secret: there are plenty of haute horlogerie brands that rely on outside producers for manufacturing before undertaking finishing in-house.) I will acknowledge that there is room for debate, though. What cannot be debated is that the HM-M01 represents an incredible achievement for any brand and that Holthinrichs is moving closer and closer to creating fully-Dutch in-house movements that will satisfy even the most particular of movement snobs.

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Holthinrichs’ latest model has a price tag of $35,000, which may be hard to reconcile, at first. But when you think about the six years of movement development and the resulting movement, the step up in case printing, the novel dial, and, of course, the bonkers bracelet, I think the math starts to work out, even if the number it generates is big. On top of all that, the movement, dial, and case, can be finished in a variety of colors at the buyer’s request. Having handled one of the brand’s watches, I can say that this watch will be just as intriguing in person as it looks in these hyper-refined press shots. That said, I see this watch as a patronage piece for those looking to support a brand that’s pushing the envelope with manufacturing and offering something completely different. The Holthinrichs DECONSTRUCTED is priced at $35,000 USD and limited to 20 pieces, available directly from the brand with an 18-month lead time. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.

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