Michiel Holthinrichs, the founder of Holthinrichs Watches, has always been fascinated by the interplay between design, precision handwork, and technology. Together with our expertise in Metal 3D Printing, he hopes to bring a new level of personalization and design freedom to watches. Michiel launched his brand yesterday, and we were there to celebrate with him. Although Michiel is starting his own watchmaking company, he initially wanted to become an architect. He grew up in a family of artists and automotive engineers, and was drawn to study architecture for most of his life – in his eyes the most artistic way of shaping the world. But when he saw an intricate mechanical watch at work, he became fascinated with the art of watchmaking, and built up an extensive collection of antique watches that he repaired by hand. And where there was a constant debate in architecture about the necessity of ornamentation, Michiel saw the potential in watchmaking to create highly aesthetic forms that were functional as well.
Before Michiel could start producing his own watches, however, he needed to find a manufacturing partner for highly precise parts in relatively low quantities. With the metal casings for the watches, traditional metal manufacturing would have found the shapes of the design too complex. That’s when he hit upon Metal 3D Printing as a solution. “The collaboration with Materialise is very rewarding, because the process is continuous,” says Michiel. “And the technology is still developing, so it can only get better.” It’s also a rewarding experience at our end. “Working closely with Michiel, we’ve been able to learn from each other’s expertise,” says Sven Hermans, who coordinated the project with Holthinrichs Watches.
“As the watch casings and components need to be extremely precise, we’ve worked hard to raise the bar for our Metal 3D Printing process and post-production.”
After the parts are post-processed, Michiel gets to work on what he does best: he finishes the watches by hand, polishing, smoothing and filing each part so that they fit together in one unique masterpiece. For Michiel, what makes his watches special is the use of cutting-edge technology, poured into a classic design – but a design that is enhanced by the technology. We look forward to producing many more innovative series together!