A Major Move for Holthinrichs: the Signature Collection

Holthinrichs Watches has been a personal favorite brand of mine since I first encountered them shortly after their launch in 2016. They have always had a completely unique design language and a somewhat uncompromising vision, diving deeper and deeper into their “Horlogerie Brut” philosophy (working with pure metals and creating color through galvanic plating, anodization, or natural patination) with every passing release. A big part of their business model since the inception of the brand has been creating custom pieces for clients, a process that has proven to be expensive and time consuming, especially on complex platforms like the Deconstructed, a watch that pushes their manufacturing capabilities to their limits. As the brand’s ambitions have grown, the prices have come up as well, and for many of us the thought of owning a Holthinrichs at the $5,000-$6,000 level has gradually faded. But a new series from the brand, the Signature line, has put them back in play for value oriented enthusiasts and collectors without sacrificing the signature (get it?) Holthinrichs aesthetic. It’s one of the most exciting releases of the year. 

There are multiple watches within the new Signature collection to discuss, but they all share a common principle, and it comes down to the case and the way these watches are made. Holthinrichs, since their founding, has been a pioneer in 3D printed cases, which allowed for some of their more avant-garde designs to be more easily realized, at least compared to traditional manufacturing methods. Over time, however, the drawbacks of 3D printing have caught up with the brand. It’s an expensive, time consuming process. The new watches in the Signature collection are titanium, and manufactured by traditional methods, which helps keep costs down. They are also conceived as permanent additions to the Holthinrichs catalog, and while the collection will surely be filled out with a range of variants, these are not part of the brand’s bespoke business. 

In other words, the Signature watches are something that many of us have been hoping for for quite some time: a truly affordable entry point into the Holthinrichs ecosystem. Potential customers for whom 3D printed were the main draw might be disappointed, but if the general aesthetic and design principles were the things that were of interest, the Signature line is a welcome addition, and a fairly major step for the brand. 

The core part of the Signature collection is the new Signature Ornament, with dial options in 14K yellow gold, 18K rose gold, white rhodium, and black rhodium. Each features the same grade 5 titanium case measuring 38.5mm in diameter 46mm from lug to lug, and 9.85mm tall (including the crystal). The show stopping feature of a Holthinrichs designed watch has always been the lugs, and here we get the swooping, curved lugs that have come to define the brand. The lugs are crafted separately from the case, contributing to the sense that the watch is something akin to a piece of sculpture. Indeed, designer Michiel Holthinrichs takes inspiration for his watch designs from the automotive and architecture worlds (he’s a trained architect), both disciplines where sculptural design is effectively built in.  

The dials are all multi-layered, with a base in a frosted metallic finish set underneath a custom layer of sapphire meant to provide a sense of increased depth. The brand’s logo and minute markers are pad printed onto this sapphire layer, which gives them the appearance of floating above the base layer. The retail price on the Signature Ornament watches is set at €3500.

All of the Signature watches share a movement in the Sellita SW-300. Previous Holthinrichs releases have used a thin manually wound movement that could be custom finished in a variety of ways, so the workhorse automatic caliber is another concession to reduced costs and ease of production, but also, not really. This particular Sellita still allows for a case design that comes in under 10mm, and there’s no arguing with the overall reliability. Holthinrichs has also taken advantage of an opportunity to customize the rotor in a way that echoes the curves of the case. 

In addition to the Signature Ornament, Holthinrichs is also debuting the Signature Delt Blue with this launch. The case here is identical to the Signature Ornament, but the dial for this edition is crafted from white ceramic, and features “Delft blue” pad printed Breguet style numerals and dial accents. The watch is meant as a tribute to the city of Delft, the brand’s home, which has a rich pottery making tradition and has long been associated with this particular shade of blue. The retail price for the Signature Delft Blue is €3750..


Holthinrichs has also introduced the Signature Lab Series, what the brand describes as a “special branch” within the Signature collection that allows for more experimentation than we’re likely to see in the main line. Here, we do see the reintroduction of 3D printed cases (still in titanium), and an entirely new skeletonized lug design that Holthinrichs claims is the thinnest lug construction the industry has ever seen. The dial in the first Lab Series release is also made in-house and by hand with a special copper patina applied through a process developed by Holthinrichs. Other design flourishes on the Lab Series watch include a custom designed winding rotor with patination that mimics the dial, and a special strap that mimics snake skin but is sourced in a more responsible and local manner from rooster leg leather. The Lab Series reference is a limited edition of 30 pieces, with pricing to be announced at a later date. 

The new Signature watches from Holthinrichs represent a pretty dramatic change in direction for the brand, and we’ll be interested to see how this strategy plays out over time. We had a chance to sit down with the Holthinrichs team in Geneva during Watches & Wonders week, and they walked us through an outline of their plans to release more affordably priced watches with great enthusiasm – they seem genuinely all-in on this approach, and feel that they’ve hit the right balance between accessibility, ease of manufacturing, and brand identity. We hope to see review samples of the new Signature watches soon, and will bring you hands-on impressions once we’ve spent some time with them. Until then, check out the Holthinrichs website here for more information on the new collection. 

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.