Introducing the Delft Watch Works Oostpoort

One of the things that’s always appealed to me about watches and watch collecting is the way that these small objects can evoke particular places and times. If you’re curious about the world, you can learn a lot about it from watches. This often happens through a historical lens – think of the great stories behind vintage watches, both personal and otherwise. But we’re also frequently reminded that there’s a burgeoning enthusiast watch culture all over the world, and creative people from every corner of the globe are doing interesting things right now with a nod toward their own culture and style. Watches allow these enthusiasts, creatives, and entrepreneurs to tell their own unique stories through high craft products meant to last a lifetime, and that’s an incredibly cool thing to consider and embrace.


Delft Watch Works is a new brand that describes itself as “quintessentially Dutch.” What does that mean, exactly? For brand founders Twan Briels and Michiel Holthinrichs, it means that the brand’s watches are inspired by their own lives in Delft, a city in the Netherlands perhaps best known internationally for being the home of Johannes Vermeer. Today’s Delft is a vibrant college town and tourist destination that’s home to the Delft University of Technology (one of the top schools of its kind in the world, and where the brand’s founders met) and a population of young people that coexist in a city with beautiful, centuries old architecture. The brand’s first watch, the Oostpoort, combines a youthful energy with an old school elegance that feels very European and serves as a tribute of sorts to a particular place that clearly means a lot to Twan and Michiel.

You might recognize the Holthinrichs name from Michiel’s first watch project, the eponymously named Holthinrichs Watches (we covered their collaborations with The Rake and Revolution here back in December). Holthinrichs Watches occupy a different area of the market, and sit at a significantly higher price point, than the first pieces from Delft Watch Works, but they have a similar sensibility. Both are slightly funky and seem to draw on a sensibility of youthful rebellion and modernism, but they’re also clearly indebted to the past in a number of ways. Importantly, both also offer a certain level of customization, Holthinrichs through a manufacturing process that makes innovative use of 3-D printing for watch cases, and Delft Watch Works through traditional manual pad printing on their dials, which allows for custom logos and text. 

The Oostpoort is named for Delft’s iconic Eastern Gate, a key piece of historical architecture in the city. The brand’s logo is based on the Eastern Gate’s design, which is dominated by towering twin spires. The spires were an inspiration for the watch’s case as well, with long twisted lugs that come to a sharp termination. The case profile is concave with a stepped bezel, a design element that seems to be at least partially borrowed from the lug design found in the Holthinrichs Watch case. It’s an attractive case, filled with curves that give it a classic feel, and at 40mm in diameter and just 12.4mm tall (inclusive of the crystal) it should wear extremely well. 

Three dial options are available at launch: Royal Blue, Radiant Grey, and Translucent. The blue dial is said to be inspired by Delft’s famous blue pottery, commonly referred to as Delftware. The shade of blue is bright and vibrant, with a sunburst effect, in contrast to the matte grey offering, which is far more sober. The translucent dial is actually white with a semi-transparent finish achieved through a sandblasting process. This watch, unlike the others, features a visible date. Hands on all three watches are skeletonized, and each has a three piece construction with a brushed outer ring in a silver tone from which hour markers are applied. 

As mentioned above, Delft Watch Works also offers dials in personalized colors, with the option to add logos and text of your choice. There is a minimum order requirement for custom watches (currently 15 for pad printing on a dial) but the fact that the option is there is itself a throwback in a way to how watches were often used in the past, to mark important occasions and events. It speaks to Delft’s commitment to craft and to creating something meaningful and lasting that they’d think to offer this as a service. And while they’re certainly not the only brand to offer this type of custom work, it’s a somewhat rare find in a brand the size of Delft Watch Works that makes watches at a sub $1,000 price point.   

One of the unspoken truths about the recent boom in interest that watches have experienced over the past several years is that it’s resulted in many brands popping up (and subsequently disappearing) that claim to offer something “new” but are lacking in authenticity, and have simply repackaged old ideas. Looking at the Oostpoort, it’s clear that real thought went into every detail, and the watch has the appearance of an object that was designed with purpose and intent – it’s not simply an accumulation of various mass produced parts that have been selected and pieced together in a particular way. Although the connection to the city of Delft might not resonate with everyone, it clearly means an awful lot to the brand’s founders, and feels like a genuine tribute to a place that means a lot to them. The market, ultimately, does a pretty good job of deciding how authentic a brand or idea really is, but an initial pass at the Oostpoort makes me think that Delft offers something genuinely unique in this sector. 

The blue and grey dialed Oostpoorts retail for €749, and the translucent model is priced at €849 (those prices are prior to the removal of VAT if you’re in the United States). More information can be found at the Delft Watch Works website

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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.