The Aesthete: Philippe Delhotal talks personal taste

The haute horlogerie veteran and creative director of Hermès Horloger has overseen iconic collections such as Slim and Time Suspended

Philippe Delhotal at home in Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Philippe Delhotal at home in Neuchâtel, Switzerland | Image: Beat Schweizer

My personal style signifiers are my Crockett & Jones loafers in black or brown leather, and my neutral-coloured, wood glasses by Austrian maker Rolf; I love their simplicity. Crockett & Jones loafers, from £380; crockettandjones.com. Rolf Ami frames from €795; rolf-spectacles.com

Milan’s Piazza del Duomo with its gothic cathedral
Milan’s Piazza del Duomo with its gothic cathedral | Image: Alamy stock photo

The last thing I bought and loved was a painting by Myanmarese artist Khin Zaw Latt. It is a peaceful portrait of a young girl with a doll that I bought on a trip to the south of France; it hangs in a prime spot in my sitting room. 

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And the thing I’m eyeing next is a lightweight pair of calfskin-suede Oxfords from John Lobb. These are perfect in warmer weather and for travel, and I admire the quality and workmanship behind the brand. £940; johnlobb.com.

Cuban Cohiba Linea 1492 cigars, £26 each, from James J Fox
Cuban Cohiba Linea 1492 cigars, £26 each, from James J Fox | Image: Alamy stock photo

The last thing I added to my wardrobe was an elegant, slim-cut, dark-blue Paul Smith suit with a colourful lining. The watchmaking world is very traditional, but I have a different, more relaxed way of dressing and this suit is both classic and casual. Suits from £685; paulsmith.com.

Delhotal’s Paul Smith suit
Delhotal’s Paul Smith suit | Image: Beat Schweizer

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Milan to watch Don Giovanni at La Scala. It was magical and the city is incredibly vibrant; there’s so much creative energy there right now in fashion and design. I especially loved the revitalised Brera district, where one of the highlights was a delicious dinner of spaghetti with lobster at the authentic Osteria di Brera. Via Fiori Chiari 8, 20121 Milan (+3902-8909 6628; osteriadibrera.it).

Delhotal’s watch collection, including, second from bottom, his grandfather’s Heuer
Delhotal’s watch collection, including, second from bottom, his grandfather’s Heuer | Image: Beat Schweizer

And the best souvenirs I’ve brought home are red and black lacquerware bowls and boxes from Japan. They were made in the Kanazawa region using a traditional maki-e technique with silver and gold. 

John Lobb City II Oxfords, £940
John Lobb City II Oxfords, £940

The objects I would never part with are my watches. I have my grandfather’s original Heuer, as well as timepieces by Panerai, Jaeger-LeCoultre and, of course, my Hermès Time Suspended and a 2015 Slim watch. The last one is perhaps the most special because it was the first watch I was involved with from start to finish. hermes.com. jaeger-lecoultre.com. panerai.com.

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The best book I’ve read in the past year is Conquering the Impossible: My 12,000 Mile Journey Around the Arctic Circle by the South African-born Swiss explorer Mike Horn. I love the mountains and anything to do with the outdoors, so I found his incredible adventures fascinating.

The people I rely on for personal grooming and wellbeing are my hair stylist, David Gomard, at 2 Heures Plus Tard – I’ve been going to him for years; he knows exactly what to do – and the aestheticians at Aux Soins Auvernier. I get everything done here, from skincare to massages. 2 Heures Plus Tard, Grand’Rue 21, 2072 Saint-Blaise, (+4132-753 0354; 2heuresplustard.com). Aux Soins Auvernier, Rue des Epancheurs 2, 2012 Milvignes (+4132-730 6055; auxsoinsauvernier.ch). 

A recent “find” is Kanda, a very small, traditional restaurant in Tokyo. It’s an eight-seat spot in Minato-ku and although it holds three Michelin stars, it is totally unassuming. The sushi and the setting were magnificent and I tried things I wouldn’t have dared to elsewhere. 3-6-34 Motoazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo (+813-5786 0150; nihonryori-kanda.com).

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Jean-Michel Basquiat. His use of colour is just sublime. He was a bit of a tortured soul and gave everything to his paintings; you can feel it.

An indulgence I would never forgo is a good Cuban cigar, once a week. I am partial to Partagas No 4s and Cohibas. I’m usually very healthy, so this is my one treat. Cohiba, from £12.40; Partagas No 4, from £21.50; James J Fox, 19 St James’s Street, London SW1 (020-7930 3787; jjfox.co.uk).

My favourite website is LeFigaro.fr, for all the news of the day. But in general I use apps, especially AccuWeather, which is indispensable when I’m travelling.

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