The Aesthete: Philippe Delhotal talks more personal taste

The watchmaker concludes his list of likes with shopping in New York’s Chelsea Market, truffle pasta at Piazza Duomo in Piedmont and Florence in all its glory

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

My style icons are Renzo Piano, in terms of overall aesthetics and vision, and Inès de la Fressange. She is an elegant, effortless natural beauty in a very simple way; she has a strong personality and a singular look. 

Piazza Duomo, Alba, in the Piedmont region of Italy
Piazza Duomo, Alba, in the Piedmont region of Italy

The best gift I’ve received recently is a case of Château Haut-Brion bordeaux, given to me by my best friend. We meet once a week with two other friends to taste wines and smoke cigars and this vintage will definitely be consumed quickly.

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And the gift I’m giving next is a ring I am designing for my wife – a very simple gold band with tiny diamonds for day-to-day wear. It’s not intended for a special occasion, but just as an unexpected gift.

Hermès Vétiver Tonka, £180 for 100ml EDT
Hermès Vétiver Tonka, £180 for 100ml EDT

The last music I downloaded was the album Personne d’autre by Françoise Hardy. She has led a difficult life and you can hear it in her music; it’s very emotional – perfect for listening to with a glass of red wine. I also recently bought the track Rock the Casbah by The Clash, which goes perfectly with a beer.

Personne d’autre by Françoise Hardy
Personne d’autre by Françoise Hardy

The grooming products I’m never without are Hermès’ Vétiver Tonka eau de toilette and a moisturising hand and nail cream by Caudalie, which is light and fresh. I have a very simple routine. Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream, £12 for 75ml; caudalie.com. Hermès Vétiver Tonka, £180 for 100ml EDT; hermes.com

Chelsea Market, New York
Chelsea Market, New York | Image: Alamy

The last meal that truly impressed me was at Piazza Duomo in Alba, Piedmont. The serene atmosphere, the service, the local wines and the food – especially the white truffles over pasta – were perfection. I travel here every year for a reunion with four friends, and what made this particular meal so enjoyable was the playful spirit of the place; the presentation and even the waiting staff are all just different, never fussy, and it made for a great night. Piazza Risorgimento 4, 12051 Alba CN (+3901-7336 6167; piazzaduomoalba.it).

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If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose Chelsea in New York. The Chelsea Market on Ninth Avenue is full of food shops that specialise in everything from brownies to lobster rolls to fine wines. The area is also home to some of my favourite galleries, including Gagosian and Hauser & Wirth, and after a morning looking at contemporary art, I like to have quinoa and artichoke burger for lunch at the very American Westville. Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Avenue, NY 10011 (+1212-652 2110; chelseamarket.com). Gagosian, 522 West 21st Street, NY 10011 (+1212-741 1717; gagosian.com). Hauser & Wirth, 548 West 22nd Street, NY 10011 (+1212-790 3900; hauserwirth.com). Westville, 246 West 18th Street, NY 10011 (+1212-924 2223; westvillenyc.com).

In my fridge you’ll always find Louis Roederer or Krug champagne; all kinds of organic vegetables; citrus fruits for my morning hot-water infusion; and tons of carrots – I drink fresh carrot juice every morning as it’s great for the skin.

If I didn’t live in Neuchâtel, the place I would live is Florence. I love the architecture and history of this small city, as well as the surrounding landscape, the food and wine, and most of all, the Italians, who are so full of life. I’d love to spend more time in the Galleria dell’Accademia and Galleria d’Arte Moderna, take walks in the Boboli Gardens and enjoy long lunches at authentic Tuscan restaurants like Francesco Vini and La Bottega del Buon Caffè. Francesco Vini, Borgo dei Greci 7/R, 50122 (+3905-521 8737; francescovini.com). Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Piazza de’ Pitti 1, 50125 (museumsinflorence.com/musei/gallery_of_modern_art.html). Galleria dell’Accademia, Via Ricasoli 58/60, 50122 (galleriaaccademiafirenze.beniculturali.it). La Bottega del Buon Caffè, Lungarno Benvenuto Cellini 69/R, 50125 (+39055-553 5677; borgointhecity.com). 

My favourite room in my house is the terrace, regardless of the season. I love this peaceful spot overlooking a lake and I come out here to enjoy the sun, the plants and a bit of tranquillity. My second favourite room is the cellar, where I keep my wines.  

If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a mountain guide or possibly a tailor. I’ve always loved the outdoors and exploration, so that would be a natural choice, but my grandfather was a tailor and I was drawn to fashion and design from a young age. The fabrics, textures and general savoir faire involved all appeal to me.

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