My name is Amandine, I am 12 years old and keen on watchmaking. Since the age of 7, when asked what job I want to do, I answer “watchmaker-designer at Bulgari”… In the meantime, I interview people in the industry. Let’s see today who is Hermès Horloger creative director, Philippe Delhotal.
Hello, who are you at the office?
My name is Philippe Delhotal, I’m Creative Director at Hermès Horloger. There, I’ve told you everything.
And in real life?
I’m passionate about my work. I have a family, children and grandchildren. And I have a real passion for the mountains. You see, it’s kind of my escape when I want to be quiet and have some time to myself: skiing, mountaineering, hiking and biking.
How did you get into watchmaking?
Oh, that’s quite an old story, going back to when I was very young: I loved drawing and my mother, who was a watchmaker when she was younger, left me her tools. I found them quite surprising, quite fantastic. Maybe because I didn’t understand their use at the age of fifteen, but I always kept them. And as I liked drawing a lot, I thought that watchmaking might be the way for me to combine technique and aesthetics. I was right, because in the end, it’s a very nice profession where you have a very aesthetic aspect with the exterior of the watch, and a very technical part inside, with the movement.
What do you remember about your first watch?
I remember it very well, it was a watch my parents gave me for my first communion. It was a Lip watch.
And which watch has the most sentimental value for you today?
My grandfather’s watch, a gold Heuer chronograph.
We have that in common. For me too, the watch I value most is my grandfather’s!
Do you make watches for young people?
We make watches for everyone. Not especially for young people, but for everyone. I believe that at Hermès, anyone can come and buy a watch and invent the life that goes with it.
What would you say to young people under the age of fifteen to get them more interested in mechanical watchmaking than their Apple Watch?
Actually, I wouldn’t put the question like that. Because in the end, the Apple Watch and a mechanical watch go very well together. And I think you have to let people go for what they like. On the one hand, you have a watch that’s an instrument, that’s not even a watch anymore. It’s going to give you lots of indications for sport, for medical purposes and all that sort of thing. And on the other, you have mechanical watches that will make you dream and give you emotion. Because these watches are made by craftsmen. So if you tell a fifteen-year-old today to go into mechanical watchmaking, that’s a very good idea. But he could just as easily go into electronics and do something else.
There’s a lot of talk about sustainability. What does it mean to you?
At Hermès, an object can be repaired. This means that the object is made to last for years, decades, from generation to generation. In the end, the bag or watch you might inherit from your mother or grandmother will last for years. You’ll be able to have it repaired, and you’ll always have it with you. That’s the durability of the object.
Do you prefer TikTok, Instagram or LinkedIn?
Neither! It’s a bit surprising… Naybe LinkedIn a bit for work, but very little.
Do you have a question for me?
What would you like to be when you grow up, since you talk about watches?
You’re right. It’s a great profession.
What advice do you have to help me live my passion and work in the watchmaking industry?
Do what you want to do.
Do you have a message to pass on? Anything to add or announce?
I was delighted to do this interview with you. It’s quite rare to do interviews with young children, and I’m almost a little taken aback because I’m not used to it, and I wasn’t expecting it either. I find it quite funny. Both fresh and interesting. Because your questions are in the same vein as those of the journalists I’ve been seeing all week, but they’re almost more personal.
How about a selfie for my album?
Yes, of course, with pleasure.