Sometimes the world is a wonderful place. Especially when you find yourself in Ay, the center of the Champagne production, at the estate of Deutz, in the company of Richard Mille and Jean-Marc Lallier-Deutz himself.
While the might seem a world apart, the high-tech watches of Richard Mille require in fact a significant amount of manual craftsmanship to come to life. At the same time, while a lot is still done by hand, the production of superb champagne is aided by modern technology whenever the product benefits from it. The picking of the grapes is done completely by hand because only a trained eye can select the best fruit. This is quite a contrast with the winery, a space dominated by the large stainless steel vats. Each contains the still wine of a carefully documented plot in the vineyards and here the wine ferments at low temperatures of 16-17 degrees. Monitoring its progress requires, however, still the experience of Deutz “Chef de Cave”.
Founded in 1838, the Deutz Estate not only comes with impressive cellars (containing about 8 million bottles) but also with a fine manor. Decorated in traditional French style, it is surprising how easily the various Richard Mille models adapt to these classical surroundings. Perhaps this is because when you forget for a while about the high-tech materials and the innovative movements, in essence, most Richard Mille’s are still a tonneau shaped watch. This is perhaps the most French of all case shapes and like most things French a timeless classic in no matter how advanced you make its inner workings or outer case.
It might have been the excellent champagne, but visiting Deutz and contemplating the beautiful Richard Mille watches in such a historical and luxurious surrounding do give you a deeper understanding of the brands’ core DNA.