Women entrepreneurs in watchmaking

Women have kept a low profile in the world of watchmaking for over 200 years. Fortunately, with the passage of time, their story can now be told. One after the other, bold and ingenious female watchmaking entrepreneurs have made their mark in the field. Three Frenchwomen rank amongst the wonderful first ladies of Watchmaking: Alcée Montfort, Nousseïma Baraket and Pauline Laigneau. The energy and creativity they breathe into their collections never fail to amaze us.

Alcée Monfort: a timepiece engineer

Born into a family of engineers, Alcée Montfort chose to specialise in fundamental physics. Her strong sense of craftsmanship led her to work with prestigious watchmaking names such as Hermès, Cartier and Tag Heuer. This is where she was first exposed to excellence. Building on this strong background, the young woman went on to create Maison Alcée in 2021, with one single vision: to bring watchmaking expertise right up to date. With this in mind, she aims to give watchmaking enthusiasts a unique experience: to become watchmakers themselves by assembling their own timepieces, including the mechanical movement.

Surrounded by a team of watchmakers and with prestigious Meilleur Ouvrier de France accreditation, the company launched Persée: the very first high-end self-assembly clock. Each enthusiast receives a beautiful case housing the 250 pieces required to build their timepiece, along with watchmaking tools. Using a 150-page manual that also sets out the history of watchmaking, the budding watchmaker can then assemble their own unique and numbered piece.

What's more, it was announced on 9 November 2023 that the Persée Azur timepiece by Maison Alcée had won the Prix de l'Audace at the GPHG 2023!

Nousseïma Baraket: a watchmaking poet

Born in Franche Comté, the cradle of French watchmaking, Nousseïma Baraket decided to combine her passions for artisan watchmaking and literature.

In 2021, this fusion led to the birth of Buci: a poetic watchmaking company. All made in the Jura region with a design reminiscent of faraway lands, the watches are unisex and numbered. The texture of the dial is reminiscent of paper, whilst the four indices represent pen nibs in a nod to the literary world that inspires Nousseïma Baraket.

A captivating inscription on the theme of eternity, time, love or freedom is embossed on the front or back of the leather bracelet. The steel case houses a Soprod Newton automatic movement, with French and Swiss elements assembled in France.

One last special surprise: the box. Designed like a beautiful book, it can be stored in a bookcase. And to the delight of literary fans, it also houses a collection of poems inside.

Pauline Laigneau: an entrepreneur in the fast lane

Pauline Laigneau is passionate about two things: gemstones and entrepreneurship.

When she created Gemmyo in 2011, her aim was to offer a jewellery experience where expertise, quality and price go hand in hand. Twelve years later, in 2023, the Maison is now unveiling its very first timepiece. Named Prima, this octagonal watch is inspired by the shape of a step-cut diamond. Its pink steel version pays homage to rose gold, Gemmyo's iconic signature. The collection is inspired by the world of dance, a precise discipline that reflects that of master watchmakers and Gemmyo's symbolic colour.

It is this blend of creativity and entrepreneurship that enables Pauline Laigneau to speak so eloquently about personal and corporate development in her podcast Le Gratin. She encourages anyone wishing to grow their business to delve deeper into these topics through a mentoring programme, training course and bootcamp.

Poetry, grace and engineering: these may just be the feminine touches that have been missing from this excellent watchmaking heritage. With their expertise and know-how, our highly skilled female watchmakers take their rightful place in this exceptional French tradition.

In its aim to accelerate the development of French watchmaking, jewellery and tableware, Francéclat studies and understands markets, drives creativity, stimulates innovation and brings the right people together to boost their international reach.

In this article