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Women in Watches: A Rising Figure in Vintage Watches, Anne de Pontonx

by Dana Li

The Women in Watches series aims to share the stories of female watch enthusiasts, artisans, and industry professionals that are making great contributions to watchmaking, the watch industry, and collector communities.

Two years ago, I came across a new business on Instagram offering vintage watches curated for women and was immediately intrigued by the unique selection of watches, a few of which I hadn't even seen before. One of those watches was a beautiful 1970s Pierre Cardin that I had been searching for, and thus the start of my fortuitous conversations with Anne de Pontonx, one of the founders of Françoise Paris, which is dedicated to helping women find vintage watches and educating them on the watch resale market. In this edition of Women in Watches, she shares her story and journey building Françoise Paris over the last 2 years.

Note: In February, Françoise also launched a jewelry business, which offers vintage and modern jewelry for women as well.

Anne de Pontonx - Françoise Paris
Source: Françoise Paris

Responses are from Anne de Pontonx.

How did you get into the watch industry?

Through Françoise, I chose to express my fascination for watchmaking and my love for art. These passions have guided me for the past ten years. After studying Art History, I joined some of the best French luxury houses, such as Van Cleef & Arpels and Chaumet, to refine my expertise and my taste for beauty. Passionate to share my own vision of luxury watchmaking, I founded Françoise with two established watch collectors.

What inspired you to start Françoise Paris?

The watchmaking world has historically been very male-dominated, and the resale sector in particular still shows too little interest in women's timepieces. We've noticed around us that women don't know where to turn to acquire a timepiece with confidence - often their first! Françoise wishes to advise women directly, to accompany them. We help them to find the watch that will best suit them and that they will be proud to wear. 

Vintage Chanel Mademoiselle watch with pearls
Source: Françoise Paris

Can you share a little bit about your day to day as a vintage watch dealer?

Everyday is different. Since I'm an entrepreneur, I have to know how to do several jobs at once! In particular, I work on the brand's art direction, the creation of content on social networks, and everything directly related to the product (customer appointments, revisions at the watchmakers...).

When you're curating the selection for Françoise Paris, what are you looking for in the watches you select? 

We select the pieces that speak to us, through their style, their line or their history: emblematic watches that are pleasant to admire and to wear every day; and watches you'll love to wear on vacation, at work or for a night out. In short, a watch which reflects your personality.

Are there any emerging trends within the vintage watch market that you're seeing?

Unsurprisingly, Cartier watches are very popular on the vintage market, as they are timeless pieces that transcend generations. At Françoise, we are also keen to bring back to the forefront unjustly forgotten watchmaking houses such as Boucheron.

Vintage gold Boucheron watch
Source: Françoise Paris

Is there anything you would like to see more of in the watch industry?

Women of course! In a society where gender codes are being shaken up, it's interesting that women reclaim the watch in the same way that jewelry is being democratized among men. We're convinced that women also have a lot to contribute to the world of watchmaking.  


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