Paris, a city steeped in art, culture, and history, boasts a secret world of vintage watch boutiques, each brimming with character and stories to tell. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or a newcomer to the world of vintage watches, this guide is your portal to unlocking the doors of Paris’s finest establishments, where time stands still and the past is celebrated.
Join us as we explore the cobblestone streets and uncover the rich horological history that Paris holds. From timeless classics that have weathered the ages to rare discoveries that will leave you spellbound, this storied city will serve as your gateway to the captivating world of vintage watches. Your journey into the past begins now.
Montres Mania is one of my favorite watch shops in Paris, be sure not to be deceived by its modest size. Stephane, the shop’s owner, possesses a genuine flair for curating vintage watches that span the spectrum of rarity, and brands. While vintage Rolex timepieces are in limited supply here, you’ll discover a more abundant selection of Omega, Breitling, Cartier, and other captivating, perhaps slightly more obscure brands.
Several years ago, during my visit to Paris in 2019, I stumbled upon this gem, which had been recommended by a few locals who knew of my passion for vintage watches. They repeatedly urged me to visit “la petite boutique de montres,” and after navigating the scorching streets of Paris in July 2019, I happened upon this shop. It’s truly one of the coolest and, paradoxically, one of the tiniest watch boutiques not just in Paris but possibly in all of Europe. It’s easy to overlook the fact that watches are small objects, given our tendency to associate significance with grand galleries or showrooms. However, Stephane’s shop, despite its size, packs a powerful punch. If you find yourself in Paris, a visit to this shop is an absolute must. And, don’t forget to convey our warm regards to Stephane!
Finding a reputable watchmaker in any city can be a daunting task. Based on a recommendation from Alex at Joseph Bonnie, we decided to pay a visit to Horlogerie Du Passage. Tucked away in a narrow passageway, this shop is bustling with activity. As soon as you step inside, you’ll be greeted by a landscape of watchmaker’s benches and meticulously arranged tools within the compact space.
Matthieu Lopez and his team warmly welcomed us and graciously provided a comprehensive tour of their establishment. The range of services they offer is impressively extensive, encompassing everything from basic mechanical servicing of movements to case restoration and precision laser welding.
When you’re on the road, having knowledge of a skilled watchmaker, especially for vintage timepieces, is invaluable. While the shop itself may be modest in size, a tour and meeting with some of the technicians reveal an unmistakable passion for vintage horology. This passion sets apart a truly exceptional watchmaker from the rest. Additionally, they have a selection of watches available for purchase in a small display case. One timepiece that immediately caught my eye was an early Universal Genève pole-router, boasting an exquisite patina.
I initially started following the brand Joseph Bonnie on Instagram many years ago. During a trip to Paris a few years back, I visited their showroom, which has since relocated to a new, equally stylish location. Joseph Bonnie specializes in vintage watches and offers watch accessories such as bags, cases, and straps. I’m particularly fond of their lizard and pigskin watch straps, but they also feature a captivating bund strap design and a wide range of accessories tailored to watch enthusiasts. I’ve incorporated several of these straps into my personal collection and always pick up a few more when I’m in town.
The vintage watch selection is curated by Nicolas Amsellem, whom I had the pleasure of meeting a few years ago while participating in a French auction. Nicolas is deeply ingrained in the Paris watch scene, with involvement in various watch projects, including @lesrhabilleurs.
In addition to the Joseph Bonnie brand, they carry one of my favorite independent watch brands Serica Watches. Serica draws inspiration from some of the most iconic vintage tool watches of the past and seamlessly incorporates these traditional design elements into a modern and forward-looking format. You can explore the Serica collection at Joseph Bonnie, and I highly recommend checking out this up-and-coming brand’s offerings.
Antoine De Macedo stands as one of the cornerstones, if not the very cornerstone, of vintage watch shops in Paris, having proudly graced the horological scene since its establishment in 1991. My first encounter with Antoine was a long-anticipated meeting, though we shared many mutual connections and peers in the vintage watch industry. He effortlessly embodies the traits of a true gentleman and an aficionado of vintage timepieces.
A visit to Antoine De Macedo’s shop is an experience unto itself, where you step into a place that is as much a watch shop as it is a mesmerizing museum. The space is adorned with a treasure trove of ephemera and watch-related artifacts, enough to make any collector’s heart skip a beat.
Within these charming walls, a diverse array of vintage and modern timepieces awaits, catering to a wide spectrum of preferences. Antoine’s shop boasts a selection that is nothing short of remarkable, from the rare and breathtaking vintage Rolex Paul Newman 6263 Daytona to the contemporary allure of Neo-vintage Daniel Roth pieces.
What truly sets Antoine’s establishment apart is the presence of four skilled watchmakers on staff, all working harmoniously within the shop’s confines. This unique and valuable aspect ensures that every timepiece, vintage or modern, is meticulously maintained and expertly serviced, a key to success in the vintage watch business anywhere.
By appointment only, 41 Watch unveils its exquisite showroom in a magnificent building that boasts over two centuries of history, as this charming street has graced Paris since 1640. To set the tone, it’s worth noting that this same street was once home to the iconic Serge Gainsbourg, giving you a glimpse of the area’s timeless allure.
As you step into the showroom, you’re welcomed by an ambiance that mirrors the sophistication of a quintessential Parisian apartment. The decor is nothing short of enchanting, creating a setting that’s as memorable as the timepieces themselves. Here, a warm and knowledgeable team graciously ushered us in, initiating a captivating conversation about the vintage watch market as a whole.
Beyond vintage, 41 Watch has also carved out a niche for modern and independent watchmakers, further showcasing their commitment to the horological art form. This blend of heritage and innovation sets the stage for an exceptional experience in the world of watch collecting.
Richard Ménasé, known as The Archiwatch, is an esteemed independent online watch dealer based in the heart of Paris, France. His discerning eye for curating the crème de la crème of high-end vintage and collectible wristwatches has set him apart in the horological world. While Richard may not have a physical showroom, he has carved a prominent presence in the Parisian watch scene, offering an exceptional collection of top-tier timepieces.
My interactions with Richard have spanned Instagram direct messages, and when I found myself in Paris, we seized the opportunity to meet in person. Our rendezvous, held in a stylish hotel suite, surpassed all expectations. Richard showcased an impressive selection of exquisite watches, and our discussion was an enlightening exchange for watch enthusiasts.
I highly recommend following Richard to stay updated on his exceptional offerings. If you happen to be in Paris and are in search of top-condition Rolex watches or other horological treasures, don’t hesitate to reach out to him. Richard’s expertise and collection are truly remarkable, making him a must-know figure in the world of vintage timepieces.
Address: 85 Rue des Rosiers, 93400 Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine
Nestled at the heart of the renowned and historically significant Puces de Saint-Ouen, often referred to as the “flea market,” just on the outskirts of central Paris, you’ll discover L’Atelier du Temps. Founded by the skilled watchmaker Guillaume Gaulis, this establishment is a veritable trove of vintage timepieces. While it indeed showcases a selection of vintage Rolex, Patek Philippe, and more, what truly sets it apart is the diverse collection of vintage gems that quietly reside under the radar, including Universal Geneve, Aquastar, JLC, and Yema, just to name a few. This distinctive assortment adds a unique charm to the shop that resonates with discerning collectors.
The front section of the shop serves as an impeccably curated vintage watch showroom, where horological relics are seamlessly integrated into the displays, creating an ambiance of history and allure. At the rear of the shop lies a fully-equipped vintage watch workshop, a sanctuary for the meticulous restoration and maintenance of a wide range of timepieces. Here, these horological treasures come to life, infused with a touch of edginess and style, a philosophy that aligns seamlessly with our ethos at Craft + Tailored.
Don’t miss the chance to explore this horological haven at the heart of the flea market. While you’re there, be sure to ask the shop’s experts for their local brasserie recommendations—a delightful experience that should not be missed while embarking on your treasure hunt.
As our journey through the vintage watch boutiques of Paris comes to a close, we are left with a profound appreciation for the timeless allure of horology in this captivating city. Paris, a city that has witnessed centuries of history and artistic evolution, has indeed fostered a world of horological treasures waiting to be discovered. In the heart of this enchanting metropolis, we’ve uncovered hidden gems, each with its unique character and a rich tapestry of stories to tell. From the refined curation of Montres Mania to the skilled craftsmanship at Horlogerie Du Passage, from the vintage charm of Joseph Bonnie to the storied legacy of Antoine De Macedo, and from the sophistication of 41 Watch to the expertise of the_archiwatch, we’ve navigated through a city of watch enthusiasts and aficionados, each offering a distinctive experience.
Let L’Atelier du Temps serve as the grand finale—a horological haven within the historic Puces de Saint-Ouen, reminding us that the world of vintage watches is filled with surprises and unique finds waiting to be uncovered. As you embark on your own horological adventure through Paris, may you discover these treasures, forge new connections, and uncover timepieces that resonate with your passion. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or a novice in the world of vintage watches, Paris offers an unforgettable voyage into the past and the future of horology. Paris’s horological treasures are timeless, much like the city itself, and the stories they tell are waiting for you to explore and cherish.
Words and Photos by Cameron Barr. Additional Photography by Tyler Vanes
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