Rue Madame, in the fashionable Paris quartier of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, couldn’t be a more fitting address for a boutique billed as the world’s only vintage watch shop dedicated to women. L’Horlogerie pour Dames was founded in 2015 by revered French watch dealer and repairer Antoine de Macedo, who had been based at this same spot for 25 years before he decided to specialise. “I felt that women’s horology deserved its own dedicated space,” says de Macedo, “somewhere to showcase the more creative, jewellery-like side of watchmaking.”
Moving his vintage selection for men to a bigger location on the same street, his original, bijou space has been given a glamorous, feminine makeover, with the exposed wooden beams and raw stone walls offset with sleek white marble countertops and a sculptural pale-pink sofa. “It’s very Parisian,” says de Macedo, whose stellar selection of 150 or so watches spans more than a century – from old-time classics (the Cartier Tanks, from €5,000, and Rolex Oyster Perpetuals, from €3,000, are the most popular) to the more unusual, such as a wonderful, unsigned late-19th-century “montre de sac” (€1,800) in blue enamel and guilloché silver.
All are found in simple, gold-rimmed vitrines, juxtaposed with and sometimes displayed on a 1920s bronze figurine here and a sleek Marc Newson hourglass there. “Ladies’ watches often have a sense of fantasy about them,” says de Macedo, and this is certainly true of the fine French art deco timepieces the boutique has become known for. His “holy grail” of this especially creative period is a c1930 platinum Cartier piece (€60,000) that holds a tiny Jaeger-LeCoultre 101 movement – the smallest ever made – within an elegant 18mm x 6.35mm case flanked with baguette-cut diamonds. There’s also Jaeger-LeCoultre’s chic, rectangular 1970s gold Etrier (€3,300) on a brown alligator strap, while a beautiful c1930s Rolex Prince Elegant (€6,800) with a silver-patina dial has a more unisex feel.
More eccentric designs came to the fore in the 1960s and 1970s, says de Macedo, pointing out a Piaget piece (€6,800) with a bold tiger’s-eye dial on a leather and gold interlocking band, and a sensational gold-mesh arabesque cuff watch (€18,000), designed by Swiss jeweller Gilbert Albert for Omega. Meanwhile, Vacheron Constantin’s edgily asymmetrical 1972 Prestige commemorates the first time a watchmaking house was presented with the distinguished Prestige de la France award, and two outstanding models are available: one (€16,200) with a diamond-encrusted white gold dial; another (€25,000) with a lapis lazuli face and a diamond-set white gold case. Finally, Chopard’s eye‑catching c2000 Firework dazzler (€28,000), exploding with mandarin sapphires and diamonds, brings the range into the modern day.
The stunning selection is just part of the appeal, however: with de Macedo’s 25 years’ experience comes a service that includes an in-house watchmaker for repairs and a two-year warranty with all pieces. It’s little wonder that presidents and well-known actors and TV presenters have sought out this delightful Parisian specialist.