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Words by Chris Antzoulis (@poppingcrowns)

Before I introduce you all to Nousseïma Baraket and jump into the nitty-gritty, we want to take a moment to officially announce the Buci x seconde/seconde/ collaboration. This watch will be limited to 40 pieces and is set to drop on World Poetry Day — March 21, 2024 on Buci’s website. If you dig Buci’s style and admire seconde/seconde’s/ vandalism, then you’ll want to set your alarms for this drop.


Nousseïma Baraket, Founder of Buci

The world of watches is filled with people that have great ideas for design and innovation, but few among us have creativity and horology baked into their blood as much as Nousseïma Baraket.  The busy owner of the independent French watch brand, Buci, sat down with me for a heartfelt discussion on her company, her background, her life, what it means to find poetry in the world, or as she calls it “poetizing time,” and why it’s so important to carry that around with us.


For those of you who are new to the brand, Buci is a company that creates watches with poetic inspiration; in design, build, and with poetry literally written on the straps, Buci watches capture beauty in a way that’s different than any watch brand I’ve seen before. If you’re looking for a review on the Buci Garde Temps you can find Vincent Deschamps in depth thoughts here.

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Nousseïma is from the watchmaking capital of France, the Franche-Comté region, in a town called Hérimoncourt. She grew up around watchmakers and craftsmen; understanding how an automatic movement worked way before many of us understood basic math. Growing up her parents would give her watches on her birthday, but her true first passion was reading. 


“My French teacher told my mother that I loved reading, so every Wednesday she would take me to the library, and I began reading more. I was very quiet in my room reading books when I was small. My mother would come into my room to check on me because I wasn’t making noise. When in reality I found refuge in books and in writing. I can create and express myself. To feel better and explore,” Nousseïma said. 


As Nousseïma explained this to me, the word refuge stood out, so I inquired as to what a young child would need to seek refuge from. “My family arrangement was a little bit harder,” she said and then hesitated as I reassured her that she didn’t have to tell me. She then continued. “I lost my brother when I was very young. It was really hard for all of us. My parents and for me. It’s very hard to talk about it. It was a medical mistake that occurred because the doctor was drunk.” Nousseïma explained that after that there were a lot of legal proceedings and a trial. “I needed to find something to get balance. And that was reading and writing.” 


I couldn’t imagine the hurt behind such a profound tragedy, but was honored to be trusted with it, and found that Nousseïma never let this tragedy define her, instead she would come to focus on the many beautiful things in this world.


Moving forward, the impact of this loss would fuel Nousseïma’s hunger for art. She later found poetry through a Lebanese-born French writer, Amin Maalouf, who would write about the poet Omar Khayyam and his robaiyat. “I found poetry to capture so much in just a few sentences. It’s deep, universal; it crosses time. Everyone can find something in poetry. It’s like figuring out how a mechanical movement is working. It’s beautiful, like finding a surprise for Christmas.” 


As she got older she moved to Paris and began a career in project management, organizing events for clients and customers. This would later help Nousseïma in developing Buci. “I studied project management in school, and it brought me to a good location. It also helped me create my own brand. I have to work with a lot of people for Buci, but I was diving into something new and I was not aware of all the aspects behind a project like this, so those skills I developed through project management helped.”

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At this time in her life she was wearing a watch that was a gift to her, but it had a faulty clasp and often fell off her wrist. Her friends would frequently find it on the ground and bring it to her. When she began looking for a new watch she found that nothing was quite right, so the idea for Buci began. She also was finding that many watches marketed to women were quartz watches, and having grown up around the craft of watchmaking, she wanted something mechanical. 


“I decided I wanted to create something beautiful. Something that went beyond just a design. Something deeper. And then I loved working with artisans from my hometown. Then the idea to infuse poetry came because to me poetry crosses time. And the automatic movement in a watch is the same, it crosses time, keeps it going. Time, like books and words, are things that we can offer to the next generation. For me poetry and watchmaking just makes sense. It gives something positive to the world and it helps me process my time.”


Nousseïma utilizes many outlets to process that time. Outside of running her own company, she’s a dancer, and has been doing it for the last eight years. “I love dancing and theater. I love waaking, popping, hip-hop, all these dances from America. I also love house music, and jazzrock from France. I really love battling!” A bona fide dancing queen, Nousseïma explained to me that her ideal week would be to take two or three dance classes during the week and dance on the weekend. “It’s a different way to express yourself, through the body. It’s very difficult because you have to switch off your brain and just feel, and express something authentic. Like poetry, you cannot lie through dance. You can have a good technique, but what is your personality?”

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It’s clear to me after getting to know Nousseïma that she contains so much genuine passion for art and the world around her. She expresses this not only through who she is as a person, but through the delicate intricacy of her watches — her art. The arts seep into us through unexpected, and sometimes tragic, avenues. I want to leave you with something Nousseïma said about when describing the evolution of her complicated feelings after losing her brother: 


“It started as really painful, but I think something beautiful has come through. Life is about processing.” I asked Nousseïma if that’s how she sees her art: writing, poetry, dancing, watchmaking. “Yes. Of course. It’s a pure medicine. We are not hurting our bodies or our mind. It’s like walking together hand-in-hand with ourselves.”

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