top of page

Buci Garde-temps

The Simple Elegance of Mechanical Timekeeping

I remember reading, when I first got into watches many years ago, a plethora of articles on Rolex and why the Swiss brand had created certain models. More specifically, its tool watches, why, and for whom. I was fascinated to learn that the iconic Submariner was created for professional divers and the pioneers of underwater exploration, while the GMT Master was invented for intercontinental airline pilots, and the Milgauss for scientists who worked surrounded by machines that generated tremendous amounts of magnetic fields. What I loved about all of this was the purposefulness of these watches and the fact that they were married to a specific profession or field of study. 

As an avid collector of tool watches, I mainly focus on these types of timekeeping devices as they best match who I am and what I aspire to. However, there is one thing about me you didn’t yet know: the fact that before writing about watches, I used to write poetry. Granted, that was many years ago and just for my own pleasure. (I was no Dylan Thomas.) So in this context, it felt special to meet Buci’s founder, Nousseïma Baraket, a writer, poet, and a French countrywoman born and raised in Franche-Comté, the country’s historical center for horology. It was around a cup of coffee that I discovered her first collection aptly named “Garde-temps” (“Time-keeper” in French.) 

So today we’re going to talk about horology and poetry, and how the two were eventually meant to be paired in the most beautiful and delicate of ways. 


The Buci Garde-temps is, first and foremost, a mechanical watch and thus, we ought to discuss what it is made of. Because it is one thing to infuse a mechanical timepiece with the beauty of poetry, but it’s another to do so in a way that makes for a solid and elegant watch. Nousseïma managed to do the latter and it shows in both how the watch is made and how it looks. Dimensions wise, the Garde-temps measures 38mm in diameter, 46.85mm lug-to-lug, 11mm thick and has 20mm lug width. This model, therefore, is endowed with universal dimensions that makes it appropriate for men and women with small to large wrists. The Garde-temps doesn’t discriminate.

Within the stainless steel case we find a regulated Soprod Newton which beats at 28,800 BPH (4Hz) and has 44 hours of power reserve. The Newton is a small gem of mechanical horology which runs at +/- 7 seconds per day and is equipped with a double-cone Incabloc shock-resistant mechanism as well as a cross-through balance bridge. In other words, it’s made to be solid and it has quite the looks. (Something that I can attest to given the see-through sapphire case-back.) Sapphire is also the material the front crystal is made of in addition to having a double-dome profile. The clear crystal makes it possible to admire the finely-textured dial and gorgeous handset which we will talk about in a minute. 

The case is made of 316L stainless steel and showcases a beautiful alternation of brushed upper sections on the lugs and high-polished surfaces on case sides, the chamfers, as well as the entirety of the angled, fixed bezel. The small crown is of the push/pull variant and, coupled to a screw-down case-back, offers a reasonable 50 meters of water resistance. Evidently, the Buci Garde-temps is not the watch one would typically take diving or swimming. But it is perfect for many other situations we find ourselves in—realistically. 


The star of the show here is the design of the dial and case. Starting with the latter which presents a rather flat profile with elongated lugs that turn down towards the wrist. The fact that the case sides and chamfers are entirely polished means that the Garde-temps reflects a lot of light which endows it with a strong air of elegance. The fixed bezel is quite tall compared to the overall dimensions of the case which adds a sporty touch to a watch that otherwise looks elegant and dressed up. I particularly appreciate the dual personality of the Garde-temps as it is versatile and appropriate for a variety of situations.  

The dial is where we start to see what drove Nousseïma to design this model in this particular fashion. The dial has a paper-like texture that reminds me of old parchment, which is complimented by a matte finish and crisp printing of the brand’s name and logo. While the fully polished hands are discreet and delicate, the emphasis was given to the applied hour markers at the cardinal points. Indeed, they have the shape of the tip of a fountain pen, a motif that can also be found on the logo printed below the pinion. (The latter is an amalgam of a crown and pen tip.) 

Furthermore, the applied markers are also polished and sit juxtaposed to black painted hash-marks for the minutes. Overall, the dial has a balanced design and I particularly enjoy how the polished accents on the hands and markers contrast with the paper-like texture of the dial. It’s a unique design and combination that looks so much better in person than it does in photos. Lastly, I would like to point out that the Garde-temps comes in three colors: Beige as presented here as well as Green (which leans towards gray) and Brick (that has salmon undertones.) 

The poetry-inspired design of the Garde-temps can also be found on the genuine leather straps on which one can see quotes of poetry engraved either on the inside or outside of the strap. (The customer can choose.) These quotes were gathered by Nousseïma and come from multiple poets who partook in a special project. This is a unique and nice touch which I have never seen before and that perfectly matches the raison-d’être of the Garde-temps: where timekeeping and poetry meet in harmonious ways. 

The Heart of the Matter

At the heart of the matter is the fact that Nousseïma endowed the Garde-temps with a unique character. Oscillating between elegant timekeeping and poetry, this model does much more than having good looks and solid specs. What I’ve recently come to understand is the fact that there is intrinsic beauty in simple timekeeping devices such as the Garde-temps. While one could be seduced by tool watches that have intricate complications, the type of horology Nousseïma offers is that of reminding us of the slow and inevitable passage of time. As the Stoics stated, time is our most precious commodity and we tend to waste a lot of it. 

Nousseïma could have achieved a similar result by putting much less effort into this project. She could have solely focused on the design and forgo what makes the Garde-temps tick. But aware of what matters most in life—love, friends, family and experiences—she opted to put as much attention to how it looks as to how it is made. The Garde-temps is robust and well-finished, being therefore a wholesome piece of timekeeping that will tick for many years to come as long as one takes good care of it—like one should of any objects of art which reminds us everyday, by looking at it, of the simple and beautiful truth we all abide by: our time on earth is but just a tiny fraction of its entire story. 

Therefore, what better way to celebrate the passing of time but by pairing haute horlogerie (yes, I would happily use those words here) with the elegant simplicity of a well-designed watch and the subtle integration of literature and poetry? The following is just my interpretation but I would add that connecting writing to horology by way of how the logo and applied hour markers at the cardinal positions were designed, adds an additional layer of referencing analogical living. In other words, keeping track of our precious time by way of a mechanical timepiece and reminding us that we would be better off putting ink to paper rather than hitting plastic or virtual keys on our electronic devices. 


I’ve said this before and I will say it again: what drives me to write about micro and independent horology is the fact that, by their very own nature, these brands give us a personalized and intimate interpretation of horology. That of the founder(s) who were originally driven to create a watch because of the unique relation they have to the notion of passing of time. As mentioned above, Nousseïma went a step further by making the Garde-temps a solid piece of horology which is endowed with a unique—and I would add, timeless—design. I’m pretty sure that we will see the Garde-temps for many years to come. 

You can learn more about Buci and the Garde-temps here. In terms of pricing, this model retails for roughly $1,300 USD. 

Thanks for reading.


bottom of page