I first came across Julia on TikTok, in a video by vintage watch expert and #watchtok power player Mike Nouveau: she was the only woman in a group of mostly older men who all sell watches on 47 St. in the Diamond District of New York City.
That’s part of what makes Julia’s social media presence so winning: it’s thrilling to watch her deal with men, often twice her age, with brute but nimble precision. She calls herself the little fish who “navigates among the sharks.” Videos of her negotiations are high stakes but without pretense. She’ll throw in dinner with a seller or a cup of coffee that she owes them, and she’ll chow down on thin crust New York style pizza plopped on the glass counter she works at. She’ll explain the difference between two high end models of iconic Rolexes, and film herself hustling her way through a watch flip from start to finish. And she does all her wheeling and dealing in chic silk blouses, sharp black eyeliner, and with perfectly manicured nails.
Watching Julia barter with a client or fellow dealer feels like witnessing a tightly choreographed dance where she sets the pace; she’s in control in a way that’s addictive to watch. It’s apparent that people underestimate her, for whatever reason—age, gender, experience, or all three. But Julia has an adept sense of how to use her expertise, charm, and savvy. You can feel her beam through the screen when she seals a deal, and proves an obviously skeptical counterpart wrong.
But Julia’s TikTok celebrity is just part of her story. Azer grew up part of a small Jewish community in Morocco. After studying in Israel—where the educational opportunities for women were better—she moved home and saved to move to the US. While in Morocco, she started selling secondhand luxury goods; after moving to New York to continue her studies, she kept up the practice in her free time. But she outgrew that world quickly: after landing a big client the company she worked for had been trying desperately to get, her boss denied her commission.
This was a turning point for Julia and soured her on the fashion industry. Then Covid hit, and she got laid off. She started to game out her next move and she thought about her grandfather, a watch lover.
“I always asked my grandfather,” she says, “What is 47th Street? [He would say] ‘This is the Diamond District, where everything happens.’ And I said in my head, I’m going to work there.”
She put in a call to someone she knew working on 47th Street and offered to work for him for free—managing social media, listings, grunt work. She knew next to nothing about watches, so she spent her days googling, watching videos on YouTube, and texting with a watchmaker she knew, learning about the inner workings of timepieces and of negotiations. These days, Julia manages reselling and negotiations from top to bottom; she sources and authenticates watches, manages repairs, and resells to clients of Ari’s Luxury Watch on 47th Street.