If you’ve never heard of Giorgia Mondani, it’s my pleasure to introduce you. And if you do know the name, you’ll get to know the person a little better after reading this…
Not unlike many kids, Giorgia grew up in a family business. But the difference between her childhood and everyone else’s? Her family’s business is Rolex watches. Her mother and father, Franca and Guido, have literally written the book on Rolex, publishing volumes of beautiful coffee table books packed with photos and information on just about every model ever produced. For her part, Giorgia has become the face of the Mondani franchise, representing the brand at watch events and on social networks like Instagram.
I woke up early to Skype with Giorgia all the way from her hometown of Genoa, Italy. Listening to her talk, it was unmistakable the pride she has for her Italian heritage and her parents’ stature in the watch collecting community. She was all too gracious to answer my questions about her favorite watches, her life as a newlywed, and of course, her family.
It’s pretty clear the Mondanis love watches. But I bet you didn’t know they also love surprises, which are a family tradition going back to 1986, when Franca surprised Guido with a vintage Rolex moonphase for his 41st birthday. At that moment, he fell in love with wristwatches, and the rest is history.
Fast forward almost thirty years: “My dad gave me for my 30th birthday a Sea Dweller from 1984, the ‘Triple 6’ ref. 16660…This is not a rare watch, many people have it, but it’s the story behind it: a watch the same age as me…[It’s] very special, I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Giorgia said.
Tough to top, right? Well how about this: the other gift she received for turning the “Big 3-0” was from her longtime boyfriend, Daniel, who surprised her with an engagement ring! As Giorgia put it, it was a “super birthday.”
Daniel’s proposal was only the first in a number of surprises that lay in store for Giorgia. The next would come on their wedding night. I couldn’t help but notice her beam ear to ear as she told me the story of Daniel’s last surprise.
“One year ago I saw this very special Rolex Day Date in the Parma fair. I fell in love with it and my father and my husband were there with me. They bought a watch from the dealer and I asked ‘Hey, what watch did you buy?’ and they showed me another watch and I got very disappointed because I really hoped they bought that Day Date, which I loved…During the wedding dinner, there was a song and the waiter came with a big box and I opened it to find a Rolex box inside…It was that very special Rolex Day Date I fell in love with at the Parma fair. Now it is my favorite watch, absolutely, and a very special one with a green dial which is correct for that reference, but it’s not very common.”
“I love green. I’m kind of obsessed,” she explained. Besides her Day Date, some other Rolexes she wears that appeal to her sense of fashion and fondness for green are her Submariner “Hulk” and 50th Anniversary “Kermit” Sub.
One of the best resources to get inspired and learn about Rolex models are Mondani books. Born from Guido’s early career as a writer and publisher (and his passion for watches), he, along with his wife, have created the Encyclopedia on Rolex. Today, you’ll find over 40 editions dedicated to specific models like the Day-Date, as well as broader titles about brands such as Tudor and Patek Philippe.
The Mondanis own or have access to some of the rarest Rolex watches in the world. Each of their books contain hundreds of glossy pages filled with rich content, including important facts and large, detailed photography on every example under the sun. As Giorgia put it, they’re a “very useful tool before, during, and after the purchase.” As an owner of five Mondani books, I couldn’t agree more.
“Many collectors would be happy to be in my place, growing up surrounded by Rolexes, talking with my father about watches,” Giorgia acknowledged. She’s learned a lot from her dad, who she considers to be “kind of the king [of Rolex].” Every day she continues to learn from him, an education that proves handy when it comes to growing her personal collection, but which is also useful for advising collectors who seek her opinion on which Rolex to purchase, either to wear for fun or to store away as an investment.
It’s obvious Giorgia inherited the “Rolex” gene from her family. She’s not only incredibly knowledgeable about them, but also has strong personal feelings – look no further than her Day-Date and Sea-Dweller, two watches she’d never sell.
As much as working around watches is a dream job for her, working alongside her husband and her parents is truly what makes Giorgia’s career fulfilling.
If you enjoyed reading this, check out Giorgia’s interview with the New York Times.