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The Horology Master Want to be a luxury watch collector? Meet the international watch expert Giorgia Mondani, who tells us how to invest, buy, sell, understand the analog business and more

By Priyadarshini Patwa

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The world of horology is all about mastering the art of timepieces and measuring time. Once a male-driven industry today has some prominent women creating new analog and moving hands as per their mastery.

It is said that one part of horology is about creation, while another is about being an expert in the field to make those constructions understood to the people. In the international society of watch experts and dealers, the Mondani family has a legacy. Giorgia Mondani, a 35-year-old native of Genoa, Italy, name stands out due to her sheer knowledge of timers. There are not many women in this business. At times, among tons of men, she might be the only one, making a bid and taking the rare rollie home.

Her equation with the tickers has been such that one of her first words was Rolex. After graduating in foreign languages, she completed her internship at Antiquorum and joined her family business 'Modani Books', one of the leading publishing houses in the field of collecting wristwatches. Their books are collector's items available at major e-commerce sites. "Rolex Story," one of the most expensive books is a limited edition of 300 pieces, priced at $2,130, and was sold out.

"I grew up surrounded by watches: my dad used to be a huge collector at the time, and we attended every auction in Geneva. So the brand Rolex has always been a big part of me. When I met Daniele, my husband, it turned out he had some Rolex as well and was a big fan. Destiny, as Rolex kept following me."

She is a virtuoso in the industry when it comes to watches, especially Rolexes. Something that comes naturally being the daughter of a well-known expert Guido Mondani. The journey for the family began in 1986 when her father was gifted a yellow-gold Rolex with moon phases, ref. 8171, on his 41st birthday by wife Franca.

"Dad fell in love with watches and started to create the very first book-guides about these watches. He realized there was not enough information but collectors needed it... And we soon became one of the leading publishers in the watch field."

Being a major watch collector, in 2006 her father assembled one of the largest collections of Rolexes and sold 309 of them at auction. The sales went crazy breaking 11 world records and fetching more than 11 million Swiss francs — the equivalent of USD 11.6 million now. One might wonder, why sell? Simply, because he thought Giorgia wasn't interested. Only, to realise she was custom-made for it!

Coming with a refined mindset of how the world was transforming, she decided to expand and grow a new branch. Three years ago, she began Mondani Web - a network of trusted watch dealers and a specialized social media agency in the world of watches. Soon, she also plans to take the publication digital and transport all the knowledge to larger readers in the form of e-books.

Understand the Horology Trade:

The selling and buying of a luxury good is an art and if you don't have what it takes, you can be conned easily. Explaining the basics of horology trade she listed five things that everyone must keep in mind:

  • Buying the right watches can represent a safe investment.
  • To buy the right watches you must have good knowledge.
  • Private collectors should remain private collectors and not speculating or pretending to be dealers.
  • Be aware of buying online on some of the most popular platforms, not every watch is good.
  • When the watch is too cheap, there's something wrong.

Tips to Collect and Auction Luxury Watch:

The market keeps changing and it is important to follow what happens at the international auctions to understand trends, prices, and more. She suggests a few things:

  • Look for reliable information.
  • Collectors need good guides in the difficult world of collecting luxury watches.
  • Do not trust everything you read online. They could confuse the collector's mind.
  • Buy from reliable sellers, unfortunately, many of the watch sellers we see online don't sell genuine and 100% good watches.

Talking about the auction, something everyone is curious about she highlighted, "It is not easy to find the right time to sell at auction. There are too many factors to consider - first of all, the sentimental feeling for the timepieces, as well as the conditions of it."

The Collector:

Credit: Instragram/ giorgiamondani

Considering they are collectors themself, Mondani is working on rebuilding a similar quantum that they once had. And it's quite intriguing to know the nitty-gritty of how they function. "We look for pieces that are not produced much or are rare. History plays an important role and it has to be a good investment. Once we buy it, we store it safely."

While Rolex runs in their blood, they also own rare pieces of Patek Philippe, Omega, Audemars Piguet, and Richard Mille and have written about them in detail. After taking us on a gold watch ride she concludes, "You can't be a wizard in everything. There's a whole world behind every single watch, so don't trust in everything you see but develop your knowledge."

Priyadarshini Patwa

Former Features Editor, Entrepreneur India

Priyadarshini Patwa is the Former Features Editors of Entrepreneur India and hosted an Instagram show every Friday named ‘Lighten Up’, about people from different walks of life and talk about their work and beyond. She handled the lifestyle, features, technology, entertainment segments and was also responsible for the Digital Covers. Previously she has worked with MensXP, a Times of India entity and Deccan Chronicle. 

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