February 29, 20248 min Read

Giorgia Mondani – The Digital Visionary

By Niclas Berglund

Genoa, 2003

The rough material of the ball feels familiar in her hand. A silence rests over the arena, the anticipation of the crowd hanging in the air. The next ball will be decisive for the outcome of the match. With a practiced motion, she tosses the ball up, her body tensing in an arc as she gathers strength for the serve. Then, with full force, the racket swings and at just the right moment, it strikes the ball. The sound of the clean hit lets Giorgia Mondani know she has just scored another 15 points. The ensuing cheer from the audience confirms it. 

She has been playing tennis for as long as she can remember, and today, at the age of 18, she has reached the highest level. Her thoughts are interrupted by the refeeres announcement: “Game, Set, and Match.” Giorgia Mondani has won another tennis match, but the sweetness of victory doesn’t taste as good as it once did. Her thoughts have started to wander in a different direction – away from tennis. She stands at a crossroads: Should she pursue tennis, or should she follow in her father’s footsteps into the watch industry? She has made up her mind – it will be nearly two decades before Giorgia touches a tennis racket again.

Genoa, January 2024

I meet Giorgia Mondani in her hometown of Genoa in northern Italy. She picks me up in her car outside my hotel, and her dog is sitting in the back seat. The three of us then head to her café. I ask her how important coffee is to her, and her response makes my question seem almost rhetorical.

– Coffee is a religion in Italy. I love my coffee. I always start my day at the café we’re heading to. However, it’s a bit tough because I can’t have any sugar in my coffee, and that’s painful. After all the food during Christmas and New Year’s, I try to be mindful of what I put into my body.

The café is noisy and full of people as we walk through the doors. She quickly asks me what kind of coffee I’d like, and in the same sentence, she tells me to grab a table. I quickly decide on an Americano. In Sweden, people often just say black coffee, but I figure it’s best to be specific when talking about coffee with an Italian.

Giorgia Mondani enjoys a sunny day at the beach in Genoa with her faithful companion. Their interaction captures the city’s relaxed atmosphere and the timeless beauty of the Mediterranean.

Giorgia Mondani takes a relaxing walk through her picturesque neighborhood in Genoa with her dog. Their shared moments reflect the charming atmosphere of this historic Italian city, where every street tells its own story.

The Gift That Started Something Great

Soon, Giorgia arrives with two cups of coffee, and right behind her comes her dog, which comfortably settles down next to our table. As soon as she is seated, she begins to share how it all started for her.

– It all actually started with a gift from my mom to my dad. He received a Rolex from her, and this watch was the beginning of what is today Mondani Books. My mom and dad developed a burning interest in watches, especially Rolex watches, and they decided to write a book about the history of these watches. My dad traveled all over the world to collect important information about the different models of Rolex.

Giorgia Mondani is the daughter of Guido Mondani, who founded Mondani Books, a highly respected publishing house in the industry. The Mondani family has released several of the industry’s most esteemed publications, focusing on the history of Rolex and highlighting models with crucial facts. These books are frequently used as reference points when discussing, in particular, vintage Rolex.

– Tennis was my life for a long time, and it was also on the tennis court that I received my first Rolex, after winning my first tournament at the age of twelve. It was my dad who wanted to mark my success with something special. But I didn’t care so much about the watch – winning the tournament was what mattered to me then.

She continues:

– I grew up with watches all around me every day, but I was actually completely uninterested in them for most of my upbringing, but that would change in my late teens, says Giorgia Mondani.

Rolex GMT-Master II 126720VTNR, known for its unique design and functionality. This watch, with its unmistakable half green bezel and black dial.

Giorgia Mondani stands and looks out over the vast Mediterranean, whose calm waters spread out in front of her hometown of Genoa.

Taking The Family Business Forward

In the early 2000s, Giorgia Mondani is a talented tennis player who is fully committed to the sport, but over the years, her father’s passion for watches begins to rub off on her, and she ultimately decides to put the racket on the shelf to manage her family’s legacy within Mondani Books. However, Giorgia has a vision and a clear picture of how she wants to take the family business forward, to reach the new generation of enthusiasts and collectors.

– When I decided to pursue a career in the watch industry, I moved to Geneva to learn more about watches and marketing at Antiquorum in Geneva. There, I made important contacts and essentially learned how the industry operates, says Giorgia Mondani.

Mondani Books has established itself as a leading publisher in watch literature by releasing several groundbreaking works. Among these, “Rolex Encyclopedia” stands out in particular, an ambitious book series consisting of three volumes that deeply explore the most significant models and the history behind each important reference from Rolex.

A personal favorite of Giorgia Mondani is the Rolex GMT-Master II 126720VTNR, a model that stands out for its distinctive aesthetics and innovative features. The watch, with its unusual left-handed crown and the striking green and black bezel.

After a year in Geneva, Giorgia moves back to her hometown of Genoa, determined to digitize her family’s publishing house, Mondani Books. A decision that turned out to be a great success. Shortly after her return, Giorgia Mondani talks about a competition she and her husband started between themselves. They each created an Instagram account, where they wanted to see who could reach 1,000 followers first.

– I got 1,000 followers quite easily. I remember the first picture I posted on the platform. We were out in the countryside, and I took a bad picture. A lot has happened since then, and although I will always love the printed book, the digital world is the future.

Today, Giorgia Mondani is nearing half a million followers on Instagram, establishing her as one of the most significant influencers in the industry. She talks about the challenges along the way, about making a name in an industry that has historically been dominated by men. Furthermore, Giorgia talks about how she has always had to be very factual and clear in her way of communicating, all to leave no room for misunderstanding.

– The industry has really changed for the better over the past few years. In fact, today I find that most of the people behind the scenes in the industry are women. I think that’s fantastic because we often speak the same language when it comes to watches. Today, I have become one of the most important and biggest profiles in the watch industry, and I am a woman. I have worked hard to get where I am today, says Giorgia Mondani.

Giorgia Mondani, pictured in her hometown of Genoa, elegantly showcases one of her favorite models, the Rolex Daytona 16520, a timeless masterpiece that epitomizes the blend of performance and style.

The Rolex Daytona ref. 16520 with its striking white dial stands as a shining jewel in Giorgia Mondani’s exquisite collection.

"Joining Our Network Automatically Grants You A Seal Of Quality"

We are interrupted when a dog enters the café and starts barking at our table. Giorgia’s dog doesn’t care and throws a tired glance at the other dog. Giorgia suggests we move on to her workplace, where there’s nice natural light for taking pictures for the report. On the way there, I ask her to tell me about Mondani Web, which she and her husband stand behind.

– It’s simply a network that enables you as a buyer to find a pre-owned watch at a good price while feeling confident that the watch is genuine and works as it should. My husband, just like me, has a burning interest in watches. We saw the difficulties together in navigating what we call the grey market within the industry, that is, the part of the market that sells pre-owned watches. We then built a network under the name Mondani Web. There, as a dealer and seller, you can connect with other dealers and sellers and thus find watches at a good price. Joining our network automatically grants you a seal of quality, showing that you are a Trusted Dealer to be relied upon, says Giorgia Mondani.

Being accepted into Mondani Web is a difficult and demanding process, where you as a seller must have references from someone already in the network. This is to maintain the high quality for which the network is known. Giorgia Mondani and her husband carefully select those who are to be included and do thorough research on all who are to be included. Once you’ve been accepted, you’re always under scrutiny and are expected to conduct honest business. Today, over 500 dealers are part of the network.

– Choosing the brands I collaborate with takes time, but I am selective to stay in line with my page and my brand “Giorgia Mondani.” The hardest part is vetting dealers for my network; it’s challenging without personal knowledge. I prioritize quality over money and decline offers if I’m uncertain about their reliability, as a single incident of fraud or inappropriate behavior can be devastating. Quality is my top priority.

Giorgia Mondani, against the picturesque backdrop of Genoa. In her hometown, where the past and future merge, Giorgia has brought the Mondani family’s legacy into the digital era.

Genoa, with its mix of historic palaces, modern shops, and picturesque squares, offers a unique backdrop to Giorgia Mondani’s life and work.

Genoa, located in northern Italy, is a city rich in history and culture, with its picturesque harbor and winding old quarters. This vibrant city, known for its magnificent architecture and exquisite cuisine, is a gem on the Mediterranean coast.

Finding Her Way Back To Tennis

Despite receiving her first watch, a Datejust Lady Oyster, as a twelve-year-old, it’s not this watch that holds the most sentimental value in Giorgia Mondani’s collection. She talks about another very special gift she received from her mom and dad when she turned 30.

– I received what we call a “Triple-6” Sea-Dweller, a fantastic reference from Rolex, in my opinion, the most beautiful and significant reference within the Sea-Dweller line. The fact that it was from my mom and dad is also a contributing factor, says Giorgia Mondani.

The Rolex Sea-Dweller “Triple Six”, officially known as the Rolex Sea-Dweller 16660, is an iconic diver’s watch that was introduced in the early 1980s, around 1978 to 1989. The name “Triple Six” comes from the three sixes in its model number (16660) and marks an important development in the Sea-Dweller series.

I ask Giorgia if she ever misses tennis, which was a big part of her life for so long.

– After 19 years, I’ve started playing tennis again, just for fun. I’ve played a few matches against my old coach. I’m far from where I was as an 18-year-old, which can be hard to accept, says Giorgia Mondani with a smile.

She continues:

– My children want to play tennis, so that’s actually why I’ve started playing again, to be able to help them have fun with the sport ⏱

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🎥 See the trailer with Giorgia Mondani in her hometown of Genoa.