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The Mysterious Rolex Expert and Watch Collector Known as “John Goldberger” Revealed

Paul Altieri

Thousands of Rolex fans know him as “John Goldberger,” though that isn’t his real name. That would be Auro Montanari, an altogether more dashing moniker suited to a stylish Italian whose Rolex collection has very few rivals in the world. Montanari, under his pen name, is the author of several landmark books on watch collecting that have become essential references including 100 Superlative Rolex Watches, Patek Philippe Watches, Omega Watches, and A Journey into the Deep, a look at a stunning assemblage of Rolex dive watches.

John Goldberger
The Man, the Myth, the Legend. John Goldberger. (Credit: Robb Report)

Why the name John Goldberger?

“I took the name [John Goldberger] to protect my privacy, and for fun,” the author/collector tells Robb Report in an excellent new profile. The magazine reveals that Montanari was the seller of one of the most significant vintage Rolexes ever offered at auction, the only white gold Daytona known to exist. Known as the “Unicorn,” it was sold by Phillips in May for close to $6 million, which Montanari gave to a children’s charity. Next year he’s planning a new book titled 100 Superlative Rolex Watches Part II, updating the out of print original. Though these days he’s got more than just Rolex in his sights.

The new Breitling Superocean is a modern reincarnation of the old classic
The new Breitling Superocean is a modern reincarnation of an old classic

Which Brands are we Sleeping On?

“Everyone wants to know what brands now will gain value with time,” he tells Robb Report. “The Omega and Longines watches already have the correct value on the market in my opinion. There are other watch companies, like Eberhard, Minerva, Universal, Movado, and Breitling, which are undervalued at the moment. They manufactured in the ‘40s and ‘50s magnificent and well-designed chronographs with exceptional movements.” He’s also got a passion for pocket watches, and surprisingly, vintage digital watches as well.


A Pro Tip from John Goldberger

He adds, “Collecting watches should be, above all else, fun—buy what you love and can afford. A true collector must with great decision, even ruthlessly, define the limits of his collection, and should never exaggerate. One can build a beautiful and rewarding watch collection commensurate with one’s budget if one takes the time to acquire the knowledge necessary to make an educated decision. A beautiful watch ready-to-wear is the best bargain, but a rare watch with great history and provenance also gives you an aura that you just could not describe.”

Paul Altieri

Paul is the company's Founder and CEO. He is responsible for all the day to day activities from purchasing, receiving, marketing and sales. Paul is a graduate of Boston College 1979 and resides in California with his family.

  1. i was looking up John Goldberger and came upon this site. Simply put I am looking for help and guidance on purchasing collectible watches. I love watches and have the usual assortment but really want to collect watches for fun but for investment. I had collected stamps but sold that off. I mainly want to buy things that will appreciate in value without being ripped off. I dont know if you broker deals or just take the best finds for yourself. Thanks for any help and information

    • We buy all out watches directly from the public, so all our best finds are either live on our website or featured in one of our upcoming buyer’s premium-free auctions.
      As dar as investment potential, vintage Rolex sports watches are almost always a fairly safe bet, but there are also many other watches and brands both modern and vintage that have serious investment potential, both in the short and long run. To stay up-to-date on all the latest watches to hit our site, be sure to sign up for our new arrivals emails!