Monday, August 21, 2006

An Apology, Sort of

The past few days I have been blogging a lot about fake luxury goods, which is ironic since I personally Target is high fashion to me and people who shop at Nordstroms are snobs (must be my midwest upbringing).

A few days ago I cited a Korean Times article that announced that Korean police have busted a watch brand called "Gio Monaco". Since then I have received a lot of hits from people searching for the brand. Apparently it is a real brand of some sort. I apologize for any confusion.

However this does raise the question what the original article was talking about. Are these counterfeits? Or is the scam more elaborate and sucked in many more people worldwide? Or have the local police simply screwed the pooch?

Can anybody fill me in on this all?
Based on the comments below, I decided to look into things a bit more. The mark "GIO MONACO" has not been registered with either the EU nor the Swiss (the alleged orgin on the watch). Perhaps I need to retract my apology.
Looking around and foundt he mark registered in the US, UK, and Hong Kong under the name "Pietro Ascione" with a legit looking Italian address. This name matches up to the Whois search mentioned below. However the email address in the Whois search for Mr. Ascione ( seems bogus (domain does not check out). Also worth noting searches for Mr. Ascione come up empty as well (one would think some mention of his connection to Gio Monaco, other than for TM's, woudn be found). Finaly it is interesting, though not too suspicous, that Mr. Ascione registered the domain through, not what I would expect for a luxury watch company nor someone based in Italy.
OK I officaly call bullshit to all of this, and take back my appology. What did it for me is looking at the Gio Monaco site. They have no vendor in NYC (a must really) and one of their only two locations in the US (one Atlanta) is in LA at: 3250 W. Olympic, which as any Los Anglenio can tell you thats dead center in Koreatown, not Beverly Hills. Yeah, this brand is bullshit. Thanks Antti for getting me on this track.


At August 21, 2006 3:23 PM, Anonymous Antti said...

Wouldn't it be so that Gio Monaco is a "real brand" in that watches by that name are made - the question is by whom, and how they are marketed. I browsed around a bit after your initial post, and noticed that "Gio Monaco" had been registered in Switzerland in 2004 (see this link). So they wouldn't be counterfeits, but a brand for which the Korean businessmen created a European and Swiss image in order to sell them to those rich Gangnam suckers and wannabees.

This is from the source code of the Gio Monaco homepage:
swiss watches by gio monaco luxury and artwatches best brand manifacturing cartier panerai zenith omega military fashion replica italian design exclusive online buy find partner italia uk america

At August 21, 2006 3:28 PM, Blogger Dram Man said...

Antti> As I said this could be more elaborate than the Vincent thing. Could turn into an interesting case.

For what its worth when I orginaly came to the company site I was alerted to the "Best Watch" in the title bar, classic Konglish.

However doing a whois on the domain name yeilds legit looking Itallian registration. Unlike the Vincent case which yeilded a obvious BS listing in the US

At August 22, 2006 3:35 PM, Anonymous Antti said...

Try doing a Google image search on "Gio Monaco": every single hit goes to a Korean site...

And continuing on the topic, it was reported today that a Vincent & Co vendor Mr Hwang, who had lost billion won (10 ok W) to Mr Lee of Vincent & Co, had sent three heavies (or "shoulders" as Koreans say) to entice Mr Lee to return the money. After hitting and kicking Mr Lee for several hours, he returned some of the money and gave him also his foreign-made car. Mr Hwang sits now arrested. (Chosun article)

At August 22, 2006 9:22 PM, Blogger Dram Man said...

Antti> No need to use Korea's haphazzard use of initals. This was in the original Joongang Ilbo report:

Hwang Sok-ki, the chief executive of Juno Hair, one of the people who purchased a dealership for 1 billion won from Mr. Lee, demanded the money back and sued the suspect.

So we know who has connections now don't we?

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