John & Sandy Bonifas were high school sweethearts born and raised in Monroe, Michigan. At 16 years old, John landed his first job working at a jewelry store in 1965. His duties included emptying the ashtrays and sweeping the floor.
As time went on, he learned to resize bracelets, then rings. Eventually he was promoted to sales associate. After earning a college degree and getting married, John & Sandy opened small jewelry shops in Monroe, Toledo, St. Louis, Denver and La Jolla.
In 1987 when Clint Eastwood was mayor of Carmel, John and Sandy Bonifas sold everything in order to purchase Fourtané Jewelers in Carmel-by-the-Sea from Loyola Fourtané, who had established the shop in 1950 after relocating from her well-known art community of Sausalito. Loyola’s designs were exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum and Fourtané soon became known as a destination for one-of-a-kind antique and estate jewelry pieces.
In 1996, John & Sandy’s son, Josh, moved by his passion for vintage timepieces and for Rolex and its history specifically, created a watch department at Fourtané. After growing both the watch and jewelry businesses, Fourtané became an authorized Rolex agent in 2002. This was the same year Rolex began sponsoring the historic automotive races at Laguna Seca, now known as the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.
Aspirations to partner with Rolex continued and their dreams were fully realized in 2018 with the opening of the Fourtané Rolex boutique in San Diego. The boutique in many ways circled the Bonifas family back to their beginnings: not only did they once have a shop in the San Diego area, but the boutique itself celebrates the history which inspired Josh to pursue his interest in vintage Rolex watches as a career.
The dedicated exhibit inside the boutique showcases the Rolex DeepSea Special on permanent loan from Rolex. Having a historic display within the setting of a modern factory store is aligned ideally with the family’s values, appreciating both the past and the future with equal enthusiasm.