[current_date format=l,] [current_date]

Traditional Family Business Builds an American Dream

…“It doesn’t matter what you do, it’s to enjoy your job and like what you do. You’re never going to be rich per se, and if you do something that you like to do and you can make a living, what more could you ask for?”

Mr. John Bonifas

Fourtané Jewelers is one of the foremost purveyors of vintage and contemporary Rolex and Tudor watches in the country. Also renowned for its fine estate and antique jewelry, it not only succeeds but thrives as a family business. It all began in 1965 when, at the age of 13, John Bonifas started his career as an apprentice for a jeweler in Michigan. With an enduring passion for jewelry and timepieces, he became one of the industry’s most distinguished and reputable jewelers. At the aged of 20, he opened his first store and later grew the business into several stores across Michigan, Kansas City, and Colorado. After managing the geographically dispersed stores, Mr. Bonifas felt there was a need to consolidate and distinguish their focus. While on a family vacation

Fourtané Jewelers is one of the foremost purveyors of vintage and contemporary Rolex and Tudor watches in the country. Also renowned for its fine estate and antique jewelry, it not only succeeds but thrives as a family business.

It all began in 1965 when, at the age of 13, John Bonifas started his career as an apprentice for a jeweler in Michigan. With an enduring passion for jewelry and timepieces, he became one of the industry’s most distinguished and reputable jewelers.

At the aged of 20, he opened his first store and later grew the business into several stores across Michigan, Kansas City, and Colorado. After managing the geographically dispersed stores, Mr. Bonifas felt there was a need to consolidate and distinguish their focus.

While on a family vacation in Carmel he discovered Fourtané with its unique history and the charm of its surroundings, Mr. Bonifas couldn’t resist. Fourtané acquired its history from the original owner, the French graphic designer Loyola Fourtané who had a passion for creating and hand making her own jewelry. She opened the store circa 1950. Back in the 40s and 50s, Carmel was an artists’ haven and, to date, has kept its village and small town feel – accentuating the store’s classic ambiance.

Bringing his enduring passion with him, Mr. Bonifas acquired Fourtané Estate Jewelers in 1985 and has run the small 300 square-foot store with his wife Sandy ever since. They lived humbly, taking only what they needed to subsist and reinvesting the rest back into the business. This has allowed them not only to grow their business substantially, but to build an amazing clientele around the world.

With the help of his sons Josh and Kris, the store has grown into two stores with over 15 employees.

Mr. John Bonifas
“He’s not a sit-back, run-it-from-home, owner. … and it’s his taste that people seek out. There’s a lot of jewelry in the world, but it’s his eye that makes our collection here special.”

“It doesn’t matter what you do, it’s to enjoy your job and like what you do. You’re never going to be rich per se, and if you do something that you like to do and you can make a living, what more could you ask for?” said Mr. Bonifas.

“Our business motto is: ‘there’s room for bulls and bears, and no pigs.’ You do the best you can do every day. With all said and done, you’re going to get your share. That’s the philosophy that we take, we sell things based on what they’re worth, not by what they cost!”
Mr. Bonifas’ background is in estate jewelry. “We felt that, especially in Carmel, there were thirty other places to buy jewelry and so you had to distinguish yourself. There wasn’t anyone doing estate, fine estate, or fine antique jewelry. We thought that there was a void.”

According to Mr. Bonifas, there is a constant need to search for the best examples of jewelry that are hundreds of years old with estate jewelry. “That’s what we built our business on, to buy and find fine estate and antique jewelry.”

At Fourtané, advertising has always been in the acquisition of jewelry and rather than the selling of it. With years of expertise, Mr. Bonifas understands the behavior of those who buy and sell these precious pieces. “We’ve found that when you advertise to buy jewelry the person interested in selling will respond and also the person who is interested in buying sees that you’re constantly looking to acquire jewelry so it speaks their interest – it sort of works both ways.”

Even though fine estate and antique jewelry offer the best value and are the prettiest, they are also the most difficult to find. “I’ve found that people that bought fine estate and antique jewelry would always be interested in buying more jewelry because no two pieces were ever alike and they become collectors or passionate about the jewelry…They understand the beauty and uniqueness of it and ultimately the value and enjoyment that you get from owning or wearing that jewelry and clearly jewelry is meant to be worn and enjoyed.”

His exquisite one–of-a-kind collection consists of pieces from around the world that are dated back to the 1800s. From private collections, estate dealers, and bank vaults worldwide, Mr. Bonifas personally hand selects each piece. His collection was nominated in consecutive years for the JCK Jewelers Choice Awards in 2011-2013, and in 2013 he became a Finalist.

K.I.S.S. Rule with Integrity


“My dad says, we operate by the K.I.S.S. Rule – Keep It Simple, Student. In life, there’s always a right and wrong thing. It’s actually that you operate with integrity,” said Kris Bonifas who is in charge of marketing and public relations.

If you ask Kris how it is to work with family, he’ll tell you, “It’s tough to work with family, but the benefit of a family business is that it offers flexibility. When I came here, I started to focus on watches, thinking I’d work side by side with my brother. But we started to butt heads and it became very difficult. So what we figured out is that, we’re all family, we grew up together, we know each other incredibly well and we have a lot of respect for each other. But we all need our own thing here and so we divide and conquer well.”

Communication is the key to the entire staff. “It’s not just in family, it’s the entire store. I have ten other mothers here that treat me like a son. I get love advice and all these things, it’s great.” In a tight space with a whole bunch of A-type personalities. “There’s never a dull day here for sure.”

The casual family business works well in Carmel even though it is luxury commerce. “People aren’t decked up, all dressed up in their best clothes every day. It’s the guy who walks in here in sweatpants and a t-shirt from the beach that pulls out his wallet and pays $100,000 for a watch without question, and that happens a lot.”
Kris reveals that they’ve taken their experience and what they can use from the corporate sector. They continue to reinvest in their business from what they make to continue growing. “Obviously, you know how much you sell, you know the forecasting which helps us buy, but again it’s very hard to do a corporate business plan for this business. Especially, in jewelry because you never know what you’ll find in front of you.”


Family Does the Job


The eldest of three boys, Mr. John Bonifas was brought up in a humble yet strict family environment. His father had fought in World War II and was in the military for a while; afterward, he went to work in a paper mill for the remaining part of his life in Michigan. He didn’t make much money and a strict budget was adhered to for groceries every week.

In the jewelry business, it is known that jewelers are very secretive. They don’t teach other jewelers their secrets and watchmakers don’t share tips – it is very important to have several mentors teach a lot of different areas. The best jewelers are the ones who can understand all the different sectors.

Moved by his passion, dedication and hard work, the jewelers and watchmakers eventually adopted the young apprentice and taught him the tricks of the trade

“[Mr. Bonifas] started in Michigan. It would get really cold, below zero degrees and he would go out and start customers’ cars for them and scrape the ice off for them,” says his son Kris. “He used to go around cleaning up ash trays because everyone used to smoke in stores. He was always keeping things nice.”

Moved by his passion, dedication and hard work, the jewelers and watchmakers eventually adopted the young apprentice and taught him the tricks of the trade.

“He’s worked his whole life. He’s in here six days a week. We have to force him to take a day off at 65. He loves it! He’s not a sit-back, run-it-from-home, owner. He’s still the main buyer of all our jewelry, and it’s his taste that people seek out. There’s a lot of jewelry in the world, but it’s his eye that makes our collection here special.”

Explaining how a family business differs from the corporate world, Kris states: “We feel it very important to make the most of our time that we have here at the store and at home because being a family business, it is much more difficult. We don’t check out, it’s not a corporate job. It spills over in our dinner conversations. The whole family embraces it, is very supportive, but it really takes that understanding.”

The employees all adore Mr. Bonifas. “My dad, he knows his goals, he doesn’t give the feeling that he is the boss and everyone comes in and makes their own decisions…My father does not micromanage. We spend a lot of time hiring people that have to be a very good fit. They live it just as we live it, they take business home with them. They have no incentives. They’re paid a great salary and do not work based on commission. That’s because we want everyone here together. We don’t want them to focus on numbers.”


Excellence in Rolex Collection


As one of the top sellers of antique one-of-a-kind Rolex watches, Fourtané is also one of the top authorized new Rolex accounts in the country. They stock the most Rolex in the country, and are the only Rolex dealer in the country that has been authorized to sell vintage Rolex side by side with new Rolex. “We represent their entire line , particularly focussing on their high end timepieces” said Kris. “We hear every day ‘I’ve never seen so many Rolex watches in one place!’”

Josh Bonifas, as one of the most revered experts in the field, demonstrates his passion and intensity alongside his father at Fourtané. He is responsible for tirelessly seeking out special vintage Rolex watches. He has appeared as an appraiser on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow. His quests of buying and selling take him to New York, Asia and Europe constantly networking and forecasting industry trends.

“My brother has the eye for the little details that tells him this is actually a watch made from a year that is far more rare…his passion being Rolex, has focused on that and built our Rolex collection,” Kris said.

“Some of these other watch dealers, they buy watches and they find other parts and they piece them together and they say it is Rolex. My brother finds the watches and he makes sure that all these components are from the original factory. There are certain standards that all these things have to initially meet before we even consider purchasing it and offering it to our customers. It’s that type of filtering process and understanding of what makes the stuff that we buy for our customers special that is very difficult.”

Tudor, which is really popular in Asia, was recently re-introduced in the United States. Fourtané was chosen by Tudor (owned by Rolex) for the initial launch. “It was a testament to our store that Tudor chose us.”

Tudor makes watches that don’t compete with Rolex but they are assembled by hand in the Rolex factory. Tudor prices range between $1000 and $8000.

“We have every single Tudor, and we have all the ones that aren’t available in Asia.”


Three out of hundreds special vintage Rolex are displayed in this dispay case at the store.
Bottom: Steve McQueen’s personal Rolex Submariner.
Middle : One of a kind prototype SeaDweller-submariner Rolex (half a million dollars)
Top row: 1964 America’s Cup Winner Watch)

A Choice of Tradition


Kris joined the corporate world after attaining his degrees from Stanford University, but chose to return home to help the family business grow. Speaking of both himself and his brother Josh, Kris states: “We both stepped away and it wasn’t automatic that we’d come here. My parents didn’t force us to come here. They did their thing and saw what we gravitated to. My brother and I saw that they were living a great life that was of great value-the relationships they were making, the interesting situations and people they get to meet. We’re very fortunate to have certain doors open for us via this business that wouldn’t happen in another profession.”

Josh was a history major. “My brother figured out in college that he wanted to come back. He started to immerse himself in jewelry. He honed his knowledge there. When he left college, he immediately came back and started working here with a plan…”

Working as a sales rep for an orthopedic company, Kris instructed doctors on how to install joint replacement implants into a person. He learned much about the medical industry and loved the business, while at the same time making a substantial amount of money. “I loved that business, I had a lot of fun, it was a great business helping people with mobility and making their life better.” After 3½ years, Kris returned to Fourtané. “I missed my family. I missed Carmel, a lot.” At a time of recession and during the transition, “My first thought was: I’m selling jewelry, is this what people need? People need food and water, they don’t need jewelry.”

During his tenure at Fourtané, Kris discovered the real importance of the business. “I think why people treat jewelry so special – it’s the sentiment. These things that have been passed down through generations, quality watches or jewelry that their grandmother or great-grandmother owned, are just as wearable and beautiful today as they were 100 years ago. I think that’s beautiful and that’s what makes this stuff invaluable.”

“We love this stuff! We see the value, we live it, we breathe it!”


More on this topic

More Stories

Refreshing and Insights
at No Cost to You!

Cancel anytime

Latest Articles

Leave a Reply


Top Products

Contact us

Wherever & whenever you are,
we are here always.

The Middle Land

100 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 700 Santa Monica, CA 90401
Footer Contact

To Editor

Terms and Conditions

October, 2023

Using our website

You may use the The Middle Land website subject to the Terms and Conditions set out on this page. Visit this page regularly to check the latest Terms and Conditions. Access and use of this site constitutes your acceptance of the Terms and Conditions in-force at the time of use.

Intellectual property

Names, images and logos displayed on this site that identify The Middle Land are the intellectual property of New San Cai Inc. Copying any of this material is not permitted without prior written approval from the owner of the relevant intellectual property rights.

Requests for such approval should be directed to the competition committee.

Please provide details of your intended use of the relevant material and include your contact details including name, address, telephone number, fax number and email.

Linking policy

You do not have to ask permission to link directly to pages hosted on this website. However, we do not permit our pages to be loaded directly into frames on your website. Our pages must load into the user’s entire window.

The Middle Land is not responsible for the contents or reliability of any site to which it is hyperlinked and does not necessarily endorse the views expressed within them. Linking to or from this site should not be taken as endorsement of any kind. We cannot guarantee that these links will work all the time and have no control over the availability of the linked pages.


All information, data, text, graphics or any other materials whatsoever uploaded or transmitted by you is your sole responsibility. This means that you are entirely responsible for all content you upload, post, email or otherwise transmit to the The Middle Land website.

Virus protection

We make every effort to check and test material at all stages of production. It is always recommended to run an anti-virus program on all material downloaded from the Internet. We cannot accept any responsibility for any loss, disruption or damage to your data or computer system, which may occur while using material derived from this website.


The website is provided ‘as is’, without any representation or endorsement made, and without warranty of any kind whether express or implied.

Your use of any information or materials on this website is entirely at your own risk, for which we shall not be liable. It is your responsibility to ensure any products, services or information available through this website meet your specific requirements.

We do not warrant the operation of this site will be uninterrupted or error free, that defects will be corrected, or that this site or the server that makes it available are free of viruses or represent the full functionality, accuracy and reliability of the materials. In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including, without limitation, loss of profits, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damages whatsoever arising from the use, or loss of data, arising out of – or in connection with – the use of this website.

Privacy & Cookie Policy

October, 2023

Last Updated: October 1, 2023

New San Cai Inc. (hereinafter “The Middle Land,” “we,” “us,” or “our”) owns and operates www.themiddleland.com, its affiliated websites and applications (our “Sites”), and provides related products, services, newsletters, and other offerings (together with the Sites, our “Services”) to art lovers and visitors around the world.

This Privacy Policy (the “Policy”) is intended to provide you with information on how we collect, use, and share your personal data. We process personal data from visitors of our Sites, users of our Services, readers or bloggers (collectively, “you” or “your”). Personal data is any information about you. This Policy also describes your choices regarding use, access, and correction of your personal information.

If after reading this Policy you have additional questions or would like further information, please contact us.


We collect and process personal data only for lawful reasons, such as our legitimate business interests, your consent, or to fulfill our legal or contractual obligations.

Information You Provide to Us

Most of the information Join Talents collects is provided by you voluntarily while using our Services. We do not request highly sensitive data, such as health or medical information, racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, etc. and we ask that you refrain from sending us any such information.

Here are the types of personal data that you voluntarily provide to us:

  • Name, email address, and any other contact information that you provide by filling out your profile forms
  • Billing information, such as credit card number and billing address
  • Work or professional information, such as your company or job title
  • Unique identifiers, such as username or password
  • Demographic information, such as age, education, interests, and ZIP code
  • Details of transactions and preferences from your use of the Services
  • Correspondence with other users or business that you send through our Services, as well as correspondence sent to JoinTalents.com

As a registered users or customers, you may ask us to review or retrieve emails sent to your business. We will access these emails to provide these services for you.

We use the personal data you provide to us for the following business purposes:

  • Set up and administer your account
  • Provide and improve the Services, including displaying content based on your previous transactions and preferences
  • Answer your inquiries and provide customer service
  • Send you marketing communications about our Services, including our newsletters (please see the Your Rights/Opt Out section below for how to opt out of marketing communications)
  • Communicate with users who registered their accounts on our site
  • Prevent, discover, and investigate fraud, criminal activity, or violations of our Terms and Conditions
  • Administer contests and events you entered

Information Obtained from Third-Party Sources

We collect and publish biographical and other information about users, which we use to promote the articles and our bloggers  who use our sites. If you provide personal information about others, or if others give us your information, we will only use that information for the specific reason for which it was provided.

Information We Collect by Automated Means

Log Files

The site uses your IP address to help diagnose server problems, and to administer our website. We use your IP addresses to analyze trends and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use.

Every time you access our Site, some data is temporarily stored and processed in a log file, such as your IP addresses, the browser types, the operating systems, the recalled page, or the date and time of the recall. This data is only evaluated for statistical purposes, such as to help us diagnose problems with our servers, to administer our sites, or to improve our Services.

Do Not Track

Your browser or device may include “Do Not Track” functionality. Our information collection and disclosure practices, and the choices that we provide to customers, will continue to operate as described in this Privacy Policy, whether or not a “Do Not Track” signal is received.


We may share your personal data with third parties only in the ways that are described in this Privacy Policy. We do not sell, rent, or lease your personal data to third parties, and We does not transfer your personal data to third parties for their direct marketing purposes.

We may share your personal data with third parties as follows:

  • With service providers under contract to help provide the Services and assist us with our business operations (such as our direct marketing, payment processing, fraud investigations, bill collection, affiliate and rewards programs)
  • As required by law, such as to comply with a subpoena, or similar legal process, including to meet national security or law enforcement requirements
  • When we believe in good faith that disclosure is necessary to protect rights or safety, investigate fraud, or respond to a government request
  • With other users of the Services that you interact with to help you complete a transaction

There may be other instances where we share your personal data with third parties based on your consent.


We retain your information for as long as your account is active or as needed to provide you Services. If you wish to cancel your account or request that we no longer use your personal data, contact us. We will retain and use your personal data as necessary to comply with legal obligations, resolve disputes, and enforce our agreements.

All you and our data are stored in the server in the United States, we do not sales or transfer your personal data to the third party. All information you provide is stored on a secure server, and we generally accepted industry standards to protect the personal data we process both during transmission and once received.


You may correct, update, amend, delete/remove, or deactivate your account and personal data by making the change on your Blog on www.themiddleland.com or by emailing our customer service. We will respond to your request within a reasonable timeframe.

You may choose to stop receiving Join Talents newsletters or marketing emails at any time by following the unsubscribe instructions included in those communications, or you can contact us.


The Middle Land include links to other websites whose privacy practices may differ from that of ours. If you submit personal data to any of those sites, your information is governed by their privacy statements. We encourage you to carefully read the Privacy Policy of any website you visit.


Our Services are not intended for use by children, and we do not knowingly or intentionally solicit data from or market to children under the age of 18. We reserve the right to delete the child’s information and the child’s registration on the Sites.


We may update this Privacy Policy to reflect changes to our personal data processing practices. If any material changes are made, we will notify you on the Sites prior to the change becoming effective. You are encouraged to periodically review this Policy.


If you have any questions about our Privacy Policy, please contact customer service or send us mail at:

The Middle Land/New San Cai
100 Wilshire Blvd., 7th Floor
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Article Submission


Are you sure? Do you want to logout of the account?

New Programs Added to Your Plan

March 2, 2023

The Michelin brothers created the guide, which included information like maps, car mechanics listings, hotels and petrol stations across France to spur demand.

The guide began to award stars to fine dining restaurants in 1926.

At first, they offered just one star, the concept was expanded in 1931 to include one, two and three stars. One star establishments represent a “very good restaurant in its category”. Two honour “excellent cooking, worth a detour” and three reward “exceptional cuisine, worth a


February 28, 2023        Hiring Journalists all hands apply

January 18, 2023          Hiring Journalists all hands apply


Leave a Reply

Forgot Password ?

Please enter your email id or user name to
recover your password

Thank you for your participation!
Back to Home
Thank you for your subscription!
Please check your email to activate your account.
Back to Home
Thank you for your participation!
Please check your email for the results.
Back to Home

Login to Vote!

Thank you for your participation,
please Log in or Sign up to Vote

Thank you for your Comment

Back to Home

Reply To:

New Programs Added to Your Plan

Login Now

123Sign in to your account