“Anto G,” as he is known in the industry, is a young man out to change our notions about time—or, at least, the way we keep track of it. As president of international watch company Giantto, he oversees an empire built on time. Carrying the watch-making torch of a family of watchmakers, Anto and his dad “GG,” the head designer for Giantto, have a unique synergy and mission: to combine the best of Old World traditions and craftsmanship with the best of modern technology and cutting-edge design. Anto brings a brash, youthful perspective to a business that is often steeped in tradition and in danger of becoming hidebound.
Giantto has fabricated watches for a number of designers and companies—notably, Von Dutch—but, in recent years, under Anto’s direction, the company has concentrated on its own label and its own collections. Today, Giantto produces seven different collections of luxury watches aimed at a clientele that is atypical for high-end watches. Giantto attracts musicians, actors and athletes in droves: celebrities like Randy Jackson, Mario Lopez and Mary J. Blige, as well as young entrepreneurs and business people, both male and female, who are unafraid to make a bold, personal statement.
Anto calls it “reckless luxury,” a phrase that has become Giantto’s marketing mantra. A Giantto watch is not for the shy and retiring of either sex. The designs are sporty, and the materials lean more to the high-tech than the precious, with huge, easily read faces of mother of pearl or ceramic. The majority of Giantto watches are stainless steel, and many feature rubber or silicone bands. The excitement comes from the interchangeable bands and gem-studded bezels that can be purchased separately.
“A lot of our customers buy a watch and return to customize it later, adding a white diamond bezel or pink or yellow or even chocolate or black diamonds, to create an entire wardrobe of looks with one watch,” says Anto.
Giantto creates some watches in 18-karat gold, mostly yellow or rose, which are usually commissioned. “They are enormously expensive,” Anto admits. Giantto also makes a line of watches in stainless steel that have been treated with the “IP” process, which is similar to electroplating, but more durable and longer-lasting. It is popular, he explains, with customers from the Middle East, who are sometimes culturally reluctant to wear solid gold.
With their big scale and unabashed bling, Giantto watches appeal to customers who aren’t afraid to front. “A lot of athletes buy our watches,” says Anto proudly. “They’re big, brawny guys and they need a lot of watch. And they’re very confident and sure of themselves and they like to peacock.” Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys is one of those, as are Langston Walker of the Buffalo Bills, Shaquille O’Neal and Dodgers star Manny Ramirez.
“Floyd Mayweather came in right before his fight with Oscar de la Hoya,” Anto recalls. “He bought a watch for himself that was covered in diamonds, and similar, plainer ones for his entire entourage, so they would ‘have something to strive for,’ he said.”
While many of his clients are men, women are catching on. Huge Giantto watches have been spotted on the delicate wrists of Eva Longoria Parker, Kim Kardashian and both of the Hilton sisters. “I love to see a woman in a big, bold watch,” says Anto. “It’s so sexy because it makes her look more feminine by contrast.”
Despite the proliferation of digital devices that tell time, Anto doesn’t think that watches are becoming dinosaurs. They are still the only jewelry that most men wear, and a fine watch still exerts a fascination, conveying a strong message of status, wealth and sophistication that will never go out of style. “A man should have as many watches as a woman has shoes or handbags!” he laughs.
Images Courtesy of Giantto