A watch worn by Pope Francis was sold last week at a charity auction and set a new world record for the brand.
The LaViolette Scholarship Foundation auctioned off a Swatch Once Again watch Nov. 30 that Pope Francis had worn for much of his pontificate.
The watch, which can be found at the brand’s official store for US$55, was finally sold for US$56,250 — more than 1,000 times its retail value — making it the Swatch watch for which the most money has ever been paid.
Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin, sent a letter to the Holy Father in May telling him about the life of Brian LaViolette, a teenage watch collector who died at the age of 15 in a swimming accident.
In the letter, Ricken asked the pontiff to donate one of his cheapest watches to be auctioned by the LaViolette Foundation, which offers financial help for students to go to college.
The Holy Father agreed to the request and the auction of the watch joins those of other famous people such as Fred Savage, Joe Theismann, Terry Bradshaw, Condoleezza Rice, and Randall Park.
It’s not the first time that Pope Francis has donated things for auction.
Less than a year after being elected pope, Harley-Davidson gave the pope a motorcycle that, after he autographed it, was sold for US$285,000.
The money raised was used to renovate the “Don Luigi Liegro” shelter, which welcomes the homeless or jobless.
Then in November 2017, Lamborghini gave one of its most exclusive cars to the Supreme Pontiff, who decided to auction it off and allocate the money to numerous charitable works.