Soccer Scandal turns Parmigiani timepiece into star collectable

Aside from Hollywood, few industries appreciate an origin story more than we do in the watch world.

So it is with some excitement that WatchPro learns of a Parmigiani Fleurier watch coming up for sale on the eve of the soccer World Cup in Russia, with an intriguing history that includes wealth, power, corruption and FIFA, one of the most controversial sporting governing bodies in the world.

The story starts in 2014 at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

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Just days before the spectacle, soccer officials checked in into their hotel room in São Paulo, being pleasantly surprised by a goodie bag that was carefully placed in their rooms by the Brazilian soccer federation. Inside the bag? Among other things, a $26,000 watch from the Swiss brand Parmigiani Fleurier.

FIFA at the time was mired in a scandal about its officials, particularly its leader at the time Sepp Blatter, allegedly receiving payments for favors from countries wanting to host the World Cup.

As part of its anti-corruption drive, FIFA decided to confiscate the beautiful Parmigiani timepieces, all 48 of them, with a total value of $1.2 million.

Where the watches went next is a mystery, but one of them has popped up today at Montredo, a German-based secondary market luxury watch dealer.

The company operates almost entirely online, and is selling the Parmigiani, with the proceeds donated to Street Football World, a Berlin-based charity dedicated to deploying the power of football for good that has been chosen by FIFA to receive this precious donation.

The price of EUR 4,569 ($5380) is around 80% lower than the watch ought to cost, and even more of a bargain when you consider its fascinating history.

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