Pope Francis' Swatch will be auctioned for a just cause. One of the most iconic watches and immortalized several times on the Pontiff's wrist, it was donated by Pope Francis himself to a non-profit foundation based in Green Bay, the Brian LaViolette Scholarship Foundation.
The mission of this charity began in 1992 after the tragic death of Brian LaViolette at the age of 15 in a swimming accident. From that tragic event, the family LaViolette went on to pay tribute to Brian's life by offering over 1.000 scholarships to deserving college students in northeastern Wisconsin, the United States, and other parts of the world.
Like many young teens, Brian's enthusiasm for watches was just developing. His latest watch, an early 90s Swatch, is often on his father's wrist.
“Brian saved his hard-earned cash to buy this Swatch watch and enjoyed wearing it. He brings me close to him every time I wear it. Every time I wear one of his watches it brings so much joy into my life. As I see him ticking on my wrist, it's like a part of Brian is still alive and spending the day with me is such an incredible feeling. "Doug LaViolette
"The importance of time is not lost on our family and we believe that what we do with this time on earth is important in giving back and honoring others." Kim LaViolette Mosteller, Executive Director of Brian LaViolette Foundation.
“The“ Once Upon a Time Watch Project ”concept revolved around Brian LaViolette's passion for watches and the opportunity to raise funds for the Scholarship Foundation that bears his name for future generations. When we came up with the idea of the Watch Project, we thought about who the “Holy Grail” of watch donors might be. We felt that it must be someone who was admired for his goodness of heart and for his good deeds towards others ”.
Kim LaViolette Mosteller, Executive Director of Brian LaViolette Foundation
The LaViolette family thus thought of a hypothetical donor, difficult to reach, but more suitable than ever: His Holiness Pope Francis. Until they discovered that Brian's childhood best friend, Austin Rios, had become an Episcopal priest and had served in Rome, Italy for the past decade.
During Rios' stay in Rome, he had met Pope Francis on several occasions and had developed ties with religious leaders in the Vatican. Thanks to Austin, the "gates of the Vatican" opened and starting from a simple conversation, says Brian's father, Doug, the Vatican validated the purity of the Foundation's mission and recommended that the Bishop of Green Bay do the request to Pope Francis.
A few months later, Doug and his family literally burst into tears as the “simple” Swatch once owned by His Health and now the instrument of an important charitable mission was delivered.
In addition to the donation of Pope Francis' Swatch watch, several watches were donated at the charity auction, including examples previously owned by Terry Bradshaw, Randall Park, Fred Savage Bart Starr, Mike Krzyzewski, Tony Shalhoub, Condoleezza Rice, Jerry Lewis, Priscilla Presley, Admiral McRaven, Eric Wind, Dick Vitale, Ronny Chieng, Aly and AJ Michalka, Mason Crosby, Jan Stenerud and many others.
To learn more about the Brian LaViolette Scholarship Foundation, visit their website: https://www.briansjourney.com/
For information on The Watch Project and donors, please visit: https://www.briansjourney.com/watch-project
To register to bid on the "Once Upon a Time Watch Project" visit: https://www.briansjourney.com/watch-project.
Source of this article https://www.windvintage.com/blog/2022/5/9/pope-francis-swatch-watch