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Audemars Piguet's watch, made in honour of the world's best footballer bought by a U.S. collector
The No.10 Royal Oak Leo Messi, a 41mm platinium chronograph by Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet is seen during a press preview of auction house Sotheby's on May 7, 2013 in Geneva. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI.

GENEVA.- Today, the No.10 Royal Oak Chronograph Leo Messi - Audemars Piguet’s limited edition watch made in honour of the world’s best footballer – achieved CHF 81,250 ($81,850) at Sotheby’s Geneva. The watch generated interest from across the world, with no fewer than five bidders in the auction room, on the telephones and online locking horns in a battle to secure it. After five minutes of intense bidding, applause erupted as the watch sold to a U.S. private collector on the phone. The entire proceeds from the sale will benefit the Leo Messi Foundation.

Worn by Leo Messi and designed with his collaboration, this 41 mm chronograph in platinum is the tenth watch produced by Audemars Piguet in a limited series of only 100 pieces dedicated to the player. The successful buyer also won the opportunity to meet the football legend in person in Barcelona. Lot 110 in the sale (a nod to Leo Messi’s number 10 FC Barcelona and Argentina shirts), the watch was accompanied by an Argentina national team’s number 10 jersey and a football, both autographed by Messi, and the original drawing of the watch signed by the footballer and Audemars Piguet’s Chief Artistic Officer, Octavio Garcia.

Commenting on the results of the sale, Geoffroy Ader, Head of Watches, Sotheby’s Europe, declared: “It was a huge honour for Sotheby’s to handle the sale of the No.10 Royal Oak Leo Messi. We are delighted by the result achieved today. This sale has not only made a watch and football lover very happy, it also contributed to the great work of the Leo Messi Foundation.”

Leo Messi said: “I am sincerely grateful to Audemars Piguet, Sotheby's and the buyer of the No.10 Royal Oak watch bearing my name. Their generosity will help Leo Messi Foundation to renovate “La Sala I” at the Children Public Hospital in my home city of Rosario, creating better conditions for all underprivileged children who are hospitalised. It is a wonderful cause and one I am proud to share and support with everyone who believes in it”.

At just 25 years old, Leo Messi has already become a footballing legend. The first player in history to win four consecutive Ballon d’Or, the Argentinian has made a huge impact on the game of football, with his exceptional technique and exemplary sense of teamwork and fair play. In 2012, he scored no less than 91 goals in 69 matches – a new world record.

The Royal Oak Chronograph Leo Messi was launched by Audemars Piguet in 2012, which coincided with the 40th anniversary of the Royal Oak – a timeless icon of sporting elegance. The Royal Oak Leo Messi Limited Edition in platinum features a pure and smart deep blue dial with white gold hour markers, without repeating the “tapisserie” motif which was the Royal Oak’s trademark. The three auxiliary chronograph counters and the small seconds counter are encircled by a finely brushed silvered ring.

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