Shkodran Mustafi (1992) plays as a centre-back for Spanish club UD Levante in Valencia. He won the World Cup with the German national team in 2014. The father of two is married to a Swiss model and is a passionate collector. Besides fast cars, the German with Macedonian roots has a particularly fondness for premium-quality watches and matching jewellery.
You can tell that Shkodran Mustafi has a practised eye when it comes to exquisite materials. He carefully studies the sketches and the printout of the design: red rubies, blue sapphires and baguette- cut diamonds alternate around the distinctive ring in rose gold. Mustafi asks astute questions, shows great interest in the details and finally enthuses: “That’s exactly how I imagined it – it’s a perfect match.” By ‘match’, he doesn’t mean a football game for once, but the ideal complement for his watch, which is now peeking out from under his jacket sleeve. The same precious stones sparkle on the bezel of the Rolex GMT Master II Saru, famously known as the “Pepsi”. “I like it when things go together,” says Mustafi. “Sometimes I even coordinate my clothes with the car I’ll be driving that day.” Then he breaks into a wide grin: “Sounds like a bit of a footballer cliché, doesn’t it?”
HIS WIFE INTRODUCED HIM TO BEYER
Shkodran Mustafi is one of the best centre- backs in the world. He became world champion with the German national team in 2014. Today he is under contract with Spanish first-division club UD Levante in Valencia. And naturally you wonder: what were the circumstances that led up to Mustafi signing off on the rendering of his ring that day at the Beyer jewellery studio in Zurich? The likeable, down-to-earth German with Macedonian roots talks candidly about his life. And that he not only lives in Valencia,but also in Switzerland from time to time, because his wife comes from here: he has been married to model Vjosa Kaba since 2016. Out on a stroll through Zurich, she had taken him to Beyer’s shop window. As luck would have it, a Rolex “Day-Date Rainbow” and matching ring were on display. Mustafi wanted to take a closer look, because a similar idea had been forming in his mind for a long time.
SPECIAL REQUESTS WELCOME
One spontaneous preliminary conversation later, the twenty-something knew he had come to the right place. “I’m impressed at how much the people at Beyer know about their profession – and how passionate they are about their job,” says Mustafi. And adds: “I’m usually fascinated by newer technologies, but in a case like this, you need experts with a lot of experience.”
Which is something the long-standing head of the Beyer Goldsmith’s Department, Carlo Mutschler, certainly has to offer. He knows the challenges when a customer comes in with a special request. With a ring, they already begin with the setting: “It is meticulously planned on the computer, hand-soldered by a goldsmith and welded with a laser. The aim is to create a solid, beautifully shaped framework that gives the stones room to shine.”
At the same time, Mutschler goes in search of the perfect stones: colour, quality and lustre must be one hundred percent right, and Beyer doesn’t tolerate any compromise. A diamond cutter shapes them perfectly so that a setter – very few of whom have the required dexterity – can then place them with the highest degree of precision. “In the end, everything has to be perfect,” Mutschler explains. “If the result deviates even slightly from the ideal, you’ll hear: let’s give it another go!”
For Shkodran Mustafi’s ring, Beyer has been examining precious stones from Amsterdam and Tel Aviv for months – but they still haven’t got the complete set together. Patience is called for, Mutschler apologises to Mustafi. But he just shrugs: patience is one of the virtues that took him from a small village in the central German state of Hesse via district and state selection to a professional contract (as a 14-year-old!) to Hamburg and later to the German national team at an early age. And that in the position of centre- back, which requires extremely precise technique, a consistency of approach and a good deal of level-headedness – in other words, very similar qualities to those that a watchmaker or a goldsmith must possess.
“SOUNDS LIKE A FOOTBALLER CLICHÉ, DOESN’T IT?”
“If the striker out front makes a mistake, there are still eight players behind him who can make up for it,” Mustafi says with a smile. “But if a centre-back drops his guard for a moment, it’s often punished with a goal for the opposing team.” One mistake that still bothers him today occurred in the cup match against Barcelona a few years ago. “It was the semi-final and at that moment there was just me against Messi in the penalty area. He was about to shoot and I attempted to nudge the ball away from his foot with the tip of my toe. Which I even managed to do, but unfortunately I touched him lightly afterwards. This resulted in a penalty against us and a red card for me. Both undeserved; that annoys me to this day.”
HIS GRANDFATHER’S WATCH
Messi, Ronaldo, Karim Benzema: for years, the biggest names in world football have been the opponents that Mustafi has been trying to make life difficult for, weekend after weekend. Off the pitch, however, it is above all his family that inspires him – his two children. And: his passion for collecting.
First it was fast cars, then he became interested in limited-edition watches and finally in matching jewellery. Whereby for Mustafi, uniqueness is always top priority: the market value is secondary to him. He says that his favourite item in the collection is the simple watch that his grandfather wore day in, day out. For Mustafi, jewellery and watches are closely linked to emotions – a fact that also benefits his wife, parents, grandparents and siblings, who are regularly given gifts of precious items. Mustafi is also already looking forward to passing on his favourite pieces to his children one day.
Today, Shkodran Mustafi flies back to Spain without the latest addition to his growing jewellery and watch collection. But he’ll soon be back again to examine the precious stones. And, while he’s there, to take a leisurely stroll through Zurich with his wife Vjosa, where, unlike Valencia, he can study the display windows undisturbed and indulge in a little dreaming.