Excellence Revisited: Crown Jewels

An eminent London diamond merchant since 1789, Backes & Strauss approaches the wristwatch as a piece of fine jewelry. Produced in collaboration with Geneva’s Franck Muller Watchland, which manufactures the movements and completes assembly, Backes & Strauss watches (+44.20.7839.8709, www.backesandstrauss?.com) sparkle with diamonds set in 18-karat-gold cases shaped to accentuate the multifaceted gems’ play of light. The initial designs, which debuted in 2006, reference London’s Regency-era architecture. For example, the circular form of the Piccadilly is based on John Nash’s Piccadilly Circus, a defining London landmark since 1819. The Berkeley takes its geometry from Berkeley Square, landscaped by Palladian master William Kent in the year that Backes & Strauss was founded. This year, Backes & Strauss introduces the 1609 AD (left), named for the year when Thomas Harriett, an English astronomer, made the first drawings of the moon—before Galileo. The new model’s moon-phase indicator is embellished with a 17-star constellation mapped out in ideal-cut diamonds.

The new timepiece has a fluid-based linear timekeeping display…
The new watch has multiple systems to ensure that its movement receives consistent power…
Computer-aided design is allowing watchmakers to push the boundaries of innovation...
The watchmaker puts its skill in guilloche and damaskeening on full display…
The two back-to-back auctions will offer hundreds of unique designs…
The new variation sports a dial crafted from a meteorite...
Photo by Didier Gourdon
The new watch has a tourbillon hidden by an automaton…
Photo by Vincent Wulveryck/Cartier
Jeweler Cartier innovative work combined Roman, Egyptian, Indian, and Chinese elements with...
The watch’s case is a mere 8.24 mm thick…
In 2008, the British inventor, electronics tycoon, and philanthropist John C. Taylor unveiled the...