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Excellence Revisited: Crown Jewels

Jonathon Keats

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.

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