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.

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…
The watch’s case is a mere 8.24 mm thick…
Photo by Vincent Wulveryck/Cartier
Jeweler Cartier innovative work combined Roman, Egyptian, Indian, and Chinese elements with...
On assuming his new position, Lambert lost little time in the development of new watches...
In 2008, the British inventor, electronics tycoon, and philanthropist John C. Taylor unveiled the...