Backes & Strauss unveil a dazzling array of new timepieces at the World Presentation of Haute Horlogerie 2015 (WPHH) justifying their position as the Masters of Diamonds
If you’re one of the millions of regular Luxurious Magazine readers around the world, you’ll know that we’re huge fans of Backes & Strauss timepieces and jewellery, and this goes from the top down. Paul Godbold, the owner of Luxurious Magazine wears Backes & Strauss, and when you consider that we work with almost every leading watch brand in the world, the simple fact the he chooses a Backes & Strauss watch over all the other great jewellery brands, and currently have them as our official watch partner shows how highly we rate them.
This year, Backes & Strauss introduced a number of fresh and innovative additions to its line-up of diamond and gem-set watches at WPHH. The new timepieces comprise of four remarkable new models in the Renaissance collection; a new member of the bespoke Piccadilly Princess line launched in 2014; the Duchess, a 21st-century take on the traditional, petite cocktail watch; a brilliant addition to the Victoria collection, inspired by 19th century jewellery designs; the bespoke Royal Jester extends its offering to include a 36 mm version at the centre of which shines the finest 0.80 carats DIF colourless diamond and last but by no means least, two very special unique pieces pushing the boundaries of its craftsmen further, the Royal ASHOKA® Empress, bringing William Goldberg’s exceptional diamonds to the world of fine watchmaking and the Regent Beau Brummell Tourbillon Pocket Watch.
The four new models in the Renaissance collection
In the world of haute horlogerie, less is frequently seen to be more – which is undeniably the case with the exquisite ‘Renaissance’ collection launched by Backes & Strauss at the WPHH in 2014.
Now the success of these beautifully elegant, deliciously-slim timepieces, which combine the signature look and craftsmanship of the world’s oldest diamond company with the understated codes of a bygone era, has led to the creation of four new ‘Renaissance’ models unveiled at this year’s WPHH.
The four additions comprise of:
- The Piccadilly and Regent Renaissance with diamond bracelets, adorned with 737 Ideal Cut diamonds.
- The Piccadilly and Regent Renaissance with gold bracelets, available in white or rose gold.
- The Piccadilly Renaissance Baguette, a magnificent ‘pièce unique’ which is entirely invisibly-set with baguette diamonds, further enhanced by four Kite Cut diamonds at 12, three, six and nine as hour markers.
- The Berkeley Renaissance, an entirely fresh and supremely elegant re-interpretation of the Berkeley, one of the key designs in the Backes & Strauss range and inspired by the great London square.
Designed for both men and women, each new Renaissance watch contains a mechanical movement measuring only 2.5 mm deep, resulting in a total case thickness of just 6.1 mm. Crafted in a choice of 18k white or rose gold, these elegant cases – which are so key to the character of the Renaissance models – can either be set lavishly with the finest Ideal Cut, round brilliant diamonds in two or three rows, or left classically unadorned. In every instance, the new Renaissance models carry the Backes & Strauss ‘signature’ in the form of a single diamond, set by hand into the crown, while Roman numerals are also hand-set on a choice of dial colours which match a range of alligator skin straps with gold deployant buckles.
The new Piccadilly Princess Royal Blue from Backes & Strauss
In 2014, Backes & Strauss unveiled the magnificent Piccadilly Princess Royal Colours in a series of five watches, each set with an utterly unique array of stones reflecting all the colours of the rainbow. This year’s ultra-special masterpiece is called the Piccadilly Princess Royal Blue, a truly magnificent wrist watch set with 245 diamonds weighing 37.60 carats and presented in a variety of exquisite cuts to create a timepiece that is not only unique, but truly spectacular from any angle.
But why, you might ask, is it called ‘the Royal Blue’ when every stone that adorns it is as clear as the water from the highest mountain stream? The answer is that, in the history of gemological expertise, diamonds of the purest colour were traditionally called ‘Bleu Blanc’ in recognition of the fact that their extreme clarity made them almost blue to the eye – much like untainted Arctic ice. The Royal Colours launched last year was the first of five very unique pieces that will make up this collection. The Royal Blue will be followed during the coming months by the Royal Green Emerald, the Royal Red Rose and the Blue Velvet. These pieces will be set with Gemfields emeralds, rubies and sapphires, the leading supplier of responsibly sourced rare coloured gemstones.
The New Duchess
The Princess range of watches has long formed part of the core of the Backes & Strauss collection, blurring the lines between timekeeper and jewel with its beautifully engineered bracelets which are so soft and supple that they almost challenge the wearer to believe that they are made from diamonds – the hardest substance known to man. And now, as more petite, ultra-elegant cocktail watches make a long-awaited return to the female wrist, the Princess is joined by the Duchess, an all-new design in the Backes & Strauss line-up which features a smaller, slimmer case and an equally tactile bracelet made from three rows of carefully selected diamonds instead of four.
In keeping with the standard set by the Princess, however, the bracelet of every Duchess watch features links which are individually made by hand, and every diamond is set in the typical, meticulous style which is the trademark of Backes & Strauss – and which makes the Duchess as much a pleasure to wear as it is to hold and to behold. The Duchess will be available either as a fully diamond-set watch or in Red Rose, Green Emerald and Blue Velvet variations, each name referring to whether the central row of the bracelet is respectively set with rubies, emeralds of sapphires to complement the 134 glittering diamonds on either side which amount to more than 16 carats. The cases of the Duchess, meanwhile, will be available in white or rose gold, hand-set with Backes & Strauss’ Ideal Cut white diamonds.
A new addition to the Victoria Collection
The Victoria Collection, inspired by Backes & Strauss 19th Century jewellery designs from the company’s archive collection, notably the Victorian era, is given a fresh and novel twist by the design team and brought to life by supreme craftsmen.
The Victoria Brilliant joins the delightfully feminine Victoria Collection at the World Presentation of Haute Horlogerie 2015, giving the successful collection a new lease of life. These new scintillating timepieces builds on the elegant interlocking Hearts design, without jeopardising the playful charm of the classic collection. Subtly reinterpreting the floral motif, the Victoria Brilliant features the addition of 12 exquisite Ideal Cut diamonds, hand-set into the loops of the interlocking Hearts by our master craftsmen. The bespoke version of Victoria Brilliant are accentuated with luscious red rubies, glimmering blue sapphires or enthralling green emeralds, infusing the timeless design with a zesty touch.
The Royal Jester
Summoning the finest bespoke services of Backes & Strauss, the Royal Jester unveils its latest addition at the World Presentation of Haute Horlogerie. In days of old, the jester was no fool. A key member of a ruler’s inner circle, his role was considered vital to the smooth running of the royal court, his humorous antics were often seen as the fruit of divine inspiration and his position was one of privilege. He was even required to criticise his master.
The Backes & Strauss ‘Royal Jester’ is so named because of its circular theme, in the centre of which a sparkling routine is performed by our very own version of the jester in the form of a single, round, Brilliant diamond weighing above 1.01 carats. This bespoke masterpiece is now available in a smaller 36 mm version, at the centre of which shines either the finest 0.80 carats DIF colourless diamond or a choice of pink, blue or yellow coloured diamonds. But the magnificent ‘jester’ diamond is not the only amusing aspect of this small and very special line of watches, each of which will be a bespoke piece with a different central stone – choose from the aforementioned, or indulge in courtly colours with a central stone of intense blue, intense pink or fancy vivid yellow.
Around the outside of the case, there are a further 80 diamonds weighing 10.50 carats, with the dial being masterfully invisibly set with two rows of baguettes weighing 2.40 carats. Each distinctive timepiece has a single diamond hand set in the crown, the Backes & Strauss signature “Jewel in the Crown”. A further 201 baguettes (9 carats) can be seen between the discreet, crimson hour and minute markers, which are ingeniously mounted on crystal discs to create the impression that they are simply floating, unconnected to any mechanism, in the great tradition of the mystery timekeeper. In reality, they are driven by a superb mechanical movement with 36 hours of power reserve.
The Royal ASHOKA® Empress
The inaugural piece from the collection which was unveiled during the World Presentation of Haute Horlogerie (October 2014 in Japan) is set with no fewer than 92 ASHOKA® cut diamonds, 131 Ideal Cut diamonds and two baguette cut diamonds – making a total of 225 diamonds, one for every year that Backes & Strauss, the world’s oldest diamond company, has been in existence. The total weight of diamonds used in the watch amounts to 26.21 carats. Visitors were truly dazzled by this unique timepiece from Masters of Diamonds Backes & Strauss, which draws its inspiration from the legendary Ashoka the Great, benevolent ruler of India’s Maurya dynasty during the third century BC.
From the depths of the Hindu Kush to the jungles of Bengal, Ashoka presided over an impressive empire – but, unlike many of his peers, he ruled with love, respect and compassion for his subjects having decided to turn his back on war and adopt Buddhism as his way of life. He spread the doctrine throughout Asia, establishing monuments to Gautama Buddha. Many hundreds of years after his death in 232 BC, Ashoka’s name was adopted for a 41.37 carat, D colour, internally flawless diamond which was pulled from an Indian mine and cut by an unknown craftsman of unrivalled skill. Such is its beauty, it has been credited with the ability to abolish sorrow and eradicate pain. Inspired by the mystical ‘Ashoka Diamond’, William Goldberg, the legendary Manhattan diamond company, created an entirely new, unique and original cut called the ‘ASHOKA®’ that was granted its very own patent. An elongated, antique cushion cut that captures light and disperses it with a fiery brilliance, the ASHOKA® can only be executed using diamonds that meet the Goldberg family’s exacting specifications – and only Goldberg master craftsmen have the skill, experience and expertise to bring to life the ASHOKA® cut which has 62 displayed facets and rounded corners. Backes & Strauss is proud to have created the Royal ASHOKA® Collection, a new line of one-of-a-kind timepieces which bring William Goldberg’s exceptional ASHOKA® diamonds to the world of fine watchmaking for the very first time.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Backes & Strauss for the launch of the Royal ASHOKA® watch collection. The beauty of our diamonds will be accentuated in the magnificent Backes & Strauss timepieces and we are very excited with the launch in Japan as demand for ASHOKA® diamonds grows internationally,” says Saul Goldberg, CEO, William Goldberg.
Combining a brilliance for horology and a passion for diamonds, Backes & Strauss is the ultimate diamond watch company. Adding a line of unique timepieces using William Goldberg’s ASHOKA® diamonds was the perfect addition to the world’s oldest diamond company’s Royal collection.
“William Goldberg and Backes & Strauss both share a deep appreciation for handcrafted precision and challenging their craftsmen at the highest level. The result of this meeting of masters is a collection of timepieces so intricate they are masterpieces inside and out,” comments Vartkess Knadjian, CEO, Backes & Strauss.
The Regent Beau Brummell Tourbillon Pocket Watch
In the heyday of the magnificent dandy Beau Brummell, telling the time involved more than a mere glance at the wrist – it was almost a ceremonial occasion when a gentleman gave a gentle tug on his fob chain, slowly drawing a timepiece from the depths of his waistcoat pocket before cradling it in his palm and perusing the hour at length. That sense of tactile enjoyment which is an intrinsic part of old-world timekeeping is now revisited by Backes & Strauss in a the form of the Regent Beau Brummell Tourbillon pocket watch with a white gold case set with two rows of Baguette diamonds, with further rows of Baguette diamonds being set concentrically on the dial. The hand wound tourbillon movement features hours and minutes, as well as a date display and moon phase indication. A mere five examples will be made, each with a bespoke chain set with Ideal Cut diamonds.
As the world’s oldest diamond company (est. 1789), Backes & Strauss has constantly looked forward, pioneering new diamond cutting techniques and enthralling connoisseurs with its compelling designs.
Today, Backes & Strauss is part of the Franck Muller group. Backes & Strauss and the Franck Muller Group are masters of the art and science of their respective crafts. While Backes & Strauss is occupied with light and Franck Muller is concerned with time, both share a devotion to mathematical precision.
The result of this meeting of masters is a collection of timepieces so intricate, they are veritable masterpieces both inside and out.