Originally established in 1789, Backes & Strauss is the one of the oldest diamond merchants in the world. In the year of the French Revolution, Georg Carl Backes, the founding father of the company, was first registered as a goldsmith in Hanau, Germany. In 1814, his son Johann Franz opened a branch office in London at 10 Hatton Garden.
Max Strauss, the second founding father, entered the London office in 1856. Fifteen years later he was managing J.F. Backes & Co. and two years later the company started trading as BACKES & STRAUSS.
Today, a Backes & Strauss bracelet decorated with a classical Assyrian design is exhibited at the British Museum in London. Manufacturing activities in Great Britain started in 1877. In 1892, the activities were redirected from manufacturing to the trade of diamonds and precious stones. Today, the B&S Group is known amongst global high jewellers and finest watchmakers as suppliers of the finest polished diamonds.
The Ostrich as Trademark
Ever since Max Strauss joined the company at the beginning of the 19th century, the ostrich was used as trademark on all Backes & Strauss creations. As a matter of fact the German word “strauss” means ostrich. The ostrich remains to this day the symbol of the brand.
In its long history, Backes & Strauss has built its renown among the most prestigious clients worldwide as the experts in polishing and cutting of high quality diamonds. Today, the company’s proficiency lies predominantly in the Ideal Cut.
The Ideal Cut: Mathematician Marcel Tolkowsky was the first to discover the exact angles to which a diamond must be cut in order to produce maximum brilliance. In an Ideal Cut, all of the light that enters the stone refracts internally from 57 precisely placed facets and disperses through the top of the diamond, producing maximum fire and brilliance. The Ideal Cut diamond remains the undisputed “king of cut” in the diamond world. If the diamond is shallow or deep, light escapes from the diamond and its brilliance is affected. This cut follows the strict proportions prescribed by Marcel Tolkowsky. Polishers at Backes & Strauss have perfected the ideal cut and are able to obtain the best cut for the maximum beauty and brilliance of the diamond.
Hearts and Arrows: The proof of Backes & Strauss’s expertise in diamond cutting is the Hearts and Arrows pattern shown by each Backes & Strauss diamond when viewed with a special instrument called ‘Hearts and Arrows viewer’. The pattern is a series of eight arrowheads when viewed from above the crown with one eye and eight heart shapes when viewed from below the pavilion. The Hearts & Arrows viewer (included in each Backes & Strauss watch box) is merciless when it comes to detecting any deviation from perfection.
Hearts and Arrows diamonds are the ultimate, most magnificent and brilliant Ideal Cut diamonds. The team of expert diamond cutters and polishers at Backes & Strauss takes extensive care to manually polish each diamond to perfection, a skill they have refined in over 200 years of the company existence. Each natural diamond is planned, cut and polished in an effort that requires hundreds of hours of meticulous work. Almost 60% of the rough diamond is lost in the achievement of the perfectly polished Backes & Strauss diamond.
Backes & Strauss, the Masters of Diamonds, joined forces with the masters of watchmaking for its watch collection. All Backes & Strauss timepieces are manufactured in the Franck Muller workshops in Switzerland.
The Franck Muller Group is renowned worldwide for its innovative spirit and technical brilliance; it is one of the remaining manufactures that conceives, produces and assembles the entirety of its watch components in Switzerland. Every element of every Backes & Strauss timepiece is produced in-house and every watch is carefully assembled by a dedicated team in the Franck Muller Watchland workshops.
DIAMOND ELEMENTS IN THE WATCH
1. Jewel in the Crown
Every Backes & Strauss watch has at least one diamond, which is set in the crown.
• A special stamping was designed in line with the diamond theme – the diamond stamping – which is unique to the Backes & Strauss dials.
• Every numeral and index is polished by hand and carefully applied to the dial paralleling the hand-polishing and setting of a diamond.
• The pyramids marking the seconds (five by five) on the dial are also reminiscent of a polished diamond.
Backes & Strauss watches draw heavily on the London heritage.
In the early 19th century, Georg Backes’ son, Johan Franz moved to London to open an operation there (1814), the British capital was already a cosmopolitan centre buzzing with activity.
Backes & Strauss creates exclusive wristwatches for both men and women. The first three collections – The Regent, The Berkeley and The Piccadilly – celebrate three landmarks of London, Regent Street, Berkeley Square and Piccadilly Circus.
Both elegant and slim, the mechanical timepieces from the Renaissance collection combine the signature look and craftsmanship of the prestigious diamond company with the understated codes of a bygone era.
Inspired by the 19th Century jewellery designs from the company’s archive collection, the Victoria Collection offers exclusive jewellery watches for ladies.
Drawing inspiration from Regent, Piccadilly and Berkeley collections, the Steel Collection offers both gent’s and ladies’ wristwatches that are highly versatile and suitable for daily wear.
In addition to the above collections, Backes & Strauss also produces highly exclusive jewellery watches under the Royal Collection, high jewellery watches in limited editions and bespoke, one-of-a-kind and master piece watches.
The House of Backes & Strauss
Founded in 1789, The House of Backes & Strauss now resides in the historic centre of London: Mayfair. The House is not only home to exquisite timepieces, but also houses the historical archives of the company. Dating back to the late 19th Century, these archives tell the enchanting tales of Backes & Strauss’ unrivalled diamond expertise, adventures and distribution to clients from Mikimoto to Cartier.
Official website: www.backesandstrauss.com
[Updated on 19 July 2018]