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About Backes & Strauss

Heritage

THE OLDEST DIAMOND DEALERS IN THE WORLD

Backes & Strauss launched an exclusive watch brand, creating masterpieces in the workshops of Franck Muller Watchland

Marriage with such an expert watchmaker produces the most elegant timepieces featuring diamonds of the finest quality custom cut into unique shapes, polished and then hand set to perfection.

Drawing on our history & heritage with the outstanding skill of our craftsmen and master polishers, Backes & Strauss are able to offer endless possibilities in creating the ultimate diamond watch.

LONDON AS THE KEY SOURCE OF INSPIRATION

Backes & Strauss watches draw heavily on the London heritage. In the early 19th century, when Georg Backes established his company in London, the British capital was already a cosmopolitan centre buzzing with activity. The Backes & Strauss family followed with interest the advances in technology and transportation that allowed the expansion of the British Empire.

 

History

1789 Creation of Backes & Strauss. 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.

1814 Backes & Strauss in London. Even though the building no longer exists, the Backes and Strauss group still has offices in London on Jermyn Street - Mayfair.

1819 Georges Carl, founder dies and the company's name changes to J.F. Backes & Co. Jewellery Manufacturing begins in London to add to the production in Hanau and Paris. 

1851 Johann Franz's sons Charles and William join the company

1851 Backes & Strauss Jewellery masterpieces presented at The Great Exhibition of All Nations. The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations or The Great Exhibition, sometimes referred to as the Crystal Palace Exhibition in reference to the temporary structure in which it was held, was an international exhibition that took place in Hyde Park, London, from 1 May to 15 October 1851. It was the first in a series of World's Fair exhibitions of culture and industry that were to become a popular 19th-century feature. The Great Exhibition was organized by Henry Cole and Prince Albert, the spouse of the reigning monarch, Queen Victoria.

1856 Max Strauss joins the company. Max Strauss, the second founding father, entered the London office in 1856. Fifteen years later he was managing JF Backes & Co and two years later the company started trading as Backes and Strauss.

1870 J.F. Backes & Co set up subsidiary office in Toronto, Canada

1871 Max Strauss becomes Managing Director of the company

1873 Max Strauss becomes a partner and the company starts operating as Backes & Strauss

1878 Official Registration of the Backes & Strauss Hallmark. The Backes & Strauss hallmark was officially registered in London’s Goldsmiths’ Hall in 1878.

1888 Commercial quantities of diamonds discovered in Southern Africa by Londoners Cecil Rhodes and Barney Barnato. Company transitions from jewellery manufacturer exclusively to diamond polishing and manufacturing.

1890 Charles Backes dies. Ben, Albert and Franck Strauss start travelling extensively establishing business relationships all over the world. Archives show clients in the USA, Canada, Western and Central Europe, Egypt, India and in the near and far East. 

1903 Max Strauss dies and is succeeded by eldest son Albert

1904 Backes & Strauss worldwide expansion. Towards the turn of the century, Mr. Ben and Mr. Frank Strauss travel extensively establishing business relationships and promoting Backes & Strauss in Alexandria, Vienna, Rome, Bucharest, Paris, Japan, Singapore and India.

1915 Albert Strauss changes family name to Stroud

1928 Albert’s son Gerald joins the business and is trained in Amsterdam and Antwerp

1929-1932 Great depression severely curtails business activities resulting in the closure of the Canadian office

1946 Having survived the depression and WWII, Gerald Stroud starts building Backes & Strauss, London as a limited company

1953 Creation of the Antwerp Office. Antwerp office is founded by Gerald Stroud under the direction of Robert Lee and Gustave Ponet

1957 Backes & Strauss sets up an office in Melbourne, Australia.

1966 Stroud (Strauss) family sells Backes & Strauss to Mr. Benjamin Bonas, fourth generation of the Bonas family, part of the original South African Syndicate.

1972 Gerald Stroud retires and is succeeded by Denis Fay. Robert Lee leads overseas operations out of Antwerp

1976 Vartkess Knadjian joins Backes & Strauss

1976-1980 Growth leads to openings in Paris, Houston, Los Angeles, Sidney and Toronto

1980 Backes & Strauss carries on expanding rapidly. Offices are opened in Paris, Houston and Sydney; the Toronto office is re-opened.

1982 Management changes in Antwerp Office. Robert Lee, the former Managing Director, retires and Vartkess Knadjian takes over the reigns of the Antwerp office.

2000 Vartkess Knadjian becomes the group CEO.

2003 Vartkess Knadjian leads management buyout of Backes & Strauss from the Bonas family

2004 Backes & Strauss sets up offices in Dubai, Shanghai and Mumbai, as they were becoming major diamond trading centres in the world.

2006 The Meeting of Masters. Backes & Strauss gets into strategic tie-up with the Franck Muller Group and launches its flagship collection of Regent, Berkeley & Piccadilly watches in November 2006.

2007 Backes & Strauss timepieces first showcase. Backes & Strauss showcases its watch collection for the first time at WPHH. Retail launches in Harrods, Asprey and Theo Fennel in London. Subsequent launches in USA, Japan, Italy, Canada and France

2007 The Prince Regent

2008 The Royal Berkeley

2009 The Royal Regent

2010 The Berkeley Imperial

2011 The Princess Collection

2012 Backes & Strauss granted royal warrant to use Her Majesty’s Royal Cypher making a limited edition watch to mark the Diamond Jubilee

2012 Launch of the Regent Diamond Jubilee watch at Harrods, London. The Diamond Jubilee Collection is aptly a Regent, designed, crafted and inspired by our Diamond Queen, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 1952 – 2012, in celebration of her 60 year reign.

2013 Backes & Strauss forms partnership with English National Ballet. Tamara Rojo, Creative Director and Prima Ballerina becomes Victoria Collection Brand Ambassador

2013 Red Rose and Blue Velvet

2014 Backes & Strauss celebrates 225 years since it was founded and 200 years of presence in London by crafting the Piccadilly Princess Royal Colours

2014 Partnership with William Goldberg, legendary Manhattan diamond dealer, creating the Royal Ashoka Empress

2014 Launch of the Harrods Princess made exclusively for Harrods using ethically-sourced Zambian emeralds from Gemfields

2015 Regent Beau Brummell Tourbillon Pocket Watch

2015 The House of Backes & Strauss opens on Grosvenor Street in London

Craftmanship

MEETING OF MASTERS

There are many satisfying parallels between the master diamond cutter and the master watchmaker,

These parallels are apparent in our watches. On the outside, the face and case evoke the geometric symmetry of the ideal cut. On the inside, the handcrafted movements are often described as jewel-like. The simile is perfect. Not only do our movements have a jewel's brilliance and complex perfection, but the intricate workings and the interplay of one piece on the next are suggestive of the way light moves within our diamonds.

OUR MOVEMENTS

Backes & Strauss is honoured to be the partner of the Franck Muller company, the Master of Complications that shared with us the passion of creating unique and high-quality timepieces. Franck Muller is internationally acknowledged for being one of the best in-house movement manufacturer in the world of watchmaking. We share the same value about what a Backes & Strauss movement has to be. It need to perfectly seize the unseizable: the perfect time.

Creating a timeless icon is the aim of the Backes & Strauss designers. With their designs, they must evoke emotions and show respect to the incredible Franck Muller movement themselves.

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