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Backes & Strauss

Watch Review: Backes and Strauss

By Justin Bullock on 25th February 2015

Backes & Strauss watch review by horology expert Kevin Reynolds

There was a time when the thought of diamonds on a watch I was wearing would of sent me running for the hills. Not anymore thanks to Backes & Strauss.

This brand has taken the art of designing watches with diamonds to a whole new level, adding a touch of class that has always seemed to elude the niche area these watches inhabit.

The watches are made by Swiss based veteran watchmakers Franck Muller, ensuring the quality of the build. Some of the pieces almost follow the cintre curvex case that Franck Muller are so famous for. Some will say ‘but the group produce a large percentage of their range that are available with Diamonds’ and whilst this is a valid observation, it’s key to note that Backes & Strauss (the oldest diamond dealers in the world) watches use the stones as the main focus of the time piece, which sets them apart from other similar products.

All diamonds are hand set on the watches and are what is called an ‘Ideal cut’. The clarity is exceptional, being rare Flawless /VVS with a near perfect F colour. The proof of their diamond cutting is in the Hearts and Arrows pattern when viewed by what they call a ‘Hearts and Arrows viewer’. Viewing the diamond from certain angles reveals the pattern of authenticity; a series of eight arrowheads when viewed from the crown of the stone with one eye, and eight heart shapes when viewed from the pavilion.

They say that nearly 50% of the rough diamond is lost when polishing the perfect Backes and Strauss diamond. Established in 1789 the company is steeped in history known for an outstanding skill of craftsmen and master polishers. Proof of the craftsmanship comes in the form of the Berkeley Imperial which is set with 48 natural fancy lime diamonds and 48 white diamonds, with another 44 on the case and one fancy lime on the crown.

The magnificent Prince Regent time piece

One of the pieces that is particularly special is the Prince Regent, a piece that carries 141 Diamonds and total carat weight of 25.21. It’s currently a one off and valued at over £3,000,000 and is a mastery of diamond and watch design. I love the Piccadilly range for its refined look, plus the fact that depending which piece you choose can be worn daily without creating too much fuss (besides the odd admiring glance perhaps!) I love this brand, and with the current financial climate as it is, choosing which time piece to invest in can be a difficult one.

With the quality of stones in all Backes & Strauss watches I don’t think it’s a bad investment, and as the brand are not making huge numbers they sit at the top of my watch portfolio.

You need to love the watch you wear, so if you can wear your investment, in my opinion, life is perfect.

Kevin Reynolds is the horology expert at Monaco Diamonds and Watches.