History of Backes & Strauss
Backes & Strauss is the world’s oldest diamond company, founded by goldsmith Georg Carl Backes in 1789 in Hanau, Germany. After many years of success, the company opened an office in London in 1814, distributing jewelry throughout Europe. Towards the end of the 19th Century, with the discovery of massive diamond mines in Southern Africa, there was a need for controlled diamond distributors. Backes & Strauss stepped up to the role and changed their business model, becoming diamond cutters and distributors.
The company’s daybooks outline its sales team’s journeys around the world, selling loose diamonds to big names such as Mikimoto, Boucheron, Bulgari, and even Jacques Cartier himself. In 2006, the company joined forces with the Franck Muller Group to begin producing timepieces with its first watch collections debuting in 2007.
Backes & Strauss’s main selection of timepieces consists of three collections, each named after London landmarks; the Berkeley, the Piccadilly, and the Regent. Every Backes & Strauss watch has at least one diamond set into the crown. This is the Backes & Strauss signature, known as the “Jewel in the Crown” and resembles the pavilion, or base, of a diamond.
Backes & Strauss was granted a Royal Warrant to make a limited series of 60 watches to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. You can see one of their Assyrian-style bracelets on display at the British Museum of London.