Personalisation may feel more commonplace than ever these days—everyone seems to have an embossed iPhone case or Goyard tote, and meddle with another’s Spotify or Netflix playlist at their own peril. Watches too, are now objects of self-expression, with engraved case backs now giving way to personalised internal bridges and mainplates.

For the London-based high jewellery watchmaker Backes & Strauss, however, bespoke has always meant something more rarefied and unique. As the world’s oldest diamond company with its 230-year history, Backes & Strauss recalls a bygone era when kings and queens set the bar for what was true luxury. From a sumptuous gem-set parure wedding gift, to a painstakingly enamelled, singing bird automaton clock, it was monarchs who commissioned the most exquisite works of art—seeking out top masters from lands far and wide.

Backes & Strauss still embraces this notion of bespoke, today. Just consider two of its timepieces, commissioned by CEO Vartkess Knadjian: the Royal Berkeley Emperor Tourbillon is a feat both inside and out, thanks to a custom made skeleton movement paired with over 1,000 hand selected, cut and polished diamonds.

Image courtesy of Backes & Strauss

Meanwhile, the dazzling Piccadilly Princess Royal Colours took months to perfect, as 225 stones were individually sourced and colour-matched.

Image courtesy of Backes & Strauss

These two pieces are only a starting point for what Backes & Strauss can create for select customers. Clients tap into two centuries of diamond know-how, but also some very cool 21st century tech.

Can’t envision how your individual watch will look and feel?

3D printers are on hand to produce physical prototypes that you can strap on and test.

Worried that your bespoke case won’t quite fit with the rest of your watch?

Computer numerical control machines ingeniously shape and carve gold, making sure everything fits to a tee.

Not that the human touch is lacking. Backes & Strauss’s bespoke service kicks off with a face-to-face visit at the House of Backes & Strauss in Mayfair, London—where you can bounce off your wildest design ideas with experts.

Image courtesy of Backes & Strauss

Regular production updates then follow—including, say, progress on tracking down that super rare blue diamond which will make your masterpiece yours, and only yours.

Finally, a presentation ceremony—complete with a book detailing each step—tops off the whole journey.

Unique in its broad international coverage of both arts and cultural events, Arts & Collections covers fine art from antiquity to modern times, auction records, a special sale preview by Sotheby’s, as well as market trends that inform collectors of the world’s finest items.

© 2020 Arts & Collections - All Rights Reserved