Heritage

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 expansion in Dubai, Mumbai & Shanghai

    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.
    Image: Vartkess Knadjian, Backes 6 Strauss CEO & Vartan Sirmakes, Franck Muller Ceo

  • 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