At the Heart of a British Luxury Brand
The House of Backes & Strauss, London
Located at 22 Grosvenor Street is the House of Backes & Strauss, a private London flagship that’s a diamond’s throw away from the city’s luxury mile of Bond Street. Such an address gives the house a unique feel: rather than being sandwiched among other luxury watch and jewellery brands, Backes & Strauss is discreetly mixed in with an eclectic group of neighbours – an artisan coffee shop, a sprinkling of contemporary art galleries and asset management firms – with the actual building marked by a prestigious English Heritage blue plaque (the film producer Sir Alexander Korda penned theatre plays here from 1932-1936).
Iconic Watch Brand in History
Inside, the space is just as historic. Set over two floors, the flagship’s first level is a showroom for all the watchmaker’s collections, while the lower ground floor houses the archives. Here, in a lush, lounge-like setting with deep and inviting sofas, one can seriously get lost in Backes & Strauss’s rich 230-year history. Numerous, leather bound catalogues are all available to browse, such as one from 1886 with illustrations of stunning bejewelled bangles and watches, set with “fine brilliants” and "Oriental pearls”. Or finger through the many historic ledgers, which read like a Who’s Who of jewellery history, documented in swirling, handwritten text: Tiffany & Co’s order from January 31, 1923; Bulgari, March 29, 1924; Jacques Cartier, May 2, 1928; Chaumet, March 15, 1928.
Backes & Strauss’s Concept of Luxury
“The idea is when someone comes to London from China, Hong Kong or America, that we are physically here,” explains Vartkess Knadjian, Backes & Strauss CEO. “Clients have access to this lounge and they can feel what Backes & Strauss is all about.” The dark and moody colour palette is a welcome contrast to what you’d find on Bond Street – ie white marble, tons of glass and beige – and the space romantically embodies a bygone era.
A Personal and Homely Atmosphere
The lounge can also be turned into an intimate entertaining space, which it was recently for a private lunch with His Royal Highness, Prince Michael of Kent, with whom Backes & Strauss has recently formed a partnership. “You can of course take clients to the finest restaurants, but people love that little extra attention and something special,” said Mr Knadjian. “The atmosphere is truly personal and homely.”