A flying visit to the WPHH in Monaco

The World Premiere of Haute Horlogerie and Jewels or WPHH opened its doors Friday 30th September for a long weekend of showcasing the Franck Muller Group's extravagant horological and jewel offerings. I went to see Backes & Strauss' diamond watches.

Backes & Strauss Regent Princess in rose gold with almost 23 carats of ideal cut diamonds.

The World Premiere of Haute Horlogerie and Jewels or WPHH opened its doors Friday 30th September for a long weekend of showcasing the Franck Muller Group's extravagant horological and jewel offerings. I went to see Backes & Strauss' diamond watches. The sun was shining as I cruised into Monte Carlo in a new Mercedes Benz S-Class hybrid. We pulled up outside the Grimaldi Forum where the 2011 WPHH&J (World Premiere of Haute Horlogerie and Jewellery) was about to open its doors to wealthy watch and jewellery lovers from around the world. The show is now in its third year and is organised by the Franck Muller Group of watch and jewellery companies, including Backes & Strauss. The sea-front venue is a showcase to the world  for the dozen companies of the group. I spent time with Backes & Strauss to see their collection of new diamond watches. As the oldest jewellery company in the world, Backes & Strauss combines the horological know-how of the Franck Muller group with its unique diamond heritage. The result is a wide selection of diamond watches that would not leave the most stringent diamond connoisseur disappointed. The diamonds used are all top quality grades and the ideal-cut diamond is one of the specialities of this house. The ideal cut brings more light and fire into the diamond as the cut is more precise than the usual facets cut into diamonds. The process takes longer than a normal cut and polishing process and the diamond cutter must be skilled in this precision-process. More of the diamond is lost but the result is a stone with a mesmerising dance of fire and light. Look into the depths of an ideal cut and a kaleidoscope pattern of  'hearts and arrows' in a ring will appear before your eyes. The star of the line up of watches inspired by the grace of London's Regency architecture is the Princess Regent. Set with almost 23 carats of ideal-cut diamonds in rose gold, the articulated bracelet watch drapes comfortably around the wrist. Should be lithe of limb, the bracelet can be made smaller and the extra links made into a pair of earrings or even a pendant. Other sparkling delights include the Brummell, named for the London Dandy, who brought us tantalising dress style of closely fitting men's suits combined with elaborately-knotted cravats. The watch is made of lightweight titanium and set with a shimmering array of diamonds. The blue titanium diamond-set numerals shine out light stars on a velvety sky. More pictures and a video to follow, but wanted to share with you my first impressions of this very civilised watch show, with a back-drop of yachts bobbing in the Mediterranean.

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