Time Zone

The Making of the Royal Berkeley Emperor Tourbillon


Vartkess Knadjian wanted to create a unique and exceptional collection of 5 bespoke skeleton tourbillon timepieces.


Sketches were taken to the horological department who assessed how to bring to life these timepieces for Backes & Strauss.


Here the technical design was composed. This is where all techniques required are assessed and measured precisely.


By way of a 3D printer, a prototype of the timepiece was created. Once the prototype was approved by Vartkess and his team, its production was put into motion.

Diamond Sourcing

Vartkess then coordinated everything related to diamonds: hand selecting, assessing how they will each be individually set, buying from different sources across the globe.

Diamond Polishing

Varying teams of diamond polishers then began the polishing process, ensuring that every accurate measurement of the diamonds was perfected and respected.

Sourcing Gold

The gold was then ordered from the refinery. For the case, a block of gold was required to shape and carve according to technical drawings by a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine. The CNC machine requires a technical team to program to exact measurements. For the bracelet, bars of gold were required for the goldsmith to create lines of gold for the setting of the diamonds which were then linked together by hand.

Preparing the Case

Meanwhile the precisely measured crystal glass for the back and front was ordered.

Diamond Setting

Various teams of dedicated diamond setters worked on the setting of the timepiece: the inner case, the case, the bridge. The most important and difficult setting was that of the 60 baguettes on the bridge holding the movement to the case. These are not straight line baguettes but rather tapered baguettes cut to extreme precision with supreme care. Any damage could affect the functioning of the watch. This process was repeated for the front and back.

Final Timepiece

After hundreds of hours of skill and unwavering precision, passing through the hands of most highly skilled craftsmen, the Royal Berkeley Emperor Tourbillon joined the pantheon of Backes & Strauss Masterpieces.