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Timekeepers Club / April 17, 2023

S by Salanitro Presents An Haute Couture Backgammon With Diamonds

Today, S by Salanitro steps into the light. A new Swiss brand that sets itself apart by creating exceptional objects, by designing, producing and illuminating unexpected objects, with a strong and unique identity — in the world of luxury.

To make objects sparkle, glow, radiate, dazzle, and, depending on the object, to light a fire within…the sources of inspiration, the possibilities beyond the realm of watchmaking are infinite!

Precious stones, colored stones. Grain setting, snow setting, baguette setting, invisible setting. Refined decorations, sophisticated techniques… with a savoir-faire that sublimates the timepieces made by the greatest watch brands, Salanitro is today an internationally recognized label of quality, trust and creativity level in the field of horological gem-setting.

Pierre Salanitro, founder of the eponymous firm, has built a business in Geneva, Switzerland, today a leader in its field, originating some the most beautiful and exclusive watch and jewelry creations for the most prestigious brands in the world.

For more than thirty years, Pierre Salanitro has consistently lived up to the highest standards of craftsmanship, respect for tradition and innovation, service and a sense of responsibility towards his clientele, combined with confident independence and a strong family spirit. He is first and foremost driven by a relentless desire to create, to renew himself and to explore uncharted territories.

An Haute Couture backgammon set with black diamonds and blue sapphires

Synonymous with savoir-vivre, backgammon is both a tactical game and a pleasant pastime. Pierre Salanitro proposes a unique object, made from Swiss wood species and manufactured in an uncompromising Haute Couture spirit. 

Backgammon is played on a board showing 24 arrows or wedges, also called points, of alternating colors. The alternating colors serve to facilitate counting when moving the checkers. Each of the two players has 15 checkers of a specific color that he moves from arrow to arrow according to the roll of two dice. The game board is made of leather and wood, both patinaed to offer the best quality of play. Opening this luxurious box reveals an incredible work of art.

Truly unique, this luxury backgammon with its elegant design and the exceptional quality of its materials is handcrafted in Switzerland by the best craftsmen, masters of their art, with the greatest attention to detail. For the finishing touch, Pierre Salanitro has availed himself of the best sheath makers and leather craftspeople.

The brand’s signature is in the detail: the checkers are set with black diamonds or blue sapphires along their periphery, as are the 24 points (the wedges) on the board. The dice cup, entirely finished in anthracite leather, bears the S by Salanitro logo; finally, the doubling cube is set with 137 black diamonds that make up the number on each side.

Thirty checkers (15 in vibrant blue and 15 in anthracite) and two dice accompany the board, which is also made of noble materials. A third, larger die, called the cube, is a 6-sided die with the powers of 2, i.e. 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64. It is used to raise the stakes of the game in progress. At the beginning of each game, the cube is said to be in the center, i.e. equidistant from the two players, on the bar or on the side of the board; this means that the stake of the game is one point. As long as the cube remains in the center, each player can access it. To raise the stakes of a game, a player must wait for their turn and double before rolling the dice: the cube is presented to the opponent with the top side showing the value, starting with 2, and saying "I double" (depending on the language spoken).

S by Salanitro plans to introduce 10 new backgammon sets per year; naturally the bespoke service will be available to the discerning particular wish. A personality is defined by the objects it collects and there is no doubt that this precious object is an exceptional gift, one to be passed down to future generations.

Backgammon, between authenticity and modernity

Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia or India? The origins of this game may be mysterious, but it is as popular as ever. Legend has it that emissaries of a Hindu dynasty were sent to Persia with a chess set to test the latter people’s intellectual abilities.

Not only did the Persians figure out how to play the game, they sent the emissaries back with a game of their own – whose object and rules, the legend goes on to say, took twelve years to elucidate.

Backgammon was born! Very quickly, this game became popular in several countries under different names: diagramismosfor the Greeks, tavla for the Turks, tablero in Spain, tavola reale in Italy, and tric-trac for the French, most probably because of the sounds produced by moving the stones quickly up and down the wedges, often hitting the wooden casing. It was the English who called it backgammon.

In addition to being a tactical game, some populations ascribe a symbolic and mystical character to it. Persian astrologers of the 3rd century BCE predicted the fate of rulers through backgammon. The board represents the sky, while the movements of the stars are reflected in the movements of the stones.

Several Roman emperors are said to have been great adepts: Claudius supposedly dedicated a book to it, Nero and Commodus have gambled away fortunes, Zeno is said to have written an epigram about his repeated failures at the game, and two murals in Pompeii depict scenes from the game. The spread of backgammon throughout Europe and the Middle East occurred simultaneously with the return from the Crusades in the 12th century. The game was very popular in aristocratic circles and was known as royal tables.

A thousand-year-old game of chance

Backgammon is a game of luck and strategy for two players, requiring each to roll a pair of dice to move their stones (or checkers) around a board according to a set of rules. The object is to get all the checkers in one place and then remove them from the board. The first to ‘bear out’ all of their checkers wins.

Backgammon is a footrace, a delicate balance between risk-taking and caution. The double preoccupation of advancing one’s checkers as quickly as possible, while slowing down the opponent’s progress, brings to the game this richness of attitudes and techniques, allowing intrepid players, as well as the cautious or calculating sort, to express themselves and take great pleasure in it. With each roll of the dice, players must choose from a variety of options to move their checkers, anticipate their opponent's re-actions. Players can raise the stakes during the game. As in chess, there is a repertoire of basic tactics and openings.

The objective of a backgammon game is to get all your checkers off the board. At the beginning of the game, the checkers are placed on the board in a prescribed manner. They must be moved in a certain direction, according to the dice roll. On their way out, they may be blocked by the opponent's pieces. Relaxation, concentration and self-confidence are all qualities that allow one to better manage the surge of adrenaline generated by your opponent's game.

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