Reuge: The ultimate music makers
Way back when, a tiny Swiss village called Sainte-Croix became renowned as the home of the music box. It all began in 1865 when Charles Reuge created the world's first music pocket watch. Twenty years later, his son Albert chose to continue his father's work, opening up a music box workshop that produced audio bits (the engines that power the mechanically-created audio) as well as the finest music boxes in the world. Over the years, Reuge musical movements were placed inside all sorts of things – including makeup powder compartments and lighters.
In the 1930s, Reuge was known as a pioneer of the mechanical music industry and became the first factory to acquire competitors to supply the demand. Under Guido Reuge, the grandson of Charles, the brand launched its 'singing birds' concept; featuring mechanical birds that would 'fly' around inside a music box, expressing a variety of melodies.
While the music box may have lost some of its lustre – given the prevalence of iPods and iPhones – Reuge not only manages to survive but thrive among its digital competitors. Its music boxes now play a variety of tunes (of the modern-day variety, not just simple two-note melodies) and are placed into a variety of eye-catching designs. Music Machine 3 – for example – was put together in partnership with watch atelier MB&F and looks like a space ship. It plays the theme tunes from Star Wars, Mission Impossible and James Bond.
Today, Reuge is known as a true master of mechanical music and produces high-end music boxes for high-end watch collectors, dignitaries and celebrities. In 2015, King Salman of Saudi Arabia presented a bespoke box to then President Barack Obama. Reuge continues to produce ultra-luxurious music boxes for several other royal families in the region, as well as the British Royal Family and several ambassadors to the United Nations.
You can see a selection of Reuge music boxes – along with other marvels of mechanical engineering – at Dubai Watch Week 2017. Under the Patronage of Shaikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Chairman of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, Dubai Watch Week returns for a third consecutive year in November 2017. Organized by Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons in partnership with the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), The five day cultural and educational event will once again host key industry spokespeople and the leading names in the world of horology.