MB&F MusicMachine By Reuge Hands-On: The $13,000 Music Box

MB&F MusicMachine By Reuge Hands-On: The $13,000 Music Box

MB&F MusicMachine By Reuge Hands On: The $13,000 Music Box   luxury items

Earlier in 2013, MB&F announced its first non-watch item, the MusicMachine produced in collaboration with the last remaining music box maker in Switzerland, Reuge. Anyone who has been around the watch circuit knows about Reuge because their products often appear at watch trade shows and in some high-end watch stores. Together with Reuge, MB&F released a space-themed music box (without the actual box) that played such classic romantic songs such as the theme from Star Wars (by John Williams) and Smoke on the Water (by Deep Purple). I know I get teary-eyed with nostalgia when I hear those.

aBlogtoWatch debuted the MB&F MusicMachine here in April. It was rather surprising actually since it was not only unexpected but also outside their normal product release schedule. It was a sort of "extra" product that came out of nowhere. The implications of the MusicMachine are actually quite interesting for the overall MB&F brand, that is growing much larger than founder Max Busser ever promised to himself. Coming from a stressful time in the larger corporate luxury world, he vowed to keep his own brand small, manageable and focused. The brand continues to grow with products he never anticipated such as the classically inspired Legacy Machines (distinct from their Horological Machines), a public store at the MB&F MAD Gallery, and now products that aren't even watches or worn at all. It is possible that the theme of the brand will continue to grow, which is really about combining the world of mechanics and art.

MB&F MusicMachine By Reuge Hands On: The $13,000 Music Box   luxury items

MB&F MusicMachine By Reuge Hands On: The $13,000 Music Box   luxury items

The MusicMachine is a music box-style artistic sculpture shaped like a spaceship. The base is produced from walnut wood and covered in a piano lacquer-style finishing. Wood is necessary because it assists with the transmission of the sound. The music player itself is of course mechanical, and wound up like a watch. The propellers on top of the unit are used to wind it up. There are double air regulators on each side that spin when the unit is working that help ensure a consistent tempo for the music. The "legs" of the unit are in aluminum.

Each MusicMachine plays snippets ("extracts") from four songs. I already mentioned Deep Purple and Star Wars above, but it also plays part of the theme from Star Trek and Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall. Putting on my lawyer's hat, for a number of reasons I don't think any copyright issues come in to effect given the unique composition of the songs and the overall amount used. Just needed to mention that.

MB&F MusicMachine By Reuge Hands On: The $13,000 Music Box   luxury items

22 comments
Ayreonaut
Ayreonaut

You could buy a baby grand player piano with that money and have real music in your home.

ConorMcCorry
ConorMcCorry

It's so beautiful but I would feel embarrassed having songs like that playing on it! It would have to be something grand like Mozart of Bach. Star Wars just makes it feel a little cheap. 

D S Vilhena
D S Vilhena

Reminds my childhood and my grandma's music box. Good memories. Thanks for the article.

aworon
aworon

eh, I really think there should be more to it.  not very interesting, but then again music boxes aren't my thing

spiceballs
spiceballs

I grew up listening to my mothers musical jewelry boxes - when I was allowed  I appreciated these small wind-up music players, especially when my grandmother showed me her player piano (pianola) based on the same principle.  Now this - a modernized miniature mechanical music marvel by MB&F.  Many thanks Ariel.

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

It's a piece of art.  I'd like it if you could choose what tunes were on it though.  It's a strange juxtaposition hearing the Imperial March played via such a gentle instrument.  Maybe this is what they played to Anakin Skywalker when he was in his nursery room.

vmarks
vmarks

The MB&F Music Machine is the modern day equivalent of the Jaquet Droz automata. There's no practical value, but it showcases the expertise and attention to quality that MB&F put into the Horological and Legacy collection.

The owner isn't using this as their only source of music or entertainment, but it is marvelous to look at, to ponder the mechanicals, to appreciate the precision with which it was made. 

ZL
ZL

You can put it on your wrist? No. was thinking, simply, "not interested." But then I thought: If there was some super rich genius inventor, and I was at his house, and he said, "Check out this thing that looks like a spaceship. It's a music box. It cost $12K Swiss Francs. In that situation, I would be like, "that's friggin awesome!"

Frauss
Frauss

More junk for people with too much money.

LapYoda
LapYoda

With creations like this, it's impossible for me to not love MB&F.  It's unexpected, yet not out of character with the brand, particularly with the science fiction influences.  Heck, even the watches have the Star Trek movie font printed on them.  It's another great offering that pushes all the right buttons (spaceships, nostalgia, music) for me.

SN0WKRASH
SN0WKRASH moderator

I want this so much it hurts

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

You ask how many people have a music box. Well, I have a large one (floor standing) which I inherited  from my mother and grandmother. Its about a hundred  years old and plays large (flat) metal records. Not fixed cylinders like the MB&F. I have about 20 records with old time music on them. And yes, the music box (a Mira) was either made in Switzerland or was licensed by Mira and built in the U.S. as best I can tell.

JonnyD
JonnyD

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone Stateside!

I recall my grandmother having a small music box with a dancing ballerina, as a child. I think a lot of people have similar memories from their childhood and thus have a soft-spot for these rather nostalgia inducing little machines. Lovely timbre to the MB&F in a very modern and sleek casing.

vmarks
vmarks

@MarkCarson Have you given any thought to 3D printing some new platters for your music box? There's no technical reason they have to be made out of metal, although 3D printed ones might wear out more quickly.


I think it'd be entertaining to put on a platter of music that's more recent following the platters you inherited.

aworon
aworon

 @MarkCarson @aworon I was thinking a synchronized pyrotechnics display, but sure glue a few of those on too

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@vmarks The music box records have to be made from metal or something equally strong. The 3/4 punched down teeth are what strike the 'gongs' which are arrayed in a plate. So 3D printing (which is plastic) would not work very well. The gongs would just tear off the plastic teeth.

But thanks for the idea. I too would like some more current music. Then again the songs are a good match for the music box itself (all antique). Cheers.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@DG Cayse @MarkCarson @vmarks Innagadadavida (Iron Butterfly), Whole Lotta Love (Led Zepplein), Eruption (Van Halen) - lots of choices. All of which are too long for the records on my music box or the MB&F one.