November 28, 2013
by Ariel Adams
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.
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.