Word of the fame of the village of Sainte-Croix as the epicentre of the nascent music box industry reached Charles Reuge. Fascinated, he promptly decided to move there and establish his first musical pocket-watch shop. A true pioneer, Reuge soon started developing cutting-edge mechanical pieces by incorporating a musical cylinder and a miniature comb into a watch movement. These watches were just the beginning. The Reuge family‘s days of distinction were far from over. Did you know? In 1870, a German inventor created the disc music box, which allowed for the tune to be changed more easily and frequently. In 1877 the phonograph was invented by Thomas Edison.
Enthused with the same passion and love for mechanical music pieces as his father, Albert Reuge opened a music box workshop in Sainte-Croix. He rapidly converted the family’s workshop into a small factory, producing cutting-edge music pieces. At the forefront of the mechanical music industry, Reuge’s musical movements took over even the most unlikely objects, such as powder compacts and cigarette lighters. Did you know? The last quarter of the 19th century experienced an unprecedented boom in mechanical music, aided by the coming of the railway to Sainte-Croix. Many Sainte-Croix brands exhibited at the Paris (1867), Philadelphia (1876) and Antwerp (1885) Universal Exhibitions.
A dynasty dedicated to luxury mechanical music pieces was born, guided by Guido Reuge for over sixty years. Guido became the driving force behind the business. Intuitive, innovative and avant-gardist, he built the historic factory in Sainte-Croix in 1930 and acquires several competitor companies, bringing real added-value to Reuge. His vision, energy and artistry brought credibility and respect to the mechanical music industry. Did you know? The competition of phonographs strongly destabilized the music box industry in the beginning of the 20th century. The difficulties arising from the 1929 economic crisis led to a division of the music box market, with one segment comprising the small movements primarily fitted in bottom-range toys, and the other, the large cartel movements fitted in luxury pieces.
Aware of the need for diversification, Reuge worked tirelessly to revive other luxury mechanical pieces. In 1960 he took over the manufacturing and marketing of mechanical singing birds by acquiring Bontems firm in Paris, then in Eschle in 1977. The Reuge brands was growing yet keeping its avant-gardist spirit. Having built-up skills and leadership, Reuge now focused on developing many new melodies and a wealth of tunes that set it apart from its competitors. Did you know? American soldiers returning home after the Second World War were the unwitting creators of a real trend by bringing music boxes back in their luggage, a symbol of victory and a new life about to begin. Thus, it was then that a keen interest developed for the little Swiss musical movements from the other side of the Atlantic that were fitted into all sorts of products.
After over 150 years of dedication and cutting-edge innovation, Reuge has established itself as the only true master in the art of mechanical music. Tradition, quality, exclusivity, avant-garde, creativity: it is this unwavering philosophy that allowed Reuge to remain modern and current. Even when the mp3 player was developed, the world’s passion for Reuge’s luxury mechanical pieces remained intact and endured thanks to modern design. Today, Reuge’s ambitious challenge is to continuously keep music automatons into the spotlight with luxurious and exclusive musical gifts.