History

Home / The Ateliers  / History

1865
Sainte-Croix village was the renowned centre of the nascent music box industry.
It was this village – whose fame had travelled far and wide – that Charles Reuge discovered in 1865, when he established his first musical pocket-watch shop in Sainte-Croix.
A pioneer, he managed to incorporate 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.

1886
In 1886, fired up with the same enthusiasm 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 music pieces.
At the forefront of the mechanical music industry, Reuge musical movements were included in 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.

1930
A dynasty dedicated to mechanical music was born and was guided by Guido Reuge for more than sixty years.
He was the driving force behind the business. Intuitive, innovative and pioneering, he built the historic factory in Sainte-Croix in 1930 and acquired several competitor companies, bringing real added-value to Reuge.
Thanks to his vision, energy and artistry, he restored credibility to the vocation of music makers.
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.

1960
A major step towards diversification:
Reuge decided to work tirelessly to revive the singing birds and took over the manufacture and marketing of mechanical singing birds of Bontems firm in Paris in 1960 and Eschle in 1977.
The Reuge Manufacture built-up its skills and leadership by developing many new melodies and a wealth of tunes that distinguished Reuge 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.

Today
Today, Reuge is the only true master of mechanical music; an Art that Reuge has resolutely guided into the 21st century.
When the mp3 player was developed, passion for luxury mechanical objects remained intact and endured. Ultimately, it was modern design that was to be the source of their renewed lease on life.
The philosophy of Reuge can be summarized in a few words:
tradition – quality – exclusivity – modernity – creativity
Reuge’s ambitious challenge is to thrust the music box back into the spotlight with luxurious and exclusive musical gifts.
Preserving the magic