Economists would refer to this as break-even: the tipping point at which the number of people familiar with Reuge exceeds that of those who are unaware of its existence. It must indeed be said that the discreet Reuge company, the last remaining maker of hand-crafted luxury music boxes, has an impressive set of assets to its credit: exceptional production quality, unique expertise, famous partnerships (with the likes of Ferrari, Vertu, MB&F, etc.), along with clients in the world’s most prominent circles. Reuge is intended for people well acquainted with watchmaking and who are looking for an equally prestigious field of expression.
Reunited soul sisters
Reuge has now taken a brand-new step in the shape of a brand-new collaborative endeavour with an even older historical brand: L’Epée 1839!
Such an association between these makers of music boxes and table clocks is already extremely meaningful in terms of handcrafts, marquetry and prestigious furniture.
In actual fact, the sense of kinship is even more deeply rooted, since it serves as a reminder that the two venerable Houses were in fact once associates. L’Epée was founded in 1839 as a clock and music box producer. During World War I, when the firm decided to focus on the horological side of its activity, Reuge acquired the stock of music boxes and the corresponding production tools from L’Epée. Today, some 100 years later, these two formerly related companies are renewing their ties and writing a new chapter in the history.
1+1 = 1
Once the initial idea had been agreed upon, the Reuge and L’Epée devoted a lengthy period to their joint creation. “I’m delighted that this association now seems so natural; but as with any apparently self-evident creation, it actually took a great deal of work”, says Reuge’ CEO Kurt Kupper. “While Arnaud (Editor’s note: the CEO of L’Epée 1839) and I had been discussing this project for the past two years, actually bringing it to fruition proved a stern test for our R&D departments!”
The joint creation bears a seemingly equally obvious name: Duet. This clock with a 40-hour power reserve is also a music box that is “very modern with a metallic sheen, featuring a fascinating take on transparency”, stresses Kurt Kupper, as if to emphasise that this creation is not merely a historical tribute but also about looking firmly to the future.
On a technical level, Reuge has used an entirely unprecedented process enabling it to offer a variety of tunes – of which the Duet boasts four times the traditional number of three generally afforded by a music box. The 12 tunes are divided into two Classic and Soul repertoires and the duration has also been shortened from several tens of seconds to just five or six seconds in order to chime the hours.
In concrete terms, the cylinder on which all the notes are played and which generally makes a complete turn now rotates in one-quarter increments. The main advantages are more tune and shorter ones, while requiring only a single cylinder and thereby safeguarding the Duet’s minimalist aesthetic.
From a pas de deux to a full-blown choreography
This creation will not be limited either in terms of numbers or production period. The first of these models will be delivered this autumn and distributed through the respective retail networks of Reuge and L’Epée.
Meanwhile, the dynamic and visionary Kurt Kupper readily shares that the Duet has opened up whole new vistas. “Arnaud and I are looking into various new projects”, admits the new CEO. “The mechanical technology we have developed for the Duet will also be used in other creations.” When questioned further as to what they might be, he sidesteps the issue with a broad smile: “You’ll be finding out soon. I have to go now, I’ve got an appointment with Max.” (editor’s note: Maximilien Büsser. Looks like Reuge is definitely on a roll…