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The History of Reuge's Romance Mechanism

The Swiss Romance movement, otherwise called a mechanism or tune was made by Reuge.

At some time during the late 1980’s, This most respected company began production of the Romance movements. They were identical to their original mechanisms in every way except for the engraved name on the main spring housing and the wind-up key.

Their purpose was to allow other cabinet manufacturers to use the Reuge's mechanisms in their own boxes but at the same time establish a difference. The Reuge Mechanisms would be used only to install into cabinets at the Reuge factory giving a greater importance to a “Reuge Factory Finished Product.”

It may have worked well at first. But then, for a while, you couldn't trust that so called "fact" because there were so many loose original movements still available that could be placed in a "Rogue" (not Reuge) box. Today, however, no Reuge Mechanism is sold without a cabinet and the current factory finished Reuge products are made to prevent cannibalization or at the least, leave tell-tale signs of tampering.

Cases in point:
One that I have seen, was a wonderful piece, legally put together by the San Francisco Music Box Company. It was a 36 note melody encased in a crystal cabinet with ornate feet, making it somewhat reminiscent of the Reuge Dauphin crystal cabinets. So here were two names you could trust! That piece had a San Francisco Music Box Company label dated 1989 (see image).

Another company that we began representing in the 1980s was the American Music Box Company out of Tempe Arizona. I have seen their boxes with both Reuge and Romance mechanisms installed. I’m certain that they experienced the change-over impact when Reuge decided upon their prescribed course of action.

Don Caine of Music Box Repair Center, Unltd. remembers:  “I recall it caused quite a stir at the time with importers & retailers having to explain that "Reuge" & "Romance" were exactly the same movements just being made under a different brand name to differentiate between Factory finished products and those made by others who incorporated a "Romance" (Swiss made by Reuge) mechanism into their own product.” 

So ... for those of you who have been wondering …. Now you know!

If you can add exact dates to this history,  please don’t hesitate to email us at

Best Regards,

Kandi Wasser