Antique Swiss Chalet Sublime Harmony Music Box by Bremond (?), c. 1880
A scarce Swiss chalet music box with an 8 day striking clock and sublime harmony musical movement probably made by Bremond of Geneva, Switzerland in c.1880.
This large and impressive box has a sublime harmony format musical movement playing on two combs, giving the music a very pleasant and complex sound. It plays 7 operatic well known tunes including Carmen, Roses From The South and Last Rose of The Summer, as listed on the replacement tunesheet that is mounted on the rear panel of the case. The first tune plays twice.
The three storey chalet has an amazing amount of carving and fretwork including a water trough, dog kennel in a wood piece, glazed windows two sets of staircases, balcony and two lean-to extensions. The shingle roof is weighed down with rocks and poles.
There are two knobs at the front of the case. The right hand one when pulled towards the front plays the music, playing one tune at a time. The left hand knob when pulled towards the front changes tunes automatically, when turned towards the back it repeats the last tune played. The musical movement is wound by a key on the right hand side.
The music box also has an 8 day clock which strikes on a gong every hour. The clock will also play the music every hour if desired – this can be controlled using a key on one of the holes in the front of the clock. The 3rd winding hole underneath the clock dial is to play or silence the music. When the key is turned to the right the music will play every hour. When the key is turned to the left the music will not play. The music usually plays 1 or 2 minutes after the hour in order not to clash with the hourly striking. The back wood panel (replaced) gives easy access to the rear of the clock in order to connect the pendulum.
Both the clock and musical movements have been professionally restored, although it should be noted that the mechanical elements of this music box are complex and a little temperamental. The change/repeat control is a little unpredictable and we would recommend leaving it in just one position. The case has some minor losses and imperfections which considering its age are acceptable. Overall, this is a rare music box in wonderful condition, an elegant and eccentric old machine which needs to be treated with care and consideration.