Please help me to buy a music box for my wife.
January 16, 2011 2:43 AM   Subscribe

Please help me to buy a music box for my wife.

This thread (specifically, this link) reminded me that Valentine's Day is nigh. I thought a music box might make a nice gift. I have two options in mind, but I'm having trouble sourcing either.

Option 1 - Amelie music box

This AskMe includes a link to a store that sells musical jewelry and ring boxes that play the theme from The Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain, one of my wife's favourite films (we once did a self-guided walking tour of Paris to see the movie's sights). Unfortunately, they're all 'temporarily out of stock'. Any idea where I might buy something similar?

Option 2 - Japanese music box

The YouTube video linked earlier in this post includes a link to a Japanese site that seems to sell 33-note chromatic scale music boxes that will play punched cards, like the one in the video. Unfortunately for me, the site is in Japanese, and Google Translate hasn't been much help in working out what's for sale, and at what price. I'd like to get one already in a box, just like the video, and then I guess I'd figure out how to punch out my wife's favourite melodies, like Amelie, Totoro etc. If somebody who can read Japanese could let me know if that's possible, and what I'd need to do to order, it'd be very much appreciated. Ditto if you know another store selling this sort of thing!

I've seen the ThinkGeek DIY kits, and separate mechanisms that play the Amelie theme - I'm really more interested in a finished, slightly more classy product (assume I'm willing to spend up to a few hundred dollars US). Please note that I'm in Australia, so any store would need to provide international shipping.

posted by obiwanwasabi to Shopping (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I found this note in the Mechanical Music Digest archives about that 33-note music box from a French importer. As of 2009, the price from him was €490. Ouch.

What you might want to do is order one of the separate mechanisms and then hire a local woodworker to make you a custom box for it.
posted by hades at 12:15 PM on January 16, 2011

Oh, and it looks like you can find higher-quality paper-strip music boxes than ThinkGeek's at the site you linked to in option 1:
posted by hades at 12:29 PM on January 16, 2011

Another source: -- looks like they carry the chromatic version for €460.
posted by hades at 1:18 PM on January 16, 2011

Response by poster: Blurk. I could fly her to Paris or the Ghibli museum instead for that kind of dosh!
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:56 PM on January 16, 2011

Oh, hey. Here's a 30-note chromatic for £39.99. That plus a box from a woodworker might be within the budget. The really expensive 33-note chromatic ones appear to be handmade and high quality, which would explain the price (which isn't out of line with it being a real musical instrument). This one's more in the realm of high-end toy, but I bet it sounds just fine, especially when mounted in a nice resonating box. Actually, I think maybe I'll buy one for myself. Or at least strongly hint at it as a potential birthday present.
posted by hades at 3:34 PM on January 16, 2011

Best answer: Here you go; the hand-cranked mechanisms are back in stock: mechanism 1, mechanism 2. I can't find any audio samples, so I don't know what the difference is. The complete jewelry boxes which use the wind-up mechanism aren't in stock, and neither is the wind-up mechanism itself.

That appears to be the official storefront for Lutèce Créations, which makes the mechanism with that music. It looks like they're the only ones making a music box mechanism with that music, so there's probably some licensing issue. In any case, that site's as close as you're likely to get to finding what you want.
posted by hades at 2:05 AM on January 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: hades, thank you so much for hunting that down! If there's an AskMe benchmark for persistence in the aid of a stranger, you've truly gone above and beyond. Merci beaucoup, and may your pebbles always skip, not sink.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:14 PM on January 24, 2011

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