Retro Chic – Braun SK 4

Without the SK 4, there may have been no iPod. Get £500 on eBay now to get one of these Bauhaus beauties of your very own

What’s the story?

Between 1919 and 1933, that brief period when Germany wasn’t being ruled by a vicious monarch or a monstrous fascist, there existed a school of art, craft and design known as the Bauhaus. The people who studied and taught there followed the idea that buildings and machines should have a simple, clean design that is easy to use – objective, functional, but human. After WWII, the Bauhaus aesthetic made its way across the world in products such as this calm, white, minimalistic record player/radio, and in doing so influenced a new generation of designers and products – among them the Bauhaus movement’s most famous fan, Steve Jobs. Without the SK 4, there may have been no iPod.

Why should I want one?

As it comes from the pre-transistor era, the SK 4’s internal valve amp will, if well maintained, produce a warm, bright sound and its 4W output is enough to fill a room. One of the great milestones of gadget design, the SK 4 was nicknamed ‘Snow White’s coffin’ (people were shocked by its transparent lid), but the less-is-more touch of designer Dieter Rams can now be seen in almost every gadget.

What to look for

The SK 4 is not easy to come by, and not cheap. It may be better to find one in non-working condition and ask a nice old man in a phonographic shop to fix it for you.

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