C. Bechstein Sphinx: "The world’s most expensive piano"


According to an article by Thiemo Heeg published in the FAZ on 17 April 2015, sales in the music industry increased by seven percent in 2014. Heeg further states: “Marketing specialists often say that in most industries, mid-range products will disappear and only companies offering extremely low-priced or expensive products will survive. Manufacturers of music instruments could be the winners if this prognosis proves to be true”. In order to follow up on this statement, the reporter visited Frankfurt’s C. Bechstein Center and took a photograph of Karl Schulze, CEO of the German manufacturer of the top-segment C. Bechstein pianos, standing near the company’s latest achievement: the Sphinx. This replica of a grand piano delivered to a London customer in 1886 boasts modern interior components taken from the C. Bechstein B 212 model.

According to the FAZ, the making of a B 212 in Seifhennersdorf (C. Bechstein’s production site, located in Saxony), requires 350 to 400 hours. In the case of the Sphinx, however, 1250 hours were necessary for the decoration of the case alone, and the entire production took nearly 1800 hours. “Accordingly, Bechstein set the retail price of the instrument at €930,000. […] This definitely doesn’t mean that Schulze is unrealistic. On the contrary, Bechstein’s CEO is a piano-maker with a sound understanding of his work: he knows that even a successful traditional company must generate buzz, and that the Sphinx could be a good marketing measure”.

The strategy seems to be right, as not only Germany’s most famous newspaper (FAZ), but also the country’s top selling daily (Bild) published articles on Bechstein’s latest special model. According to Carina Hering, “the world’s most expensive Bechstein shines like a mirror and is gold-plated like in the tales of the Arabian Nights”. Moreover, Bild’s website published three pictures of the precious instrument and stated: “The piano that stands in the display, visible to all, boasts a mahogany case with floral ornaments and feet in the shape of lion paws - all made of 24-carat gold”. To give an indication of the price’s magnitude, a picture legend indicates that “the world’s most expensive piano costs as much as four Lamborghinis”.

The Sphinx can be viewed at Berlin’s C. Bechstein Center starting 22 April 2015.