Just a month after we celebrated the Art Blakey Jazz edition by Oris, the brand from Hölstein introduces another, just as nice, jazz-inspired dressy piece in the same collection. This James Morrison edition really makes it quite hard for us to keep up with all these novelties, so let’s see if the Oris James Morrison AoM Limited Edition lives up to the legend it’s named after.
Tribute to Jazz legend James Morrison
James Morrison is somewhat of a living legend, though his story isn’t that of the typical jazz artist. Morrison wasn’t from the plantations or the streets of Chicago; he was born in 1962 in a small farmer’s village in the south-east of Australia. He grew in a very musically inclined family and started playing in bands before he even hit his teens. He mainly played the trumpet, but soon started experimenting with other instruments as well. By 21 he had founded a band named after himself and his brother, the Morrison Brothers Big Band. Success ensued and he began touring the world. This resulted in his first live album, A Night In Tunisia from 1984 (the title track is the famous jazz standard composed by Dizzie Gillespie). He has released 21 albums since then and is still travelling the world playing his trumpet and many other instruments.
In 2015, Morrison opened a music academy, the James Morrison Academy of Music (AoM), which has the goal to help people create and learn about jazz music in Australia. It strives to offer “performance-based education at its best, where students don’t just learn about music – they learn how to make music”.
The Oris James Morrison AoM Limited Edition
Because of that noble project, Oris decided to honour the Australian musician with this new watch. It’s called after the academy; Oris James Morrison AoM Limited Edition. The watch itself is based on the existing Oris Artelier, which also was the base model for the previous Art Blakey edition.
The biggest difference between this watch and the Art Blakey piece immediately catches the eye. The dial for the James Morrison edition is beautifully redone with a blue gradient ‘dégradé’. It has large painted Arabic numerals in a slim, slightly 1950s style. The only real jazz reference found on the front side is the second hand, which is shaped in the form of the finger hook of a trumpet. Besides that, baton-shaped hands show hours and minutes. The watch has no date, which is quite a good choice, considering the style of the watch; it leaves the gradient intact. Another nice detail is the sapphire glass, which is domed and has anti-reflective coating on both sides.
The case measures a composed 38mm and is made out of steel. It is water-resistant to 30m and has a steel caseback that is engraved with the academy logo (a trumpet) and the limited-edition number. The watch is limited to 1,234 pieces.
Inside the case ticks the Sellita SW200-1, which was upgraded with (among other things) a red rotor by Oris and renamed the calibre 733. Watch lovers will know this movement by heart: 28,800vph, power reserve of 38 hours, automatic, and a bi-directionally rotating rotor. The strap is made from black cow leather and has a steel folding clasp. I personally feel that the watch strap could use a more luxurious upgrade, but that’s all in the eye of the beholder.
All in all, this is a very complete and basic watch that fits in the heart of the Oris Artelier collection. This is the type of no-nonsense watch that made Oris big in the first half of the last century when Oris was one of the biggest watch companies in the world. That empire crumbled as the quartz crisis hit the Swiss watch industry, but the brand has been recovered in the last two decades. The Oris collection stretches from entry-level pieces to the flagship manufacture pieces just below the 8k price point. Oris makes thousands of watches in the region of CHF 1,500 every year, which makes this specific ‘limited’ edition, honestly, a bit far-fetched. Especially since no less than 1,234 of this specific piece are being made. One wonders what the real premium of making it ‘limited’ in those numbers might be.
But that small remark doesn’t really change the fact that this Oris James Morrison really is a watch that would be a good buy for anyone starting a collection. It could even be an excellent everyday watch, that will be in style everywhere, be it work, home or even a late-night cocktail bar visit. It is, in all, an honest watch for a good price. Even if you don’t really like jazz music.
Price and availability
The Oris James Morrison AoM Limited Edition is now available (November 2019), limited to 1,234 pieces and priced at CHF 1,950. More details at oris.ch.