We previously announced the Oris Artelier James Morrison Academy of Music on Fratello here. And now we have the chance to test drive it on the wrist. The Acadamy of Music slots into the existing jazz collection, but this time, it is inspired by a living trumpeting legend, James Morrison.

After the announcement, and the excellent article by my fellow Fratello, Andreas, on the Art Blakey, I just had to get my hands on this piece. I applaud Andreas for combining the Oris Art Blakey review with his passion for percussion. I’m a guitarist, and although I’ve chosen a piece intended for a trumpet player, James Morrison regards himself as a multi-instrumentalist. I’m hoping that covers the electric guitar too.

Typically, I tend to remove my watches when I bring out the “ax”.

Wearing the piece while jamming away was a bit of a revelation. Typically, I tend to remove my watches when I bring out the “ax”. On the left hand, a timepiece can throw me off balance as I’m laying down a fresh riff. And I’m an advocate for wearing wristwatches all day, every day. It’s not so much the crown that can be uncomfortable but more so the sides of the case and bracelet that dig into the wrist.


Forming a band

But there I was, rocking out with the Oris Academy of Music on my wrist. And you know what? It was pretty comfortable. Mostly thanks to the super-soft calf leather strap. The suede-like inner lining is smooth to the touch but provides a subtle grip. So, if you’re flexing your wrist while playing an instrument, the AoM stays firmly in place without sliding up and down your arm.

The thin bezel optically increases the span of the dial. And it’s the dial that steals the show. Gradient, fumé, smoky dials — whatever you want to call them — tug at my heartstrings. In the dim light, the dial can appear inky black with a hint of blue. In the daylight, there is an explosion of color — a regal sunburst streaking from edge-to-edge. The gold-toned markers at each numeral ensure legibility is maintained while providing the kind of contrast watch designers dream of.


On The Wrist

The stainless-steel case is 38mm. This is a bit smaller than my average wrist-game (shout out to Stockton), but I’m open to trying new things. Diameters can be woefully misleading on paper. It is essential to try on a watch before passing judgment.

Elegance in steel…

I’d say this model is a genuine 38mm. Height can really affect the wearing experience, but here, this relatively low-profile watch sits as one would expect. The result? A pleasingly retro aesthetic — elegance in steel.


Furthermore, it is not unheard of for manufacturers to choose relatively arbitrary points from which to measure the diameter. These points can be chosen to either artificially inflate or deflate the theoretical presence of a watch on the wrist. Some brands prefer to present their watches as smaller than they are so as to not alienate their followers; others go the other way in the hope of attracting a new audience that might have dismissed them in the past for the diminutive numbers in the catalog. For example, Patek Philippe excludes the ears of the Nautilus on the spec sheet. Yet the feel on the wrist is much larger in reality than the 40mm diameter indicates.

But somehow, the sizing of the James Morrison felt on point. Any larger and the effect of the blue gradient dial could’ve lost its luster.


Sellita-based automatics

I’ve had experience with the Sellita-based automatics that power the majority of the Oris collection, and I’ve always been impressed by their level of accuracy. However, the low power reserve of 38 hours is where there is room for improvement. Especially in comparison with the impressive ten days generated by a single barrel in their in-house offerings. The case-back has the symbol for the Academy of Music in Australia, which James Morrison founded. Limited to 1,234 pieces, the Oris Artelier James Morrison Academy of Music retails for €1,900. You can read more about the watch here.

Follow me on Instagram @benjameshodges


Watch specifications

James Morrison AoM Limited Edition
01 733 7762 4085-Set
Blue gradient
Case Material
Stainless steel
Case Dimensions
Case Back
Solid with engraving
Oris 733, base Sellita SW200-1
Water Resistance
30 metres
Black leather strap with soft inner lining
Time only
Special Note(s)
Limited to 1,234 pieces