A SWISS luxury watch manufacturer has chosen Mount Gambier’s Blue Lake for the global launch of its latest limited-edition timepiece, which pays homage to one of the city’s most high-profile residents.
Jazz great James Morrison has been honoured with a limited edition watch created by the revered timepiece manufacturer, which includes a luminous sapphire blue dial designed to mirror the world-famous volcanic landmark.
Jazz great James Morrison AM established the James Morrison Academy of Music in Mount Gambier in conjunction with UniSA five years ago, attracting undergraduate students and lecturers from around the globe.
The annual winner of the academy’s excellence in performance award receives a watch from the coveted Oris Jazz Collection, which honours international greats including Thelonious Monk, Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie.
Oris Switzerland region manager Michael Meier said it was James Morrison’s turn to be recognised and flew to Mount Gambier from Switzerland to hand deliver the first watch to Mr Morrison.
“We like our watches to tell a story and we are thrilled to be able to share the great work of James Morrison and his work with the next generation of jazz greats with the rest of the world,” Mr Meier said.
“We have been working with James on design options for quite some time and it is a really nice dress watch that people will enjoy wearing.”
The hands of his namesake watch are crafted from brass to honour the virtuoso’s trumpet playing.
The seconds hand counterbalance is shaped like a trumpet’s finger hook, while the back has been engraved with the Academy’s trumpet logo.
“It’s incredible – Oris has taken so much care to make something really special and it’s a great honour to think these striking blue watches will go all around the world with that logo on the back talking about the Academy and Mount Gambier,” James Morrison said.
With an Australian recommended retail price of $3000, just 1234 watches have been manufactured echoing the standard count-in for musicians before a performance.
Mr Morrison was presented with watch number 234 to honour his signature “2-3-4” count-in.
“We were initially only going to make 234 pieces, but once I shared the concept with my colleagues in Switzerland they all wanted one,” Mr Meier said.
“We quickly realised that it could not just be an Australian edition and added an extra thousand to the release.”
Student William Pethick also received one of the first limited-edition watches after winning the academy’s 2019 excellence in performance award before last night’s end of year concert at Mount Gambier’s Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre.
The James Morrison JMA is the latest edition from Swiss brand Oris’ long-running series of jazz watches.