Oris returns to its long-running series of jazz watches with a piece inspired by the American jazz drummer and bandleader Art Blakey. Art was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1919, and made his name in the 1940s and 1950s playing alongside fellow icons of jazz Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, all of whom Oris has previously celebrated with limited edition watches. In the 1950s, Art formed the Jazz Messengers and would go on to play with them for more than three decades. He died in 1990 and won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. The watch, which is a time-only automatic, features a dial decorated with the eight claws from Art’s bass drum, and a case back with a cymbal inlay. Oris Art Blakey Limited Edition is limited to 1,000 pieces.
Go your own way – Art Blakey
Art Blakey was one of the most pioneering, inventive jazz drummers of the 20th century. His style and his gentle character influenced countless musicians. In this centenary year of his birth, Oris is proud to partner with the Estate of Art Blakey.
Keep the rithm going
Marking one hundred years since his birth, Oris is celebrating Art Blakey, one of the most understated pioneers of 20th-century jazz. The Swiss watch company has created a limited-edition watch in his name, the latest in a series of watches inspired by icons of jazz.
The story of Art Blakey
Like many of his peers, Art Blakey’s talent for music was initially developed in the church. He was the foster son of a Seventh Day Adventist family, and from an early age learned the piano side by side with the Bible. It quickly became apparent that Art was talented. By his late teens, he was already on the circuit performing. But as he would say himself, his career as a pianist ‘ended at the wrong end of a pistol,’ when he was ordered off the piano by a club owner and onto the drums. This became Art Blakey’s defining moment, launching a prolific musical career that spanned six decades and nurtured the careers of countless other jazz musicians.
In 1947, Art Blakey formed his first band, a big-band concept he created as a training ground for aspiring musicians and made his first recordings for the iconic jazz record label Blue Note Records. A year later, he took a brief hiatus to make a pilgrimage to Africa, where he became a student of polyrhythmic drumming, as well as religion and philosophy. He converted to Islam and took the name Abdullah Ibn Buhaina. Thereafter, he was affectionately known as ‘Bu’ by family, friends, and fans alike.
In 1954, Art met up with pianist Horace Silver, altoist Lou Donaldson, trumpeter Clifford Brown, and bassist Curly Russell and recorded “live” at Birdland for Blue Note Records. The following year, Art and Horace Silver co-founded the quintet that became the Jazz Messengers. In 1956, Horace Silver left the band to form his own group leaving the name, the Jazz Messengers, to Art Blakey.
To the beat of the drum
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers became a mainstay on the jazz club circuit, recording for Blue Note Records, touring Europe and becoming the first American jazz band to play in Japan. Art died in 1990 at age 71. He is considered one of the authors of modern drumming and the father of hard bop. During his lifetime, Art Blakey’s music earned many of the industry’s most coveted honors and awards including a 1984 Grammy for Best Instrumental Jazz Performance. In 2005, he was posthumously awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and was inducted into the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame at Jazz at Lincoln Center in 2013. The messenger may no longer be with us, but his message lives on.
Oris Art Blakey Limited Edition Technical Specifications and Price
Limited to 1,000 pieces
- Material: Multi-piece stainless steel case
- Size: 38.00 mm, 1.496 inches
- Top Glass: Sapphire, domed on both sides, anti-reflective coating inside
- Case back: Stainless steel, screwed, special engravings and cymbal inlay
- Operating Devices: Stainless steel crown
- Water Resistance: 3 bar
- Interhorn: Width 20 mm
- Number: Oris 733, base SW 200-1
- Dimensions: Ø 25.60 mm, 11 1/2’’’
- Functions: Centre hands for hours, minutes and seconds, fine timing device and stop-second
- Winding: Automatic winding, with bi-directionally rotating red rotor
- Power-Reserve: 38 hours
- Vibrations: 4 Hz (28’800 A/h)
- Jewels: 26
- Design Silver white opaline with applied drum claws
- Luminous Material Hands filled with Super-LumiNova®
- Indices Applied
- Brown leather strap with stainless steel folding clasp
Extras Special box, limited to 1,000 pieces
Availability of October
Swiss retail price CHF 1,950