A serious watch to proclaim your obsession with La La Land

Music is all about keeping time, but jazz in particular has a special relationship with it. Just ask a jazz drummer about broken time, for example; or ask John Legend’s character, Keith, in La La Land, about how “jazz is about the future.”

Which is perhaps why Swiss watchmaker Oris has, for 20 years now, dedicated an entire line to jazz legends. Other watchmakers may focus on the more sporty, more traditionally masculine pursuits—think aviation, car racing, exploration, diving. And Oris isn’t much different, actually: its three other collections are in fact diving, motorsport, and aviation. One can even argue that it’s their Diver collection that the brand is most known for.

Hidden under the catch-all “Culture” category, Oris’ series honors jazz legends that have included Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Chet Baker, Thelonious Monk. The watches are all unique, designed with a tip of the hat to the musician it commemorates: the Chet Baker watch, for example, had the notes to “My Funny Valentine” on the dial, while the Thelonius Monk edition had an 11-minute markers (instead of 10) between 10 and 12 o’clock, a reference to Monk’s penchant for dissonance. Clever.


This year’s limited-edition release pays homage to saxophonist “Long Tall” Dexter Gordon, who was a giant among musicians, both figuratively and literally (he was about 6’6”). As with all the jazz watches, the back is engraved with the musician’s name—“Long Tall Dex”, his nickname, in this case—but the truly unique detail can be found at the 12 o’clock mark, which is shaped like a saxophone reed. “Dexter Gordon” is spelled around the watch dial, one letter per index, while the seconds hand is brass-hued (of course), and has an an extra-long counterbalance, another nod to Gordon’s height.

The watch also seeks to embody Gordon’s famously amiable onstage character, so it’s all about warmth and subtlety here, making it a stylish and classic choice that is nevertheless full of personality.

The watch is limited to 1,000 pieces, and is well-priced at 1,800 Swiss francs (about P89,700).

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Kristine Fonacier
Former editor-in-chief of Esquire Philippines
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