James Bond and his watches - A romance in its own
“A gentleman’s choice of timepiece says as much about him as does his Saville Row suit.”
When the producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman began shootings for the first Bond film “James Bond 007 hunts Dr. No” in January of 1962, they could have never imagined the enormous successs they would achieve and what influence the probably best-known secret agent in the world would have. Now, after 25 Bond films to this date, we look back at the most precious accessories in this universe full of attractive Bond girls and far too many vodka-martinis by presenting the spy’s most famous watches.
Rolex with a touch of Breitling
In the first Bond adventure “Dr. No” (1962) Sean Connery wears a ROLEX Submariner paired with a Nato band, but without any additional functions unlike in later films. This exact watch reapers in “From Russia with love” (1963) as well as in “Goldfinger”. This beautiful piece marked a tame beginning for what is yet to come.
In the movie “Thunderball” (1965) Sean Connery’s Bond travels to the Bahamas were after his arrival Q presents him with a modified Breitling Top Time with a built-in Geiger counter, which he uses to locate the captured nuclear weapons stolen by the villain Emilio Largo. This wristwatch started the tradition of handy gadgets being built into Bond’s accessories.
In “In her Majesty’s secret service” (1969), Bond yet again wears a Rolex Submariner, this time with an oyster strap as well as the first Rolex chronograph. In the film “Live and let die” (1973), his Rolex Submariner is probably equipped with the most remarkable functions for that time. The watch can generate a strong magnetic field by turning the rotating 60-minute bezel or pulling out the crown. Later in the movie Bond ends up hanging tied above a shark tank, from which he escapes by using the built-in saw in order to cut his shackles and overwhelm his opponent Dr. Kananga.
Seiko enters the scene
In five different missions, Roger Moores Bond wears a Seiko wristwatch. In “The spy who loved me” (1977) it is a Seiko 0674, which can receive a text message and output it on embossed tape. In “Moonraker” (1979) he uses a Seiko Digital LC M354 Momory Bank Calender fitted with an explosive cable on the back, which 007 uses to free himself from the Moonraker Shuttle’s flame shaft. During the action of “In deadly mission” (1981) a Seiko H357 Digital Analog Alarm with a display for running LED text messages and an integrated radio finds place on the wrist of the spy. In “Octopussy” (1983) the wrong Fabergé egg is tracked by using the radio direction finder integrated in a SEIKO G757 Sports 100.
Towards the end of his mission Bond wears a colour model of the Seiko liquid crystal TV clock, on which he can see the images of a camera Q installed in a hot-air balloon. Ironically, the Seiko watch Moore wears in his last performance in “In the face of the death” (1985) has no special features.
Omega steals the spotlight
When Pierce Brosnan took on the role of the worlds most famous spy, the watch on his wrist also changed due to Omega becoming the sponsor. In “Goldeneye” (1995), the watch on Bonds wrist is an Omega Seamaster 300M Diver Quartz with an integrated laser that he uses to cut a hole in the ground on the train belonging to ex-MI6 agent 006 Alex Trevlyan.
In the following film “Tomorrow never dies” (1997) Bond flies to Hamburg with a new Omega Seamaster 300M with manual winding due to his previous model being destroyed by the villain. In order to stop the media mogul Elliot Carver, he exchanges the clock for a modified version of the Chinese secret service.
In “The world is not enough” (1999), 007 activates the LEDs on the dial of his Omega Seamaster 300M Chronometer by pressing the screwed Omega crown. This illuminates the inside of his inflatable ski jacket, in which he is buried under an avalanche with Elektra King.
The watch is also outfitted with a helium valve that can be used as a detonator, which Brosnan utilizes in his last performance in “Die another day” (2002) to detonate the C4 explosives hidden under diamonds in the briefcase of the smuggler Van Bierk by rotating the bezel. After his release from North Korea he receives another model of the before mentioned wristwatch, this time with a laser integrated in the crown that can be activated by pressing the dial.
In Daniel Craigs debut film “Casino Royale” (2006) Bond once again receives a Omega Seamaster 300M Diver with coaxial inhibition, a blue dial, an unidirectional rotating bezel, a screw-down crown as well as a helium outlet valve. The second watch 007 wears is a black Omega Seamaster Co-Acial Planet Ocean, which is 45.5 millimeters in diameter and features the Omega Caliber 2500 with coaxial escapement which allows for dives up to 600 meters.
In the sequel “A Quantum of Solace” (2008) Bond waives a blue Omega Seamaster 300M Diver model for the first time since “Golden Eye” in 1995. In its place he wears a black Omega Seamster Planet Ocean, which is a bit smaller with a diameter of 42 millimeters than its counterpart from “Casino Royal”.
For “Skyfall” (2012) Craig receives an unique Omega Seamster Planet Ocean 600M Titanium as it is otherwise only available in stainless steel. It is therefore in no way surprising that the contract for the 42 millimeter titanium watch was worth the equivalent of 234’000 CHF at the time of the films release.
For the 4th adventure of the rebooted franchise, Bond switches back to a blue dial in combination with yellow elements masterfully combined in the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terre 150M which is immune to magnetism from more than 15’007 Gauss. The double role of the wristwatch as fashionable accessory as well as fancy gadget is revitalised in “Spectre” (2015) with the watch acting as an explosive device which can be triggered by initiating a countdown, which is used by Bond to flee the layer of the villain Bloefeld with the help of Madeleine Swann.
The final appearance of Craig as 007 in “No time to die” (2021) features an Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer 42 MM that adorns the wrist of the secret agent, a titanium wristwatch paired with a titanium strap, completed by a bezel and brown aluminium dial. It is capable of giving of a strong electromagnetic pulse, which Bond uses to short-circuit the bionic eye of the henchman Cyclops.