James Bond Through His Watches
Fifty four years, 26 James Bond movies and six actors who have assayed the role of the world’s best known secret agent.
Fifty four years, 26 James Bond movies and six actors who have assayed the role of the world’s best known secret agent. All of whom have worn some of the best watches.
Sean Connery played James Bond in the first five James Bond films before taking a break and coming back and doing two more films. In the first four films, Dr No (1962), From Russia With Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964) and Thunderball (1965), Connery wore a Rolex Submariner. In Goldfinger, even Honor Blackman who memorably plays Goldfinger’s pilot Pussy Galore wears a Rolex GMT men’s watch. Besides the Submariner, in Thunderball, Connery briefly wore a BreitlingTop Time as well. But the watch that Connery wore in You Only Live Twice (1967) remains a mystery to date. Sean Connery came back to play James Bond for one last time in the 1971 movie Diamonds are Forever. Though some people dispute this, but the consensus is that he is wearing a Rolex Submariner in the movie. Connery tried to regain his Bond thunder once again in rival producer Kevin McClory’s Never Say Never Again in 1983, a movie that was released just months after the release of Brocolli’s Roger Moore starrer Octopussy. The movie was a big hit, but the watch in the movie was again a mystery.
Roger Moore brought a sense of freedom to the James Bond role in his 12-year, seven-movie reign which began in 1973 with Live and Let Die in which he wore a Rolex Submariner. That was the time when quartz watches with LED displays were first making their presence felt around the world at the expense of mechanical watches and it seemed only appropriate that Bond would wear a Hamilton Pulsar (the blue ribbon digital watch brand of the time) in the movie. Though he goes back to a Rolex Submariner in Man With The Golden Gun from 1974, James Bond gives in completely to the quartz age for the next decade with Seiko (the inventor of the quartz watch and the dominant brand in the world at that time) being the watch of choice in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977, Seiko Model 0674 LC), Moonraker (1979, Seiko M354 Memory Bank Calendar), For Your Eyes Only (1981, Seiko 7549-7009), Octopussy (1983, Seiko TV Watch/G757 Sports 100) and A View To A Kill ( 1985, Seiko).
After Connery decided to take a break, the James Bond role was offered to Burt Reynolds, who turned it down saying that an American can never play a British secret agent. Australian model George Lazenby however had no such qualms when he was asked after meeting producer Albert Broccoli in a barber shop. He even wore a Rolex Submariner to the audition to fit the part. In his only film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) he wears both a Rolex Submariner and a Rolex Chronograph.
In 1986, after Roger Moore had enough of playing Bond, the producers approached Welsh actor Timothy Dalton who they had in mind as an alternate to Moore for a long time. Dalton made the hugely successful The Living Daylights in 1987 in which he reportedly wore a Tag Heuer Professional Night Dive PVD and Licence to Kill in 1989 in which he goes back to wearing a Rolex
Pierce Brosnan brought the Omega magic to James Bond films starting with GoldenEye in 1995 in which he wore the blue Omega Seamaster Professional 300 Mquartz model. Q had enhanced this watch to enable him to shoot a laser beam from the bezel marker and also use it as a remote control device to blow up explosives. In fact even 006 makes an appearance in the film displaying his slightly older version of the same Omega model. In Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), Brosnan shifts from Omega Seamaster Professional to the automatic chronometer model. The Seamaster played an active role in The World Is Not Enough (1999) as well in which Bond shoots a wire from the watch and swings on it. In Die Another Day (2002) Brosnan’s last Bond film, he again uses the Omega Seamaster as a detonator and also to shoot lasers.
Daniel Craig carried forward Brosnan’s legacy wearing the Omega Seamaster Diver 300 M and Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean in Casino Royale (2006), following it up with Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600 M and Omega Seamaster 300 M in Quantum of Solace (2008). The difference by now was that Omega had started creating special watches for James Bond. The Planet Ocean 600 M in fact has the words `Quantum of Solace 7’ laser-etched on the crystal of the watch and was made with a new black honeycomb dial. The Seamaster 300M also has a red 007 on its second hand and was also given the black dial and bezel look for the first time. In Skyfall he wore a Seamaster Planet Ocean 600 M Skyfall Limited Edition. It has 007 engraved on the diver’s clasp on its bracelet. In the just released Spectre, the Omega Seamaster 300 that Craig is wearing is an updated interpretation of the dive classic launched in 1957. It is equipped with an Omega Co-Axial caliber 8400, resistant to magnetic fields of 15,000 gauss.
In the 1967 James Bond spoof Casino Royale both Peter Sellers and David Niven play James Bond (with Woody Allen playing Jimmy Bond). Sellers wears a Rolex GMT as he goofs around.