The James Bond Watch Collection12:12 pm
“Bond surveyed his weapons. They were only his hands and feet, his Gillette razor and his wrist-watch, a heavy Rolex Oyster Perpetual on an expanding metal bracelet. Used properly, these could be turned into most effective knuckledusters.”
This excerpt, taken from the eleventh James Bond book, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, perfectly depicts the importance of watches in James Bond’s adventures. The association of the British MI6 agent and watches has been as prominent as the various villains that he has faced during his escapades. And James Bond’s watches are more than just time-tellers. Thanks to special modifications by the Q-branch, Bond’s watches do everything from emitting laser jets (GoldenEye) to receiving printed messages (The Spy Who Loved Me).
“A gentleman’s choice of timepiece says as much about him as does his Saville Row suit.”
Coming from the maker himself, this quote beautifully expresses the role of the watch in defining Bond’s character. It also helps to know that Ian Fleming himself wore a Rolex Explorer, as can be seen in the image below.
Over the years, we have seen the James Bond watch collection which includes Rolex, Omega, Breitling, TAG Heuer and Seiko. Let’s take a look at some of 007’s most iconic watches from the beginning.
Dr No, 1962 | Rolex Submariner
Sean Connery, playing James Bond in the first 007 film, was seen wearing a Rolex Submariner. This was the 1960s and scuba-diving was gaining popularity. Rolex was considered one of the top watchmakers then – and still is – so it was understandable that the thrill-seeking secret agent sported a diving watch from the Swiss manufacturer in 007’s first feature film.
From Russia With Love, 1963 | Rolex Submariner
The fashion-savvy secret agent was seen sporting the Rolex Submariner again in James Bond’s second feature film. In the image above, we see Sean Connery wearing the Submariner on his wrist as he shares screen space with Sylvia Trench.
Goldfinger, 1964 | Rolex Submariner
Sean Connery was again seen wearing a Rolex Submariner in the 1964 hit film, Goldfinger. In the movie, Bond uses his cigarette lighter to check the time on his watch, which led to the timepiece being called the “Cigarette Lighter Rolex”. The most interesting aspect of this particular Bond watch is the three-colour NATO strap. But it is not the colour of this strap that’s brought so much attention: it’s the size. The watch has been designed to have a 22 mm strap but it’s actually been fitted with an 18 mm one. The extra space in between the lugs is clearly visible and watch lovers around the world cringed over this obvious mistake when the film was released. Nonetheless, the popularity of the Rolex Submariner and the Bond franchise was so high that the three-colour NATO strap actually became a highly sought-after accessory.
Thunderball, 1965 | Rolex Submariner, Breitling Top-Time
In the fourth Bond franchise, 007 was seen wearing two watches throughout the movie. In the beginning, he is seen wearing the Rolex Submariner from the previous movies, which is later swapped for a Breitling Top-Time provided by the Q-branch of MI6. The Top-Time, which Sean Connery can be seen wearing in the image, is modified to include a Geiger Counter which can be used to detect nuclear radiation. Bond effectively uses this feature in the movie to find two stolen atomic bombs.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, 1969 | Rolex Submariner, Rolex “Pre-Daytona”
George Lazenby took on the mantle of James Bond in this 1969 blockbuster film and sported two Rolex watches in the movie. Here, he can be seen wearing the Submariner with a stainless steel bracelet while holding hands with Diana Riggs. The second watch that he wore in the movie is a chronograph now referred to as the “Pre-Daytona”.
Live and Let Die, 1973 | Rolex Submariner
This was Roger Moore’s first movie starring James Bond, and Moore was seen wearing the Rolex Submariner that Bond had now become synonymous with. In the movie, the timepiece is more than just any ordinary Submariner. Pulling the stem of the watch activates a hyper intensified magnetic field, which is powerful enough to deflect bullets. Moore shows the power of the magnetic field by whisking a spoon off M’s coffee saucer. And that’s not the end of it. The top of the watch can also spin at extremely high speeds and make the bezel – which has a serrated edge – to act like buzz saw.
The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977 | Seiko Quartz Digital
The Rolex era had gone by and digital quartz timepieces were in fashion by this time. Roger Moore was seen sporting a Seiko watch which, of course, had a special modification by Q. And for a change, Bond’s watch didn’t act like a weapon, but rather a communication device. The watch could receive messages from M and even print them on a ticker-tape to be conveniently read later. Quite ahead of its time for the 1970s, I’d say.
Moonraker, 1979 | Seiko Quartz Digital
Roger Moore was again seen wearing a Seiko Quartz which was modified like any standard Bond watch should be: to act like an explosive when required. In the movie, we see Bond popping open the case back to reveal a coil of plastique explosive, which Bond obviously uses to great effect in accomplishing his mission.
For Your Eyes Only, 1981 | Seiko Quartz Digital
This Seiko Quartz had a similar function as an earlier Bond watch. But of course, times had advanced and so had technology. This analog watch could receive messages and display them on a thin digital display at the top of the timepiece. In the image above, we see M’s message for Bond to report to headquarters.
Octopussy, 1983 | Seiko Quartz Digital
Roger Moore was back as Bond and this time sporting a multi-function digital Quartz from Seiko.Its special function? The ability to monitor a tiny homing transmitter fitted in an imitation Faberge egg and check its position.
GoldenEye, 1995 | Omega Seamaster
Pierce Brosnan played the role of the 007 in this 1995 hit Bond film and for the first time, Bond was seen wearing an Omega watch: the Seamaster. In fact, the Seamaster has been worn by Bond in all subsequent movies as well. In GoldenEye, Bond is shown trapped in a Russian military train that is about to explode. It is then that we see him using his watch to emit a laser beam that is powerful enough to cut through the floor of the train and thus allow him to escape to safety.
Tomorrow Never Dies, 1997 | Omega Seamaster
This was Pierce Brosnan’s second time playing James Bond and in this movie as well his watch has more functions than the standard Seamaster. It is fitted with a tiny removable detonator, which can be taken out by pulling on the helium escape valve. Later in the movie, Bond sets off the detonator by simply twisting the bezel of the watch.
The World Is Not Enough, 1999 | Omega Seamaster
Bond’s Seamaster features two modifications in this 1999 hit film starring Pierce Brosnan. Firstly, the watch features built-in illumination, which comes in great handy when Bond gets caught in an avalanche. Secondly, twisting the bezel brings out a grappling hook, which Bond uses to grapple 50 feet up to the roof from a nuclear Bunker in Kazakhstan.
Die Another Day, 2002 | Omega Seamaster
The Omega Seamaster featured in this movie could emit a laser beam that had the power to cut through ice. The beam shoots out through the crown of the timepiece and is activated by pressing on the face of the watch. It comes in great use during an action sequence on ice at the end of the movie.
Casino Royale, 2006 | Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean
Daniel Craig took on the role of James Bond and donned an Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean in this mega hit of 2006. Omega launched a limited version of the watch with just 5,007 pieces to coincide with the release of the movie. The timepiece featured a 007 gun logo on the dial and a black rubber strap.
Skyfall, 2012 | Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean, Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra, Omega Circa 2012 Seamaster Planet Ocean Titanium
James Bond was seen sporting three watches in the latest edition of the Bond movie franchise. These included Seamaster Planet Ocean, Seamaster Aqua Terra and Circa 2012 Seamaster Planet Ocean Titanium wristwatch. The Planet Ocean worn by Daniel Craig in Skyfall was sold at Christie’s in London for a whopping amount of $254,273.
Omega launched a special version of the Seamaster to commemorate the 50th anniversary of James Bond. The Seamaster Diver 300m features a black dial adorned with the 007 logo in a diagonal pattern. The bezel is a unidirectional rotating one and is made of black ceramic. The 36 mm stainless case has a helium escape valve at 10 o’clock and the watch is powered by the Co-Axial Calibre 2507. The caseback has a unique gun-barrel design to symbolize its association with the world’s most famous secret agent.
Ethos Watch Boutiques is proud to be the official retailer for James Bond’s preferred brands of watches.
To know more about the timepieces from these brands, please call our Luxury Watch Consultants at +91 8725028900 or 8725028896.
Features Writer, The Watch Guide
He is a watch aficionado with an obsessive compulsion for writing. He spends his days exploring the intricacies of modern watchmaking and his evenings reading literary classics.