James Bond movies are notorious for their strong association with stylish luxury watches brands as Omega and Rolex. Basically, every 007 film ever made had as guest star a famous designer timepiece that has intrigued the audience. Of course, these collaborations have been fructuous both for the world’s favorite spy and for the watchmakers. Bond benefited from the distinction and class of the timepieces while the watch brands got to be promoted by one of the most famous movie characters known to men.
Needless to say, the value of the models that appear in 007 films is significantly higher than the one of the watches that didn’t. For instance, when “Goldfinger” turned 50 years from its debut the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra that showcased in this movie was sold at an auction for eight times more than its regular price. Surprisingly enough, the thing that intrigues fans more about the Bond saga is what the next 007 watch will be. The chosen brand is no longer a surprise since Omega has signed in 1995 a franchise with the spy series, but the model is always a reason for anticipation and excitement. Now this luxury watch company is synonymous with 007’s adventurous spirit, but things were different at the beginning. James Bond has sported many important designer names on his wrist, watches that to this day remain iconic for their spy legacy.
The original James Bond watch was Rolex. In 1962 when “Dr No” was ruling the box office worldwide, everything watch enthusiasts were talking about was the Rolex Submariner spotted on Sean Connery’s wrist in some of the most thrilling scenes. What better match than the world’s first diving timepiece and the adventurous story of 007? Sean Connery starred in 7 James Bond movies and he was faithful to his Rolex Submariner. The association was so powerful that some collectors still consider the watch as the quintessential James Bond timepiece. The reason why Rolex appeared in a total of 9 Bond films is that the author Ian Fleming was convinced that this was the most representative brand for his spy character. As a matter of fact, he wore his favorite Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer on the set of the first three 007 movies.
Between 1962 and 1989, Sean Connery, Peter Sellers, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig were the famous actors that played the legendary James Bond. And almost every single one of them wore a Rolex on his wrist. Of course, there were a couple of exceptions like a few high-tech models and some Tag Heuer and Breitling pieces, but in everyone’s mind the iconic 007 watch is the Rolex Submariner. One other notable Rolex model that appeared in the Bond saga is the Rolex GMT Master sported by Pussy Galore in “Goldfinger”. Unlike Omega, Rolex has never tried to promote its products by using the Bond name. The brand didn’t pay for product placement or offered free watches to the actors.
The quartz era left a strong mark on James Bond movies as well. The attention switched from luxury automatic models to fashionable technical novelties like the glowing red Pulsar watch, digital Seikos and the Seiko Liquid Crystal TV watch that was spotted in “Octopussy”.
One of the most notable quartz models worn in his early adventures is the Seiko 0674, an LCD Quartz digital watch that at that time was pretty innovative. Its modern design was a match for Bond’s style. This timepiece was worn by Roger Moore in the 1977 movie: “The spy who loved me”. The novelty of the model was that its LCD screen was able to display messages sent to 007 from the MI6 Headquarters. Back then this was considered a futuristic element, something that a spy like James Bond would wear. And this is exactly what he does. He proudly wears the watch on his wrist for the entire movie, from the first scene to the very last one.
Like all Seiko watches, the 0674 model is considerably rare. Also, Seiko didn’t make any variations of this timepiece. The brand produced just this version as a tribute to the favorable collaboration with 007. Its design is pretty unique. The rectangular shaped dial displays the days of the week, the hour, the AM/PM feature and seconds. Below the dial there are two small push buttons that are used to set the time, calendar, the light intensity and mode.
In 1981, the twelfth James Bond movie called “For your eyes only” debuted. The Seiko 0674 appeared in this movie again. This time, it was worn by a crew member of the St George spy ship. The character who sported this digital watch was the man who takes over the control of the A.T.A.C. before the ship is hit by the mine. In the movie, he fails to pull the self-destruct handle, but his watch choice is a success that will echo for decades. The Seiko 0674 appears on the screen for a couple of moment when its wearer handcuffs himself to the machine.
Seiko M354 Memory Bank Calendar that was worn in the 1979 “Moonraker” movie. In the film, this liquid crystal display model is fitted with explosives and a remote detonator; thus helping 007 to escape from the “Moonraker” launch platform. Many Bond fans and watches enthusiasts are very attached to this timepiece that nowadays is considered a collectible and is auctioned at incredibly high prices.
Like all the Seiko models that appear in Bond movies, the M354 is very rare. It is not the type of watch you can buy online or in stores. Collectors showcase it at special events and from time to time one of these remarkable devices is being sold at a private auction.
Roger Moore is the 007 actor that wore this vintage silver case and steel bracelet Seiko model in “Moonraker”. The complete reference number of the watch is M354-5019, but Seiko has also produced a M354-5010 that looks just the same, but has a few technical differences. Usually, people confuse these two, but for a true fan the one and only “Moonraker” watch is the M354-5019.
Seiko has developed and created M354 as a highly innovative watch able to impress its wearer with its functionality. This digital masterpiece displays on its rectangular LCD dial hours, minutes, seconds, months, day and date. There is the option of displaying the hours in a 12 or 24 hour format. The watch is also called Memory Bank Calendar because its complex mechanism is able to display the full calendar for any given month, between January 1930 and December 2009. Furthermore, within a 12 months period, this water resistant timepiece can be programmed to memorize as many important dates as its wearer desires.
The Seiko M354 watch was first produced in 1978 and when it made its big debut, the brand printed out an advertisement that presented the model as “the first LC digital quartz memory bank calendar”. Back then, the watch was priced between $225 and $275.
“License to kill” is one of the most successful 007 movies, a classic film signed by Eon Productions which had its big premiere in 1989. This time, Timothy Dalton was the one that played James Bond and his appearance remains unforgettable for watches enthusiasts due to the fact that he was the last 007 actor to wear a Rolex Submariner, a watch that is seen as the quintessential Bond timepiece.
Until now, Rolex Submariner is the watch model that has starred in the most James Bond movies. Its story with the famous MI6 spy started in 1962 when Sean Connery wore it in “Dr No” and it ended with “License to kill”. The timepiece was perfect for reflecting the style and personality of the adventurous 007, the perfect gentleman agent whom was always wearing a sleek suit and an expensive watch.
The movie “License to kill” was the second time actor Timothy Dalton played James Bond and what better way to mark this occasion than wearing a Rolex 16610, a timeless design that will forever be known as the last Rolex 007 watch? Due to this connection, now the model is a collectible item and the brand has even produced an updated version of the watch to perpetuate its impressive legacy as a watch that breaks all barriers, even the ones of time.
To become the official James Bond watch, Omega had to win a bid in 1995. Because many fans were very reluctant about this collaboration, Omega had to emphasize its heritage with the British military and Royal Navy Divers. The goal of the brand was to establish its image as the one of a daring watch with a long and adventurous history.
The first Bond actor that wore an Omega Seamaster Professional 300 m on his wrist was Pierce Brosnan in “GoldenEye”. This model was equipped with a remote control that was able to detonate devices and a laser beam. Daniel Craig was the first 007 actor that changed this high tech approach for Bond watches by being firm about promoting a more sophisticated and fit Bond that needs just a stylish watch and suit to be glamorous on his criminal fighting adventures. He wears two Omega watches in “Casino Royale”. One is the 45.5 mm Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m Co-Axial chronometer and the other one is a blue Omega Seamaster 300 m chronometer.
Now, Omega and James Bond reached their 17th year of partnership and the Seamaster Planet Ocean was the staple watch for their association. But with the debut of “Skyfall” things changed. The 007 image was refreshed with a Seamaster Aqua Terra Mid Size Chronometer. The elegant “teak” concept dial was preferred by Daniel Craig who is convinced that his spy character is way too sophisticated for the sporty Planet Ocean. So the producers decided to showcase two Omegas in the film. One was a special edition Planet Ocean available in a 5,007 series and the other one was Craig’s Aqua Terra.
Since the first James Bond movie, watches have played an important role in building a unique and charismatic style for 007. Rolex, Seiko, Breitling, Tag Heuer and Omega are just a few of the very famous timepieces that starred in the 24 James Bond sagas that conquered an entire world.