All you need to know about James Bond watches
The secret agent 007, alias James Bond made his first appearance on our screens in 1962, the franchise is derived from the adaptation of novels by Ian Flemming, the name James Bond comes from an American ornithologist.
This emblematic character for several generations is a lover of beautiful things, whether cars or women he is always well surrounded, however his taste does not stop there, we often see him wearing beautiful watches that in addition to belonging to major brands, are equipped in some cases with gadgets that improve his work as a spy.
In this article we will trace the history of each watch worn by the agent, the improvements they have and the different mysteries linked to each film. You'll be able to learn everything about the watches of the most secretive secret agent of all time.
ROLEX ERA START FOR SEAN CONNERY
We have the pleasure to start our story with the year 1962, the year of the release of "Dr. No". This movie made many debates among collectors about the very first watch seen on the wrist of the agent during the opening scene.
For a long time there was confusion about the watch used by our agent at the beginning of the film, many thought it was a Rolex because the author is a great fan of the brand and always claimed it in his works.
However time has lifted the veil on this mystery and we know today that it was a Gruen Precision, then in the rest of the film we see a Rolex Submariner without date (reference 6538) mounted on a black leather strap. For the anecdote, the actor Sean Connery would own the same model in his private collection. The actor, long a fan favorite, played the role of our agent during several missions.
In the second installment "From Russia with Love" we see him once again wearing the Rolex Submariner (6538), you will say that he has a cult following, but in "Goldfinger" a subtle change occurs.
This time we find James equipped with a Submariner on a Nato bracelet too narrow for his luggage. One of the particularities of this film is the fact that for the first time, another character, Pussy Galore is equipped with a Rolex GMT Master (reference 6542) which is part of the mythical watches of the aviators, our agent will no longer be the only one to wear luxury watches.
The advent of modified watches
In "Thunderball", released in 1965, Sean Connery once again wears the Submariner 6538 to tell the time, but a new character, Q, who is introduced to the public for the first time, gives James a modified Breitling Top Time. This one is equipped with a contamination indicator and thus allows him to locate the atomic bombs, making the watch pass from the status of accessory to that of working tools. In addition, we have the pleasure of being able to admire a Navtimer 806 on the wrist of the pilot François Derval.
In "You only live twice" released in 1967, the watches of our agent are not easily identifiable, so we suppose that the choice was made to dress the agent with a Rolex Submariner 6538, or a golden Gruen, without any certainty.
The first 4 parts have highlighted the Rolex Submariner 6538, a model that has become a classic among collectors. It is made of a 38mm Oyster case, recognizable thanks to its larger crown than the other Submariner references. We also note the absence of a crown guard for this model produced between 1954 and 1964, a water resistance guaranteed at 300m. The reason for the choice of a Submariner is that diving was at the time part of the activities reserved for the daring and adventurers. This fits perfectly with the character of 007 who gave his name to the model, indeed it is nicknamed "James Bond Submariner" and it will not be the last.
The introduction of a new Submariner
In "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" a new face for Bond appears, George Lazenby. And this was his only participation in the role of 007. Who says new faces includes new models of Submariner and this time, it is the 5513 which makes its appearance on the wrist of our agent. We will also see him wearing a Rolex Chronograph 6238 Pre Daytona.
In "Diamonds are Forever" released in 1971, the franchise surprises us again by calling once again on Sean Connery for a last film as 007. Moreover, the second surprise in this film is simply the absence of the famous accessory on the wrist of James Bond. This episode will be the only one of the franchise where we absolutely do not see our agent wearing a timepiece during a single moment of the film.
A major turning point for James Bond watches ?
The 1973 film "Live and Let Die" marks a fundamental break with the first installments. First of all, the actor changed. Sean Connery left his place to Roger Moore. The latter will be equipped in this opus with a Hamilton Pulsar P2 29 00, while waiting for his Submariner to be repaired by Q. The latter will even be improved and will benefit from gadgets, including a circular saw allowing the agent to free himself from his bonds when he uses the magnet, the indexes of the dial of the bezel become blood red. As for the saw, it is deployed by pressing on the glass or by rotating the dial.
A year later, the franchise released "The Man with the Golden Gun" and we can see the 5513, the Submariner of James Bond in this opus. Bond's enemy, Francisco Scaramanga, a gold enthusiast, owns a Rolex Cellini. King Midas, emblematic watch of the collection inspired by the King Midas, 96 30. We will not note any improvement made to the Submariner in this opus.
Rolex's dominance ends as Seiko's success begins
"The Spy Who Loved Me" 1967 symbolizes a new era for the franchise, the company is modernizing. We can note the appearance of a digital watch on the wrist of our agent. It is a Seiko DK 00106 74 5009 which was chosen. It has been modified by Q of course, and allows him to receive messages from MI6. Unlike the movie "Diamonds are forever" this one is different because of the following particularity, we can see the watch on the wrist of our agent during almost all the movie.
In "Moonraker", 2 years later, our agent finds himself in space for his mission. He is then assisted by a Seiko M 354 Memory Bank Calendar. Benefiting from a charge detonator provided by Q. One of the highlights of this film is that we see James swimming with his watch while this model was not waterproof. It was not until 1980 that the Japanese brand launched its first model that could go up to 100 meters, far from the performance yet exceptional Rolex at the time.
The partnership with the giant Seiko continues, it is in "For Your Eyes Only" that it provides a H357 5040. The main improvement to this model is that our agent can receive written or voice messages from MI6. The previous one only allowed him to receive messages. In addition, the watch has a dual analog and liquid crystal display at the top of the dial. We also have the possibility to see him wearing a Seiko 7549 7009.
On arrival on the screens of "Octopussy" we find Roger Moore again with a Seiko this time, a G 755 sport 100 equipped with a GPS tracker allowing him to follow a Fabergé egg that has been implanted with a GPS chip.
Our agent will also use a second watch provided by MI6. This time, it will be a Seiko T 001 5019 with a dial receiving the video of a spy camera. The scene showing us the particularity of this watch has become memorable and would surely make today many debates because the agent uses the cleavage of a female agent to check the quality of the camera.
The last appearance of Roger Moore as 007 will be in "A View to a Kill" released in 1985. During his last role, we can see him using three watches of the Japanese brand.
The model that our agent will mainly wear in this film will be the Seiko 7A28 7020 SPR007. We will then see him briefly wearing the H 558 500 SPW 001, as well as a 6923 8080 SPD 094.
An attempt to revive our agent's watches?
In "The Living Daylights" released in 1987, Roger Moore gives way to Timothy Dalton, who will be seen for the first time with a watch brand TAG Heuer, a Night dive more precisely the 980 031. This will be the only appearance of this brand in the franchise.
In "Licence to Kill" the actor takes over the role. But this time, we have the surprise to see him again, with a Rolex Submariner this time one with date, the 16610. This will be the last Rolex worn by the British agent.
From Rolex to the emergence of OMEGA.
Timothy Dalton gave way to Pierre Brosnan, who made his James Bond debut in "Goldeneye" in 1995. This also marked the beginning of the collaboration between the franchise and the OMEGA brand, which is still going strong today.
This collaboration begins with a Seamaster Professional Diver 300M reference 2541.80.00, in this film, the watch will also be modified by MI6, allowing it to integrate a laser and a detonator.
The story between OMEGA and the franchise continues with the Seamaster Professional Diver 300M 2531.80.00 which is a direct evolution of the one featured in "Goldeneye". It will be chosen on screen among multiple watches of collection, including a Cartier Santos. It was also equipped with a charge detonator.
For his third interpretation in "The World is Not Enough" Pierce Brosnan will benefit from a Seamaster Professional Diver 300M (ref 2531.80.00), the same as in the previous film. However, the watch will be much more modified. A grappling system associated with a winch will be added and it will also be equipped with a powerful light.
The revival of the franchise with Daniel Craig?
In 2006, the franchise offers a complete renewal by breaking with the chronological order established previously. It makes the choice to give Bond a tougher face, while keeping the Playboy side of the character. For his first appearance Daniel Craig will introduce a brand new Seamaster, the Planet Ocean, which is very recent at the time, reference 2900.50.91. We will also see him wearing another OMEGA, it is a Seamaster Professional Diver 300M co-axial. 2220.80.00. In a scene that has become cult now, Lynd will confuse a Rolex with an OMEGA and Bond will gently put it back in its place by telling him that no, it's not a Rolex, it's an OMEGA.
In "Quantum of Solace" Daniel Craig will again wear a Planet Ocean, but this time it's a 2201.50.00. This allows OMEGA to continue the launch of its new diver, which is closer to a Sea-Dweller.
"Skyfall" released in 2012, will be the last opus of the saga where we will see a Planet Ocean reference, 184.108.40.206.01.001 and when Bond needs to spend time in the MI6 offices for tests we will see him wearing a Seamaster Aqua Terra reference 220.127.116.11.03.003. One of these watches was specially designed for the film and subsequently sold for almost 200,000€ in 2012. The Planet Ocean features a titanium case opposite the stainless steel case of the serial model.
In "Spectre" The successor of Q, then entrusts him a Seamaster 300 that he will wear on a NATO bracelet striped gray and black (The Nato bracelet is a reference to the film "Goldfinger" hence the nickname of NATO James Bond, the steel buckle is engraved 007). The brand will offer this model in a limited edition Spectre (steel on NATO bracelet) 7007 copies sold only.
This watch is a perfect reference to the former watches of our agent. Indeed, the Seamaster 300 contains a bomb that explodes 60 seconds later, when Bond activates it we notice that the indexes of the dial turn red, which is a nod to the Submariner of 1973 of "Live and let die".
In "No Time to Die" released at the end of 2021, we discover a fantastic Daniel Craig for his last participation, he is still equipped by OMEGA, but this time a Seamaster Diver 300M Master Chronometer (18.104.22.168.01.001). This watch has the British Army logo on the bottom of its dial. It was designed to pay tribute to the period when our agent was in the army before becoming a spy. The watch is mounted on a Milanese mesh bracelet.
For almost 70 years, we have been able to watch our favorite spy accomplish various missions. We have noticed James' taste for beautiful things and particularly for watches. They are not intended to be simply decorative accessories in his eyes.
As a reminder, our agent started wearing Rolex watches from 1962, until 1977 when the Japanese manufacturer Seiko dazzled us with digital models. The collaboration between the Japanese brand and the franchise ended in 1987. Leaving then the only appearance of a Tag Heuer in the franchise, finally the collaboration with OMEGA will begin in 1995 in Golden Eye and it is still going on.
What moral can we draw from all this information? Well, simply that our agent is a man of taste, a watch lover, who takes care to adapt it to any circumstance.
And you, what is your favorite watch among those used by our agent during the story? Tell us in comments.