Is there a more iconic movie screen character than the suave and impeccable James Bond? Created by Ian Fleming, 007 is said to be the man all men aspire to be and all women wish they could be with.
Bond certainly exudes style and class. He has a taste for the finer things in life – and his timepieces are no exception. Let’s take a look at some of the watches James Bond has made iconic.
The Early Years (1962 – 1974)
This first selection comes from the first casino scene from Doctor No in 1962.
Rolex is the only brand of watches mentioned by Ian Fleming in his novels. Director Albert Broccoli saw it fit to honour this fact so in the first five films you’ll only see Sean Connery’s version of James Bond wearing this famous Swiss-made brand.
Firstly, The Submariner (circa $9,000) was the watch of choice. It has a 40mm case made of stainless steel, as is the bracelet, and the dome is made of sapphire crystal to resist wear and tear. The hands and markers are luminous for readability in low light. It has automatic movement on the inside.
By the time the film came out in 1962, the Submariner already had a reputation for being rugged and stylish – great for not attracting too much attention.
His had a tan leather strap in the movie, which did add an air of expensive design to it. Later on, in Goldfinger, you might notice he opts for a NATO strap instead. Real buffs can’t get over the fact that the fabric strap seems quite ill-fitting.
The 70s and 80s
Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun kept up the tradition with Rolex. Until Roger Moore stepped in for his turn as the super spy. Here we see a change over to Seiko, something die-hard Bond fans didn’t appreciate. But as the spy started picking up more and more interesting gadgets, his watches had to keep up.
During the late 70-80s, the watch market saw a rise in popularity for quartz movement. This almost killed off the art of crafting a mechanical movement, but luckily the purists didn’t let this happen. Moore’s version of Bond had to move with the times and that’s why digital innovator Seiko was chosen.
In Moonraker, we see James Bond sporting a Seiko M354. This Memory Bank Calendar watch can actually be picked up on auction sites even today for about $75. If you like retro digital-analogue dual-displays, you’re in luck.
Even to this day, the die-hard fans of the novels insist that Bond should only ever be seen with a Rolex because that’s all that’s ever mentioned in the books. Watch enthusiasts argued that an Omega suits him better.
In 1995 they were proved right. In Goldeneye, we see Bond with an Omega timepiece on his wrist – a brand associated with style and sophistication, not to mention the best quality and craftsmanship.
Next, we see Pierce Brosnan’s Bond wearing a Seamaster 300m ($3,500). This blue face watch has a matching bezel. The case is 42mm of stainless steel with a rubber wristband. The crystal dome protecting the face is sapphire. Inside, it’s powered by automatic movement. As you can tell by the name, it’s waterproof and perfect for any diving fans (or secret agents).
Daniel Craig has certainly picked up the mantle and sports a Seamaster Planet Ocean ($4,500). This watch has a black face and matching bezel. It’s chunkier than ever before, coming in with a case of 42mm in stainless steel. The bracelet is also the same material and the trademark sapphire crystal protects the face. Again, automatic movements power the watch.
In the more recent adventure, Spectre, Bond changed to an Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra ($4,000). This timepiece is a little more formal and slimmer, at 38mm. It has a stainless steel case and an alligator skin strap in black. It’s not quite as ready for the water, having half the resistance of the former. But, at 150m, who’s going to argue the toss?
Spoiler alert! The trailer for the 2020 Bond, No Time To Die sees Craig sporting a Seamaster Diver 300M special 007 edition. Omega planned this release around the movie ( Bond films are rife with product placement). At nearly $7,000 this 42mm titanium and black aluminium, superwatch comes in a delicious dark brown. It has a mesh bracelet that can be swapped for a NATO version in grey, brown or beige and has the iconic 007 emblem engraved right there on the loop.
Can I get a James Bond watch?
You can still purchase any of the watches mentioned here. Some are surprisingly budget-friendly. Some you may need to make some serious life changes in order to buy. You can pre-order the special 007 Omega before the movie is released and rock up to the premiere feeling like Bond himself.
If you’re like Bond and are in the market for something that is both functional, but luxury, you should check out our review of the Tag Heuer Connected Modular 41.