While in the books and the early films James Bond was always a Rolex man, modern Bond wears Omega.
When Pierce Brosnan stepped into the shoes of the world’s most famous secret agent he also slipped his wrist into the bracelet of an Omega timepiece.
In Goldeneye Brosnan wore a blue-dialled quartz Seamaster Professional diving watch (above, model ref. 2541.80.00) and the brand has provided Bond’s watches ever since.
It wasn’t quite the same as the standard Omega spec though. Q-Branch had fitted a laser, which Bond used to escape from a train by cutting through the floor, and it was also functioned as a remote control detonator.
In his remaining three films he wore the Seamaster Professional with automatic movement (model ref. 2531.80.00).
You can buy the current Omega Seamaster with bi-axial escapement from UK watch specialist Ernest Jones. Click here for info.
Bond gets his watch in Tomorrow Never Dies from the Chinese secret service rather than Q-Branch. The watch has been fitted with a removable charge that can be detonated by the watch. Bond later uses this to good effect and reveals the whereabouts of the stealth boat.
Bond’s Omega in The World Is Not Enough has been modified to include a illumination and a grappling hook with fifty feet of cable. And a winch. How that all fits inside an Omega is anyone’s guess. And in Die Another Day the Omega again features a remote control detonator and laser beam.
When Daniel Craig took over from Pierce Brosnan for the reboot, films have been much darker and more serious. As a result the producers decided to largely do away with the gadgets.
But while his watches now lack gadgets, Bond gets to wear a greater number of watches. Rather than the two Seamaster models worn by Pierce Brosnan in four films, Daniel Craig gets to wear at least one new watch per film.
In Casino Royale Bond wears a blue Seamaster Professional (model ref. 2220.80.00) on a metal bracelet, an updated version of the watch worn by Pierce Brosnan. But he also wore a large size Planet Ocean (above, model ref. 2900.50.91) with a black face on a rubber strap, which is water resistant to 600 metres. In Quantum of Solace he stuck with a Planet Ocean (model ref. 2201.50.00), but on a metal bracelet.
Check out the current Planet Ocean watches here.
While 600 metres is impressive, it is way over-engineered. Recreational divers typically descend to 20 or 30 metres, with more advanced divers going down as far as 40 or 50 metres. Once you go below that depth you need specialised training and equipment, including special gas mixtures to avoid nitrogen narcosis and oxygen toxicity.
He wore a similar watch in part of Skyfall (model ref. 22.214.171.124.01.001), but also wore the Aqua Terra (above, model ref. 126.96.36.199.03.001). Omega has also released a limited edition version featuring James Bond’s family coat of arms.
In SPECTRE James Bond will wear an Omega Seamaster 300 on a bi-colour NATO strap (below, model ref. 188.8.131.52.01.001). The strap is inspired by the one worn by Sean Connery in Goldfinger and Thunderball, although that was tri-colour.
You can buy the limited edition Omega Seamaster 300 from Ernest Jones stores. It is also available to buy online here.
Until the films were released on Blu-Ray it was believed the strap was in two colours. Daniel Craig sometimes wears a Rolex Submariner on a bi-colour strap, mistakenly claiming it to be like that in Goldfinger.
Is this why Omega went for the two-tone strap for SPECTRE?
The watch featured in SPECTRE is an updated interpretation of a classic Omega dive watch launched in 1957. The new version includes co-axial escapement, black face and black ceramic bezel.
Rather than the usual uni-directional bezel found on diving watches, the bi-directional bezel can be used to keep track of the time in another country.
Photos: courtesy Omega.
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October 14th, 2015 at 01:40
As a watch collector and Bond fan, I have to say that Bond now comes across as some kind of Omega fanboy due to how often he wears a different watch. And I’m saying this as an Omega fanboy myself. I really wish they’d just give him one watch and stick to it. The way things stand now (or rather, since DC started playing Bond), it seems as though Omega uses each film as an advertisement for whatever model it wishes to promote. Having sold wristwatches for over ten years, I saw first hand just how effective this marketing was. In giving Bond a different watch (or two) in each film, it turns him into a Marketing Department’s dream, and pulls him further away from Fleming’s original concept of the character. In my view, anyway.
October 14th, 2015 at 02:06
Oh, and I meant to add something about the whole NATO strap ‘revisionism’ that’s going on with the Seamaster 300 model. When “Goldfinger” became available on VHS, and years later when watch collectors/Bond fans began to copy the Connery Rolex look from that film, it was determined that the strap on his watch had black and grey stripes. So that’s what a few NATO strap manufacturers started making. Then, with the arrival of DVD, it was found that the Goldfinger Strap was black, olive-green and a very thin red stripe in between. So strap manufacturers began making these. And then BluRay came along, with even better hi-def resolution and it turned out that the shade of olive-green was too light/too dark, depending on who you believe. Somebody then stated that the red stripe shouldn’t be there because it was an illusion (in the film) caused by digital artefact when you place green next to black, etc, etc. This makes some sense to me, and the real test would be to view a 35mm print of the film on the big screen. Even then, I’m not sure that would put an end to all the speculation.
So, Omega, in releasing a black and grey NATO strap, have basically messed with Bond canon by making a strap based on a misperception of colour.
It is all very, very confusing. Especially when you throw in the fact that Connery wasn’t wearing a NATO strap in “Goldfinger” because they hadn’t been developed yet in 1964, but was wearing a simple one-piece nylon strap that, I suspect, could be purchased at any newsstand or newspaper kiosk in the street back then.
You wouldn’t think that something as simple as a nylon watch strap could cause such heated ‘discussion’ on wristwatch forums.
October 24th, 2015 at 20:20
From seeing frame grabs of Goldfinger I think there is no way it is an artefact. And I remember in the 70s we used to wear tri-colour nylon straps.
October 25th, 2015 at 03:01
You may well be right. Next time Goldfinger is showing at my local revival cinema, I’ll go along. Gotta put this business to rest. It does appear, however, that the red stripe looks like a dark crimson shade. I did a write-up on Bond’s NATO straps not long ago, but the screen-caps that I found make it hard for me to definitively determine the strap’s true colours.
October 25th, 2015 at 08:02
I’ll have to watch carefully the next time Goldfinger screens at my local revival cinema. I did do a write-up on Bond’s NATO straps, but the screencaps that I found online showed a darkish red on the straps.
October 31st, 2015 at 15:17
The only way to know for sure involves a time machine and an invitation to the set ;)
November 4th, 2015 at 05:00
Well, ONE of those things is never gonna happen!