His name is Bond, James Bond, and his service number is certainly the best-known combination of three digits in the world: 007. He is considered to be as powerful as he is tasteful: fast cars, tasty drinks and the hearts of the ladies always surround him. Watches have also been a part of the film since the first movie “James Band chases Dr. No” to the permanent equipment of the smart British agent.
In 1962 he appeared on the screen for the first time and has not left it to this day. Regardless of whether Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Daniel Craig or Pierce Brosnan, George Lazenby or Timothy Dalton play the edgy character - he drinks his martini shaken and not stirred. Meanwhile, his highest superior has been one and the same since then: Queen Elizabeth II - British monarch since 1952. James Bond was born that year - on paper. During his honeymoon in 1952, Ian Fleming wrote the first novel about the adventures of the charming MI6 agent. From the beginning, Fleming goes into details that other spy novels miss. Bond has a taste for cars and fashion, and in the second novel “Live and Let Die” from 1954, his wristwatch also gets a face. The manufacturer is Rolex, the model is an Explorer – no coincidence. Fleming himself wears an Explorer with the reference 1016 on a riveted Oyster bracelet. The Explorer with its luminous numbers is ideal for use as an agent's watch, writes Fleming in the 1963 book “On Her Majesty's Secret Service”.
In the first film, Sean Connery plays the agent and wears a matching watch: A Rolex Submariner without a date display with the reference 6358 with a leather strap is later attributed to Sean Connery's private collection - an endearing detail of the Bond myth. The first films did not have the budgets and advertising partners that are common today. Over the years, however, the agent has shown himself to be just as changeable when it comes to watches as he is with his female companions, especially since his choice of watches is later influenced by the numerous gadgets from the “Q-Branch”. Because not every watch is suitable as a circular saw on your wrist!
After 1962, James Bond appears on the screen almost every year - these are his watches:
1963: In “From Moscow With Love”, the second film adventure, Bond remains loyal to the brand and wears a Rolex Submariner Ref. 6538 . The watch is simply a watch - there is no technology built in yet that the agent can use to get out of awkward situations.
1964: In “Goldfinger” Sean Connery again wears a Rolex Submariner Ref. 6538, this time on a fabric strap that is significantly too narrow. This is evidenced by one of the most famous close-ups of the clock, in which Bond observes an explosion. Pussy Galore – the pilot with the politically incorrect name – also relies on a Rolex and wears a GMT Master, Ref. 6542 .
1965: In “Fireball,” James Bond drives on two tracks and wears his Rolex Submariner. A converted Breitling Top Time, which was sold at a flea market in England in 2013 for 25 pounds - "undercover", so to speak - serves as the Geiger counter. A short time later, the watch was sold at auction for a six-figure amount.
1967: “You only live twice” – this applies to James Bond like no other: In this adventure, the agent fights against the villain Blofeld. He is accompanied by a Gruen Precision 510 in yellow gold, which, according to legend, also came from Sean Connery's private possession.
1969: George Lazenby, a new Bond, enters the stage. However, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” is also his only appearance – crowned by the only known wedding of James Bond. Diana Rigg – known from the British crime series “With Umbrella, Charm and Bowler Hat” – becomes Mrs. Bond, even if only for a few hours. Until the quick divorce through murder, Bond is accompanied by a Rolex Submariner with an Oyster bracelet (Ref. 5513), a Submariner Ref. 6358 and a Rolex Chronograph (Ref. 6238) on an Oyster bracelet.
1971: Sean Connery, an old acquaintance, returns to the screen - in "Diamond Fever" the agent devotes himself to the beautiful stones, which are known to be "a girl's best friend". There is almost never a watch on the arm - connoisseurs assume it is the same Gruen Precision from “You Only Live Twice”.
1973: It is his first appearance as Bond, and the beginning of a new era with more humor. Roger Moore becomes an agent, wearing a Rolex Submariner 5513 with practical additional functions on his arm. For the first time, the watch includes two of the Q-Branch gadgets. If desired, it works as a circular saw and cuts through bonds; a built-in magnet deflects projectiles and helps to undress the ladies. At the same time, Bond also wears one of the power-guzzling LED watches from Pulsar, which marked the beginning of quartz watches with distinctive red digital numbers.
1974: Exotic islands on the coast of Thailand are the backdrop for “The Man with the Golden Gun”, today the archipelago is only known as the James Bond Islands. Bond adversary Scaramanga, played by Christopher Lee, wears a heavy gold band watch from an unknown manufacturer. Roger Moore of course has another Rolex Submariner with the reference 5513.
1977: In “The Spy Who Loved Me,” East and West collide – quite literally when you consider the game between Major Anya Amasova and James Bond. A Rolex GMT Master ensures precise time display, while a digital watch from Seiko – the model 0674 LC – transmits important messages from agent boss “M” on an embossed strip.
1979: In “Moonraker – Top Secret” Bond and the villain henchman Beißer go into space. The only thing that can help here is a Seiko M354 Memory Bank Calendar , which hides an explosive secret and blows the way for the agent and his charming companion.
1981: In his fifth Bond adventure “A View to a Kill,” Roger Moore goes diving in the Aegean Sea. He is accompanied by two Seiko watches, one the digital-analog Seiko H357 Duo Display , and one Seiko 7549-7009 “Golden Tuna” Professional Quartz Diver, water-resistant to 600 meters.
1983: With the title “Octopussy,” the film causes a stir in prudish England. In fact, James Bond uses a Seiko TV watch to focus on the charms of an assistant of agent outfitter Q. The Seiko G757 Sports 100 also includes a tracking device with which Bond hunts the Fabergé egg.
1985: James Bond reads “A View to a Kill” on the Golden Gate Bridge. The villain Zorin wears a Rolex, while Roger Moore as Bond diligently switches between four watches during his final appearance. These include a Seiko SPR007 7A28-7020 , a quartz chronograph with a white dial. Also on display are a Seiko H558-500 SPW001 diving watch and a bicolor Seiko 6923-8080 SPD09. In one scene, a Rolex comes onto the agent's wrist: a Rolex Datejust .
1987: After his first film “The Breath of Death”, critics called the actor Timothy Dalton “Rambond” - after Roger Moore, the actor brought more harshness to the films. Today the two films with Dalton are considered classics. In the first film, Bond wears a TAG Heuer Professional Night-Dive reference 980.031 .
1989: Only one agent has a “license to kill.” In Timothy Dalton's second and final adventure as Bond, a Rolex Submariner Ref. 16610 also plays the leading role for the best actor in the chronometry category.
1995: Pierce Brosnan was the charming detective Remington Steele, bringing charm and elegance to the role of James Bond. Tina Turner sang the theme song for “GoldenEye”, and for the first time Omega is sponsoring the Bond films and is providing an Omega Seamaster Professional 300M in the quartz version (Ref. 2541.80). Q also installed a laser and an explosive charge.
1997: An Omega also plays the main ticking role in “Tomorrow Never Dies”. The reference 2531.80, an Omega Seamaster Professional 300M , serves the agent as a timepiece in all situations. The automatic chronometer could also remotely detonate a hand grenade.
1999: “The world is not enough” for a secret agent. In the fight against Elektra King and her helpers, Bond again uses the Omega Seamaster with the reference 2531.80. As a little extra, a radiant light source and a rescue rope with a catch hook were installed.
2002: Even in his fourth and final adventure, Pierce Brosnan remains loyal to the Omega Seamaster 2531.80 . In "Die Another Day", the chronometer saves him with an explosive charge that can be detonated remotely via the bezel. There is a powerful laser in the watch crown, which is of good use in the fight against opponent Gustav Graves.
2006: In “Casino Royale” Daniel Craig has his first assignment as an agent; in the film he switches between an Omega Seamaster Diver 300M (Ref. 2220.80) and a Seamaster Planet Ocean (Ref. 2900.50.91).
The icing on the cake is the dialogue between Vesper Lynd and Bond about the watch:
Vesper Lynd: Rolex?
James Bond: Omega.
Vesper Lynd: Beautiful.
2008: In “Quantum of Solace,” Bond seems to need a high degree of waterproofness. With an Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ref. 2201.50.00, the agent can dive up to 600 meters deep.
2012: In “Skyfall,” James Bond wears, among other things, a unique watch that was made for this film and was auctioned by Christie's in 2012 for almost 200,000 euros. The Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M is made of titanium, while the production model is made of stainless steel. The movement used is a caliber 8500. An Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Ref. 18.104.22.168.03.003 is also used in the film.
2015: In “Spectre” Daniel Craig wears an Omega Seamaster 300 with a vintage look, which even uses the NATO strap from the films with Sean Connery. The clock quotes a historical model from the 1960s of the last century. With an explosive function, it is more than just a timepiece. An Omega Aqua Terra can also be seen briefly in the film on Bond's wrist.
2020: It means waiting anxiously. In “No Time to Die” James Bond is portrayed for the last time by Daniel Craig. The film is scheduled to be released in German cinemas on November 12, 2020 and shows retired James Bond who is contacted by his old friend Felix Leiter. A new villain, a new watch: The Omega Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition was designed especially for the film and takes up vintage elements. A curved glass and tinted luminous material are just two features that represent the 42 millimeter watch in titanium.
The watches have changed in 25 films at least as much as the cars, the girls and even Bond himself. The watches also reflect the respective era - from robust mechanics to quartz and LED watches back to mechanical watches. What a real MI6 agent wears on his wrist will always be a secret. But one thing is certain: only he has a circular saw or a laser: his name is Bond, James Bond.