WatchTime Wednesday: Watches of James Bond 007 – the Omega Seamasters
Spy watches had always been intriguing people, from the real ones used during the Cold War to those used by actual secret agents and special forces, such as the Stocker & Yale Sandy 490 Series I. Talking about famous spy watches, you’ll immediately think about a Rolex Submariner or an Omega Seamaster. Why? Because of the one who has ‘the license to kill’ and loves Martinis (shaken, not stirred), a.k.a. THE spy: Bond, James Bond. Together with our friends of WatchTime we present you all James Bond watches that were made by Omega.
He doesn’t just have a license to kill; he also has a license to tell time. Bond’s creator Ian Fleming made sure to give the world’s most famous secret agent a wristwatch in his novels. In the eleventh volume (there are a total of 14 original editions), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which was published in 1963, Fleming offers the reader a very precise description of this watch. James sees a “heavy Rolex Oyster Perpetual on a metal watch bracelet as he awakes in the middle of the night.” And Fleming remained with this watch brand in all future Bond adventures.
When 007 finally made it onto the silver screen in 1962, he made sure to wear his watch. In Doctor No, Bond, played by Sean Connery, wears a Rolex Submariner, like you can see in our previous WatchTime Wednesday article about the history of the Submariner.
At that time Bond still had to do without any of Q’s additional features that would later rescue the clever daredevil with a fondness for martinis (shaken, not stirred) from many life-threatening situations.
James Bond would receive his first watch gadget in 1965’s Thunderball. His watch featured a built-in Geiger counter that he could use to measure radioactivity levels in his surroundings. The watch was made by Q and does not bear a manufacturer’s name.
In later 007 films the MI6 agent frequently moved on from one watch brand to the next – but not quite as often as he found a new woman.
In Live and Let Die, the Bond watch features a buzz saw with which 007 is able to free himself from his shackles. An integrated magnet also diverts bullets. The watchmaker is not named, but Rolex is thanked in the credits, so it can be assumed that the watch came from the Swiss manufacturer.
From then on Bond routinely received chronographs from Q that featured diverse gadgets. Some were made by Rolex, some came without a brand name, and several were made by Seiko (The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, A View to a Kill).
James Bond has worn watches by Omega since 1995’s Goldeneye. In that film, Bond, played by Pierce Brosnan, wears a watch with a remote detonator for bombs and a laser beam to help him escape from an armored train. This Omega Seamaster Professional featured a blue dial and quartz caliber. The watch was launched by the Swatch Group in 1993 as a professional diving watch that was water-resistant up to 300 meters.
One secret agent episode and two years later Bond wore the chronometer version of the Goldeneye Seamaster. In Tomorrow Never Dies, Bond opts for a Seamaster Professional with an automatic caliber that saves his life with an integrated detonator.
The silver screen hero also saves the world with an Omega Seamaster Professional on his wrist in The World Is Not Enough (1999) and Die Another Day (2002). In the former, Bond once again finds himself in deep trouble. Literally. He is buried under 30 feet of snow by an avalanche. But Bond has his Omega. In the bezel hides a wire with a grappling hook. Bond takes aim for a secure target. With the press of a button the hook flies from the crown and the bezel whirls at lightning speed. Once the grappling hook is firmly anchored, the bezel begins turning in the opposite direction, lifting 007 out of the avalanche.
In Die Another Day, Bond must face off against industrial giant Gustav Graves, a villain working on a satellite weapon. Bond’s watch features a remote detonator in place of the helium valve, which is operated by turning the bezel. The British secret agent could also activate a laser from the crown of the watch.
Bond fans love these technical gadgets and have been known to ask their watchmakers if they have any Bond watches.
2006’s Casino Royale not only introduces us to a new Bond actor — Brosnan left the franchise and was replaced by Daniel Craig, who has been portraying a new, harder Bond on the silver screen ever since — it is also the first film in which 007 wears two different watches. One of Bond’s timepieces is an Omega Seamaster Professional with a co-axial escapement. With its blue dial, unidirectional rotating bezel, screw-down crown, helium escape valve and 300-meter water resistance, the James Bond watch looked just as good as the star actor.
The second watch that Agent 007 wears in Casino Royale is a Seamaster Planet Ocean measuring 45.5 mm in diameter. It also contains an Omega Caliber 2500 with co-axial escapement. Water-resistant to 600 meters, it allows Bond to get into even more dangerous situations — including underwater — and get back out again. It can be seen in the first part of the movie before making way for the Seamaster Diver.
Omega launched both of these watches as limited versions when the film was released. Both models had several definitively Bond features, such as the 007 logo at the tip of the seconds hand and on the caseback and clasp.
Bond ceased wearing a blue Omega Seamaster Professional in 2008, when Craig’s next Bond film, Quantum of Solace, hit theaters.
Britain’s most famous secret agent wore a Seamaster Planet Ocean in that film instead. This 42-mm watch is somewhat smaller than the Planet Ocean seen in Casino Royale. The watch’s design is reminiscent of the Seamaster watches from the 1950s. Omega introduced a similar model prior to the release of the film. It featured the 007 logo on the seconds hand, a special caseback and the film title on the dial.
Omega then also launched a Seamaster Professional to coincide with the movie’s release: the Seamaster Diver 300M James Bond 007 Collector’s Piece. The dial on this limited James Bond edition is black. The 41 mm watch also features the 007 logo at the tip of the seconds hand. This Omega Seamaster caliber 2500, with co-axial escapement, is water-resistant to 300 meters.
The watch brand from Bienne, Switzerland launched a special edition of the Omega Seamaster to celebrate 50 years of James Bond movies. The limited Classic Seamaster Professional Co-axial 300M has a diameter of 41 mm and is powered by the chronometer-certified, automatic Caliber 2507 with co-axial escapement.
In addition to the 007 logo on the dial, this James Bond watch also features an opening on the back of the case that allows an open view of the rotor. This, together with the design of the caseback, creates a stylish gun-barrel appearance.
Omega also released a limited-edition Planet Ocean just in time for the most recent Bond film, 2012′s Skyfall. It is water-resistant to 600 meters and features a helium outlet valve and a unidirectional rotating ceramic bezel. The 007 logo sits atop the dial at the 7 o’clock position and on the stainless steel clasp. This Bond watch is powered by Caliber 8507 with a co-axial escapement, silicon spirals and a certified chronometer. A sapphire glass bottom offers a view of both the movement and the rotor, which features a “Skyfall 007” engraving.
Christie’s put the watch worn by Daniel Craig during the filming of “Skyfall” on auction on October 5, 2012. It was a titanium Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M – a one-of-a-kind model that is otherwise only offered in stainless steel. The 42-mm titanium watch sold for 194,000 euros (based on the conversion rate at the time). The watch features the chronograph Caliber 8500, with 60 hours of power reserve .
For the next movie that is due for 2015, we can expect the new antimagnetic caliber Master Co-Axial to be introduced. 007 will be able to catch a villain even in the CERN now. And this feature won’t be a Q’s gadget but one that you can use in your everyday life.
The original article was published on watchtime.com and is republished here with permission.