This post is an edited and expanded version of content first published on 21/06/2020.
What went from a style detail in of the mind of Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming, to a de facto film prop has ended up as a the biggest marketing campaign ever, selling thousands of watches over the past five decades. If there has been one constant throughout the long tenure of this iconic movie franchise, it has been a watch on the wrist of its protagonist.
In the watch community there is a passionate debate as to which brand is the “true” Bond watch, the Rolex Submariner or the Omega Seamaster.
Rolex beat out Omega in the early 1950s, even if Omega watches were officially supplied to the Royal Navy and the original Seamaster 300 even became the Ministry of Defence’s standard, with its sword hands and a fully hashed bezel.
In 1995, at the start of the Pierce Brosnan era, the story goes that costume designer Lindy Hemming chose Omega as she remembered seeing a Seamaster on the wrist of a relative who was a Royal Navy man. This led to a partnership that persists until today with the latest Omega, the Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition, a watch developed for the upcoming No time to die with input from actor Daniel Craig, who has played James Bond for the past 15 years.
You can find an outstanding timeline of all the Bond movie watches in this recent article from Watch Time.
Craig clearly embraced his role as 007 judging from the criteria he provided for an ideal secret agent’s watch as this is the first time that titanium has been seen on a Bond watch. Its light weight, corrosion resistance and anti-magnetic qualities clearly make sense for a man who spends time in and under water and frequently around sensitive electronics. Craig also suggested some of the vintage cues we see on the watch: the vintage lume colour, tropical dial and bezel, both mimicking decades of patina and the “broad arrow” mark, identifying it as property of the British MoD.
All in all, this might very well be the most “Bond” of Bond watches as it fits perfectly with his “blunt instrument” persona. Whether the MoD would spend over €8,000 for a watch to be worn on the field by its most irresponsible agent is another matter, but then, let’s not forget the Aston Martinthat Mr Bond routinely destroys…