There’s always been a strong partnership between James Bond and luxury watches. With the release of the latest Bond film Spectre, I thought it would be good to take a look at a couple of the classics: but also the less well-known and original Bond watches. Then I got thinking about what would happen if some of Bond’s greatest villains wore luxury watches too, and that’s when things really got interesting…
Daniel Craig’s first outing as Bond wasn’t Omega’s first time in the legendary tux: that honour goes to Goldeneye and Pierce Brosnan. But when the new-look rugged Bond hit our screens in 2006, we’d finally found an actor with the bulk to carry off the Seamaster’s chunky lines.
The Omega Seamaster Professional Co-Axial worn by Bond in Casino Royale is a Diver 300m with a textured blue face and polished blue bezel. He also sports a Planet Ocean Big Size, in steel on a rubber strap. You have to look good when you’re taking down international terrorists. It’s practically the law.
Hamilton Pulsar P2 2900 LED
Live and Let Die (1973)
Hamilton is the brand most famous for gracing the wrist of Elvis Presley, who loved the space-age styling’s of the Ventura and even wore it in his own movie Blue Hawaii. The luxury watch manufacturer’s signature futuristic look is seen again in Live and Let Die, in which Roger Moore’s Bond wears one of its most important creations.
The Hamilton Pulsar P2 2900 is a historic piece for watch enthusiasts because of the technology powering its digital display. At the time, LEDs were the last word in digital watches: just a few years later, they’d be completely supplanted by LCD. Bond’s Hamilton shows the time on command, the diodes lighting up in red on the Pulsar’s blank screen. That’s pretty cool, but the best thing about the Pulsar is how you change the hours and minutes. The watch comes with a magnet, fitted inside its clasp. To change hours or minutes, you pull out the magnet and hold it to the case back.
Oh, and in 1973 a Pulsar cost the same as a Rolex Submariner. That would make it retail for around £4k, if it still existed today.
Seiko 0674 LC
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Now, we can access the entire world on a smartphone (which is also a watch), from emails to iMessages to status updates and Tweets. But in the late 1970s, when Roger Moore teamed up with Russian beauty Anya Amasova to defeat the evil Stromberg, receiving a message on a digital watch was a pretty awesome thing to do.
Bond’s Seiko 0674 LC is able to spit out ticker-tape requests from M – usually peremptory requests to get to HQ as soon as possible. It also has month, date and year displays, and is presented in a very 70s plastic box lined with crushed fabric. The real Bond model (0674 5009) is extremely rare – there’s only one left in the world.
So those are some of the more interesting watches Bond has worn: but what about watches he could have worn – or his most iconic villains, for that matter? Here’s where I imagine classic Bond movies with a few extra luxury watches making an appearance.
Bond’s biggest, baddest adversary deserves an equally massive watch. They don’t come much heftier than a Hublot Classic Fusion, which is available in a big 45mm titanium case. It’d have to be titanium, just in case the legendarily grumpy Jaws decided to get a bit bitey. Those metal gnashers can cut through anything, but maybe the Fusion’s solid caseback would stop him for a second or two!
Jean Todt, like Bond, is legendary for his association with fast cars. Unlike James Bond, however, Todt who is the president of the FIA (and formally in charge of The Scuderia / Ferrari F1 Team, and prior to that Team Peugeot Sport) is supremely concerned with road safety. Richard Mille created the RM58-01 World Timer Jean Todt to help his friend navigate the exact local time in every major city on earth, ensuring his packed diary stays up to date as he travels around promoting better driving and stricter road rules.
Bond would probably find the world timer function very useful. What do you get the man who’s broken more road safety rules than anyone else in the world? A luxury watch designed for the man who made them. The secret agent would appreciate the irony.
RM69 Erotic Tourbillon – Alternative luxury watch for James Bond
If there’s one watch you could get Bond for his birthday, it’s this one. When Richard Mille reached the number 69 spot in his catalogue of luxury watches, he obviously decided to interpret it literally – by creating one of just a handful of modern erotic watch movements.
Granted, the RM69 isn’t quite as risqué as some of its historic counterparts (or even its modern ones), but it’s still got everything Bond could want from a novelty number. Now he doesn’t even have to use those trademark pickup lines: he can just adjust the RM69 movement and flash the watch face at the ladies.
It makes sense for Auric Goldfinger’s loyal henchman to have a gold watch. I’ve given him an Audemars Piguet Millenary 4101, which features an 18 carat rose gold case and a hand-stitched brown alligator strap. The combination of leather and gold works perfectly with Oddjob’s tailored suit and lethal hat. He’ll look the picture of suavity, until he takes your head off with a single flick of that metal-reinforced brim.
Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time – Ideal villain pairing for “Sir Gustav Graves”
Die Another Day (2002)
Gustav Graves is a man of taste and style. When we first meet him in Die Another Day, Graves is anxious to impress with his membership of the Blades Club (M’s exclusive club, the best in London) and his mastery of fencing. So adding a Patek Philippe Aquanaut to the package definitely finishes it off perfectly.
Like Graves, the Aquanaut comes from a family with a long and impressive pedigree. Patek Philippe is one of the oldest and most collectable luxury watch brands in the world. Usefully, the Aquanaut is also water resistant to 120m – perfect for messing around in villain’s lairs – and has an easy to read local time hand. If you’re trying to take over the world with a doomsday satellite, you need to know what time it is in Korea.
Cartier Santos 100 Chronograph Diamonds – Ideal villain pairing for “Zao”
Die Another Day (2002)
The iconic case-shape of the Cartier Santos 100 Chronograph ‘Diamonds’ is accentuated by dozens of inlaid 17ct atones – on the bezel, around the caseback and even on the crown. The watch goes perfectly with Zao himself, who is also liberally inlaid with diamonds thanks to Bond’s blown cover and exploding case of gems. Zao won’t have long to look at his new watch, though: his destiny involves another consignment of diamonds, this time in the form of a chandelier inconveniently falling on his head. Ouch.
Breitling Emergency – Alternative luxury watch for James Bond
If ever there was a fellow fond of getting into scrapes, that fellow is James Bond. If he isn’t going off-grid to avenge the death of a lover, he’s getting tortured by Mads Mikkelson in Montenegro. Frankly, the world’s most famous secret agent needs a more reliable way of getting in touch with people when the sh*t hits the fan.
The Breitling Emergency is the world’s first luxury watch fitted with a dual Personal Locator Beacon. Get stuck on top of a mountain, or stranded in a madman’s lair, and all you have to do is activate the beacon and wait for rescue. The Emergency even comes in a ‘Night Mission’ model made from black titanium, which Breitling says is perfect for ‘the riskiest operations’. That’s Bond sorted, then. He’d just better be sure he really needs rescuing when he deploys the antenna: once the beacon is deployed, he’s liable for the full costs of the search operation. I suppose he can chalk it up to expenses, though what M’s going to say when he gets back I wouldn’t like to guess!
Is there a luxury watch you think would be perfect for a Bond villain, or James Bond himself? Share it with Official Watches on Facebook and Twitter.