James Bond’s watches: the most famous vintage models in film history
The longest-running of the active film franchises: the official James Bond series consists of no fewer than 25 films. Over the decades we have learnt many little things about this famous and elegant British spy, from the way he speaks to his principles, from the way he dresses to the accessories developed by Mr Q. Our attention, of course, cannot but be drawn in particular to James Bond’s watches, of which there have been so many in the various films. The most fascinating, and perhaps those that have remained most engraved in the collective imagination, are those worn in the first films that brought 007 to the big screen: let’s discover them together on a journey through time.
James Bond's watches in early films: from Sean Connery to Timothy Dalton
Let’s start with a clarification: the original James Bond, the one from Ian Fleming’s books, wore a Rolex. The writer himself wore a Rolex Explorer, but in the book he did not specify which model the spy wore. When it came to bringing James Bond to the cinema, therefore, the authors had no doubts: 007 had to wear a Rolex.
And so Sean Connery, who made his debut as James Bond in 1962’s Licence to Kill, wore in his first film appearance as the world’s most famous spy a Rolex Submariner 6538.
The Rolex Submariner 6538 is used in the various Bond films starring Sean Connery, fitted with straps of various colours and materials: leather in the first chapter of the saga, fabric later.
The watch, presented by Rolex in 1955, was immediately renamed ‘The James Bond Submariner‘, but in 1959 it stopped being produced and became a collector’s item.
In the following From Russia with Love the Rolex Submariner is replaced by a gargoyle-watch, from which a cable could be pulled out to strangle opponents. In Operation Thunder we then find a Breitling Top Time (with a Geiger counter function). There are also two episodes with Connery, however, in which no watch is presented.
The Age of Roger Moore
Once the Connery era had passed, it was George Lazenby‘s turn to impersonate James Bond for the sole film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, in which the Submariner returned. Then it will be the turn of the James Bond of the 1970s and 1980s, Roger Moore, who will continue to wear the Submariner in Live and Let Die as in The Man with the Golden Gun. For the films The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only, Moonraker, Octopussy and A View to a Kill there is a complete change, with the spy wearing Seiko watches, each time enriched with monitors, sensors and so on.
The James Bond impersonated by Timothy Dalton returns in the wake of previous tradition, with the Submariner.
James Bond and modern watches
From 1995 until 2002, James Bond was played by Pierce Brosnan, before being played by Daniel Craig from 2006 to the present day. In the films dedicated to the British spy, both actors wore Omega watches, each time equipped with detonators, grappling hooks and so on.