There’s a lot we know about Britain’s foremost fictional agent, James Bond. He likes his martinis shaken, not stirred, he has a penchant for Aston Martin cars and beautiful women and is usually hot on the heels of a criminal mastermind seeking world domination.
Aficionados of the Bond franchise are also keen observers of the gadgets produced by Q – Bond’s colleague in MI6 who loves to disguise clever devices or lethal weapons as harmless-looking pens or watches. Here are a few of the wonderful watches most loved by fans.
In 1995 James Bond wore the OMEGA Seamaster Quartz Professional 300M in the film GoldenEye. He uses the watch’s built-in laser, located on the bezel – a grooved ring holding the glass or plastic cover of a watch face – to cut through a steel plate, enabling the British spy and his attractive Russian companion, Natalya, to get away in the nick of time.
Tomorrow Never Dies
Besides being a communication device for James Bond to ‘phone home’ and chat to Moneypenny, by 1997 Bond’s watch incorporated a detachable detonator, which could be remotely controlled – particularly useful when Bond later set a trap using a glass jar and a grenade.
The World Is Not Enough
Two years on and the OMEGA Seamaster has built-in illumination so that when Bond and Elektra are caught in an avalanche, saved only by an inflatable ski jacket, the light from the timepiece’s dial brings a welcome respite from the darkness.
The fun is just beginning, when Bond finds himself trapped at the bottom of a nuclear bunker inspection pit in Kazakhstan, he is able to use the ultimate weapon the watch conceals – a miniature grappling hook – to escape.
Die Another Day
This was a special year for the Bond films and for OMEGA. In 2002, the 20th Bond film was made and it was the 40th anniversary of the franchise, which began in 1962 with the film Dr. No. A limited edition Seamaster was issued to mark the occasion and 007’s version had a handy detonator pin that activated explosives. By pressing on the watch face, Bond activated a laser that cut through the ice when he was, inevitably, trapped once again.
As the nature of how James Bond operated changed, so too did the role of the watch which in Casino Royale in 2006 was used simply as an elegant timepiece. In fact, two different models are admired by the ‘Bond girl’ Vesper – first a black-faced Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M, which later gave way to a blue OMEGA Seamaster 300M.
Quantum of Solace and Skyfall
In the latest Bond films the watch abilities were trimmed down. Viewers saw an OMEGA watch, the Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M appear on the agent’s wrist but with no hidden devices.
The range of elegant men’s watches on the wrist of James Bond is a permanent fixture on the 007 agent and on the big screen. What will he wear next? Only MI6 knows that.
Author: Samanta Anderson writes on behalf of Goldsmiths, a leading high street jeweller.
Photo Credit: Goldsmiths