James Bond creator Ian Fleming was known for adding an extra touch of realism to 007 by peppering his books with brand names, and when it came to watches, Rolex and Girard-Perregaux were among them.
Never in the novels, however, were said watches equipped with features that were out of the ordinary – that only happened in the films, notably after 1964’s Goldfinger when Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 became almost as much a star of the show as Sean Connery thanks to its gadgetry. After that, gadgets became de rigueur and trick timepieces became integral to the plot.
In Thunderball (1965) Q provided Bond with a Breitling Top Time that doubled as a Geiger counter; Live and Let Die gave Roger Moore’s Bond a Rolex with a hyper-intensified magnetic field and a buzz saw bezel, while The Spy Who Loved Me featured a Seiko equipped with a teleprinter.
Seikos became official issue for the ’80s films, but that changed in 1995 when Pierce Brosnan took over in Goldeneye. By then, the huge commercial value of placing product with Bond was recognised – so 007 got a BMW and an Omega Seamaster (complete with laser cutter and explosive detonator). Omega has held the plum job ever since and, as of 2002, has produced a limited edition to mark each new Bond film.
What it will unveil for No Time to Die (out in the spring) is yet to be revealed – but, while we’re waiting, it has launched a special version of its Seamaster Diver 300M to commemorate 50 years since the release of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Only 7007 will be made, with a black ceramic dial decorated with the rifling pattern of a gun barrel. The side of the 42mm case carries a gold plate engraved with the edition number, and the luminous 10th hour marker hides a ‘50’ that only becomes visible in the dark. The transparent back is decorated with the Bond coat of arms.
This isn’t the first time Omega has celebrated a Bond half-century – in 2012, it marked 50 years of Dr No (in which Sean Connery wore a Rolex Submariner Reference 6358) with a Seamaster 300M featuring a red ‘50’ on the bezel, a dial diagonally embossed with 007 logos and the rifling design on the case back. Available in 41mm and 36mm case sizes, the editions were of 11,007 and 3007 examples respectively.
Omega Seamaster 300M James Bond Limited Edition. £5220, omegawatches.com
TW Steel (TW stands simply for The Watch) was launched in 2005 in a bid to capitalise on the trend for over-sized wristwear. Its enthusiasm for cars has brought several collaborations with racers, the latest of which is with Nigel Mansell. The back of this 48mm red, white and blue chronograph carries Mansell’s famous Red 5 and his 1992 world championship is commemorated on the dial. An appropriate 1992 are available.
TW Steel Nigel Mansell limited edition. £399. twsteel.com
Boston and Stewill is (another) independent brand that designs affordable watches in the UK using Swiss-made mechanisms. This new Tourer limited edition is powered by a Sellita automatic movement and is available in two designs, each limited to 100 watches. The first has a grey dial with orange hands for a ’70s look, while the second combines a blue dial with silver hands. Both have arched subdials reminiscent of a Bugatti radiator.
Boston and Stewill Tourer. £649.99, bostonandstewill.com
Motor Sport’s monthly watch review Precision is written by renowned luxury goods specialist Simon de Burton
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