James Bond And His Omega WatchesBy Revolution
As we approach the (delayed) release of the last James Bond movie with Daniel Craig as the iconic 007, “No Time To Die,” we already know what timepiece our favorite spy will be wearing. It turns out that this is a watch that Daniel Craig has had a huge amount of input into, from its material to its colourway to its strap.
Before we all rush down to the movie theatre, let’s look back at the Omega watches that James Bond wore in previous films.
Pierce Brosnan’s first James Bond film and the franchise’s 17th outing, Goldeneye from 1995, is memorable for several reasons. First, you have Sean Bean — 20 years before he is immortalized as Ned Stark — playing Bond’s foe, former license to kill 006 now turned bad guy. Second, the world is introduced to the mesmerizing incandescent six foot tall hotness of the former Dutch fashion model turned actress known as Famke Janssen, who plays one the most amusingly-named Bond villains of all time, Xenia Onnatop. And third, (though it should really be first) we have the first appearance of the Omega Seamaster 300M (in this case a Quartz Professional ref. 2541.80 model) as Bond’s timepiece.
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World is Not Enough (1999) and Die Another Day (2002)
The Seamaster 300 Professional Chronometer ref. 2531.80 created the core foundation of what a James Bond Omega should be. Like its predecessor it featured a 41 mm brushed steel case, blue dial with distinct wave pattern. It should be mentioned that the hands of the watch are to me some of the most unique and compelling elements. They are big bold sword shaped hands, but made contemporary by being skeletonized. The use of luminous material is generous on these hands as it is in application on the dial. The seconds hand is very unique in that it is a lollipop hand — devotees of the Speedmaster CK2998 can tell you how special this is — with a red tip.
Casino Royale (2006)
In 2006, Bond was reimagined as young, brooding and morally ambiguous at times, surprisingly and touchingly romantic and a total badass.
Says Raynald Aeschlimann, “Because of our relationship with Eon Productions we immediately understood how incredibly important this movie was. So we decided to use two different watches in the film. The first is the Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M 45.5 mm ref. 2900.50.91 watch which you see in Uganda. This is a super robust oversized watch on a rubber strap (the first in a Bond film) and when you see Bond wearing this in the opening sequence you get the sense of a very purposeful, modern Bond. The second watch is the Seamaster Diver 300M ref. 2220.80 which is more of a classic Bond watch.”
This is worn later at the casino with Bond’s Brioni tuxedo and can be considered a bridge to past models. However while this may look like a classic Bond watch, it was equipped with the Co-Axial escapement making it far more performance-oriented than its predecessors. What is also important is that in Casino Royale the watch is a watch rather than a gadget, which fit in with the pared back yet hardcore realism of the new vision for Bond.
Quantum of Solace (2008)
Quantum of Solace is an interesting film in that it is the first Bond film since GoldenEye that doesn’t feature Bond’s traditional Seamaster 300M. Instead Daniel Craig wears a very handsome Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M 42mm ref 2201.50. It is also interesting to note the smaller case size of the watch selected, as if Omega foresaw the return of more classic proportions.
In Skyfall things get interesting in that Bond once again wears two watches. The first is the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M 42mm ref. 22.214.171.124.01.001 while the second is a somewhat surprising Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M ref. 126.96.36.199.03.003, sized at 38.5mm. At this point in horological culture we have a general return to much more classic sizing and it is nice to see this reflected in the Bond films, and from what I understand, Craig’s personal taste in watches. Interesting fact is that a unique titanium Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M was specially built for the movie, and the watch was later sold at the “50 years of Bond” sale by Christie’s.
Spectre has the honour of unveiling what is considered the coolest James Bond watch of all time: the Omega Seamaster 300 Master Chronometer Spectre Edition. The super cool vintage inspired 12-hour bezel, lollipop seconds hand, broad arrow hands, vintage lume, large luminous indexes and the iconic Bond NATO strap are what bring the whole watch to the next level.
Also of note is that for the first time in the history of the Daniel Craig reboot, the watch is a gadget. In this case it is a bomb that helps Bond escape Christoph Waltz’s automated lobotomy machine.
No Time to Die (2020)
For the timepiece used in the movie, Daniel Craig had a real hand in designing the watch. The first thing that he and the team at Omega decided on was to select titanium as the case material — in this instance, the same Grade 2 titanium that was used in the super collectable Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 45th anniversary watch.
For the first time, Omega has also created a mesh titanium bracelet, specifically a Milanese-style flat mesh bracelet that is both incredibly supple while looking badass in combination with the Seamaster 300’s famous iconography. The dial is matte, with massive chunks of luminous material which are accompanied by the famous skeletonized sword hands and red-tipped lollipop seconds hand we first saw in Bond’s Seamaster as far back as GoldenEye. Both the luminous material on the dial and hands as well as the diving scale in the watch’s aluminium bezel are a vintage ecru color that is reminiscent of tritium or radium that has aged over the years.
But the best part of the dial is found very subtly just above the ‘6’ o’clock index. And that is the existence of none other than the Broad Arrow marking that designates the watch as commissioned by the British Ministry of Defense. That makes this timepiece the only modern, non-military issued Omega to feature this incredible link with the brand’s faithful service to the British armed forces.