James Bond creator Ian Fleming was known for adding an extra touch of realism to 007’s adventures 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 the release of Goldfinger in 1964 when the producers saw that Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 had become almost as much a star of the show as Sean Connery thanks to its ejection seat, rocket launchers and revolving number plates.
After that, gadgets became de rigueur and ‘Q branch’ was put to work modifying one watch after another as trick timepieces became as integral to the plot as car chases and megalomaniacs.
In Thunderball (1965) Q provided Bond with a Breitling Top Time that doubled as a Geiger counter; Live and Let Die saw Roger Moore’s Bond issued with a Rolex modified with a ‘hyper-intensified magnetic field’ and a buzz saw bezel, while The Spy Who Loved me had the hero wearing a Seiko equipped with a built-in teleprinter.
Seikos became official issue for the ’80s films, too, but that all changed in 1995 when Pierce Brosnan took on the role in Goldeneye. By then, the huge commercial value of placing product with Bond was recognised – so 007 got a BMW car 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 watch to mark each new Bond release.
What it will unveil for No Time to Die (due out in the spring) is yet to be revealed – but, while we’re waiting, the brand has launched a special version of its Seamaster Diver 300M to commemorate 50 years since the release of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – in which George Lazenby made his sole appearance as 007.
The watch is ‘limited’ to 7,007 examples and features a black ceramic dial decorated with the rifling pattern of a gun barrel. The side of the 42 mm case carries a gold plate engraved with the respective edition number, and the luminous hour marker at 10 o’clock hides a ’50’ that only becomes visible in the dark.
The transparent back, meanwhile, is decorated with the Bond coat of arms that also adorns a travel pouch which is supplied with the watch, along with a rubber strap, an alternative leather one and a tool with which to change them.
This isn’t the first time Omega has celebrated a Bond half-century, however – back in 2012, it marked 50 years since the release of the original 007 film, Dr. No. (in which Sean Connery wore a Rolex Submariner Reference 6358) with the launch of 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 3,007 examples respectively.
And, subsequent to the launch of the OHMSS limited edition, Omega has also announced a James Bond set comprising a steel Seamaster 300 and an 18 carat gold one, both of the same overall design as the OHMSS watch. Each carries an edition plate on the side of its case and each set is supplied in a special Globe-Trotter suitcase containing an interchangeable steel bracelet and two black and grey striped military-style straps.
The sets will be limited to 257 examples costing £33,910, while the Omega Seamaster 300M James Bond Limited Edition in steel costs £5,220.