Why OMEGA and James Bond are the Ultimate Movie Double-Act
By Alfred Tong | 4 minute read
Of all the 007 accoutrement - his clothes, cars, gadgets and drinks - none excite quite the same level of discussion, analysis and obsession as his wristwatch. Indeed, James Bond’s watch does more than tell the time. It reflects the man’s taste, lifestyle and rank, and also, crucially, the times in which he lives. For instance, the louche suavity of Roger Moore’s Bond in 1973’s Live and Let Die gave us a Rolex Submariner with a unique complication – a powerful magnet which enabled him to deflect bullets and undo the zip of a Bond girl’s dress.
Today’s more enlightened Bond, played by Daniel Craig, who steps up as 007 for the fifth time in No Time To Die, wears an Omega Seamaster Co Axial Master Chronometer 007 2020 edition. The watch, which Craig also helped to design, is available on both a Nato strap and titanium steel mesh bracelet, and features a lighter, slimmer case than the original Seamaster – all the better to slip neatly under the cuff of a crisp white shirt. Subtle vintage touches such as a matte brown dial and bezel, aged lume, and a Grade 2 titanium case which will gain a pleasing patina over time, add character to a watch which reflects Craig’s more nuanced and rugged Bond.
Costume designer, Lindy Hemming, made the decision to switch from Rolex over 25 years ago when she put Pierce Brosnan in a Seamaster 300M Quartz for his Bond debut in Goldeneye in 1995. Hemming, who wanted to imbue Brosnan with a European sophistication also controversially dressed him in Brioni instead of traditional Savile Row bespoke and needed a watch to go with this sophisticated new look. Inspired by friends of her father who had served in the Navy and wore Omega, the move away from Rolex was an entirely creative decision for which the film’s producers received no payment.
In the 25 years since, the watch industry has faced a new onslaught in the form of digital smartwatches packed with the kind of technology – heart monitors, GPS, myriad apps etc. – that would have had Bond’s perennial provisioner Q spluttering into his tea. But rather like the Bond franchise itself, the mechanical watch has endured and adapted, with the 007 Edition Seamaster offering the kind anti-magnetic protection required to see him through any scrapes he might have around sensitive technology.
Bond’s Omega watches are not only designed with practicality in mind, but also the kind of aesthetic versatility that can see him through a variety of social situations as well as the rigors of his all-action profession. A Planet Ocean on a rubber strap is worn when pursuing a bomb maker through a construction site in Casino Royale, while later on in that film he chooses a Seamaster Professional worn on a dressy bracelet for a night at the roulette table. In short, Bond needs a watch with both style and substance and Omega provides. The commercial relationship between Omega and the Bond franchise has developed somewhat since Brosnan’s time in the role. Today, the caseback of the Seamaster 007 Edition features the 007 pistol logo and has essentially been conceived as a film prop that can be bought.
Earlier this year Daniel Craig was made Honorary Commander by the Royal Navy. When announcing the award, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said: “Our honorary officers act as ambassadors and advocates for the service, sharing their time and expertise to spread the message about what our global, modern, and ready Royal Navy is doing around the world.” Clearly, it’s an honour Omega felt was long over due, having released of the Omega James Bond Omega Seamaster Diver 300M 'Commander's Watch' Limited Edition back in 2018, featuring the red, white and blue colour scheme of the Royal Navy on the strap and bezel as well as the 007 gun logo on the tail of the second hand and on the rotor. All of which goes to show that when it comes to watch and film tie-ins, nobody does it better than Omega.
Discover the OMEGA Seamaster 300m 007 Edition here.
Credit: Alfred Tong writes the celebrity watch column for British GQ, and has a special interest in luxury Swiss watch brands.
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