The Best Watches of James Bond | Dr. No to Spectre

Video Transcription

Okay! So there is no fictional character more synonymous with watches than James Bond. He’s the coolest guy on earth with the best gadgets. One of which is always a stylish, drool-worthy timepiece. And in the spirit of the new James Bond movie, No Time To Die, we’re excited to dig into some of the most iconic watches within the franchise. Now obviously there are countless watches worn in the 25 movies, and we could probably make 25 videos on just that subject, but for now we’re going to walk through our favorite watches from each different actor who played Bond within the franchise. So we’re gonna look at watches from Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig. And while some will argue that David Niven should be included on this list we’re only looking at official 00’s. Up first, Sean Connery. Now Sean Connery is often the man most associated with the role. So we’ll start with him. The original 00. Connery played bond between 1962 and 1967 and then even reprised his role later in 71 and 83, and if we’re gonna start at the very beginning that’s where we’ll start.

Sean Connery as James Bond and graphics showing his list of movies

Sean Connery

The very first Bond film, Dr. No released in 1962. In this film bond wears a Rolex Submariner reference 6538. The connection between Rolex and Bond started in Fleming’s book themselves. In his book, Casino Royale, Fleming wrote, “he could not just wear a watch, it had to be a Rolex” and supposedly Ian Fleming was a huge fan of Rolex and sported a Rolex Explorer 1016 himself. So of course with the first Bond film Bond is sporting a piece from the Rolex family. The provenance doesn’t stop there. With this specific watch it is actually speculated that the Rolex Submariner worn by Connery in the inaugural Bond film came straight out of his personal collection, as Connery is a devoted Rolex enthusiast. For the movie Connery affixed the Rolex to a leather strap and it marked the stylish debut of what would eventually become an iconic relationship. Connery as bond bored the Rolex Submariner reference 6538 in Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, and Thunderball, cementing its status as the James Bond Rolex.

A Rolex Submariner on James Bond's wrist in From Russia With Love

What happened to that original watch is uncertain, but many seek that style to this day. And in 2019 Christie’s auctioned a James Bond Rolex for $1,000,000, to mark the most expensive Rolex Sub to be sold at an auction. And what else do you expect from the style icon James Bond?

George Lazenby

All right, up next George Lazenby. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service featured a new leading man, George Lazenby, but this film would be the Australian actors only stint as James Bond. And even though he only plays Bond once, Lazenby has the pleasure of sporting multiple Rolex watches – including a pre Daytona reference 6238. But keeping with Bond tradition, we picked the reference 5513 to discuss for Mr. Lazenby’s time as bond. And it is rumored that this Rolex Sub is responsible for Lazenby actually getting the role in the first place.

Before landing the gig Lazenby was an unemployed male model, but he knew he was right for the role. So in order to look like Bond to the casting agent he bought the Rolex 5513, and even got his hair cut from Connery’s barber. The rumors state that he breezed into the casting office like Bond with his Rolex showing and voila a new 007 reporting for duty, even if it was just once. Goes to show how far looking the part will actually get you.

Roger Moore

Alright, Roger Moore. After Lazenby the role goes back to Connery for a bit, and then Connery hands the role to Roger Moore. This transition in the bond world occurred at the same time that the watch world went digital, and of course the Bond franchise kept pace. Yes, Roger Moore wears plenty of Rolex Subs in his seven Bond films. Most notably the buzzsaw Submariner from Live and Let Die, that actually cuts ropes, but we wanted to specifically highlight Seiko. We ultimately decided with Seiko because it was the brand that seemed to define Roger Moore’s bond. In his time as bond he wore more than  a dozen different Seiko models, but our favorite has to be the Seiko 0674-LC worn in the film The Spy Who Loved Me. Yes the one worn in the movie may have features yet to be invented. Basically it’s ridiculous ability to print out messages from other super spies, but it’s still a very cool and very rare timepiece. And looking back a quartz digital Seiko may not seem to carry the debonair style Mr. Bond requires, but it does show how the Bond franchise is always on the cusp of fashion and technology. Even if it becomes dated and seen a digital watch print out messages is a great reminder of where technology was and where we thought it was headed in 1977.

Timothy Dalton

Now on to Timothy Dalton. In 1987 Timothy Dalton beat out Pierce Brosnan for the role as bond and Dalton kisses Seiko goodbye and briefly turns to the TAG Heuer Professional Night Dive reference 980.031. This watch is ultra rare and now highly valuable, but because Dalton is the last Bond to sport a Rolex we picked the Rolex Submariner reference 16610 from License to Kill as Dalton’s Bond watch. While there’s nothing inherently special about a 16610 Submariner, the significance lies in the fact that the Dalton Submariner marked the end of the Bond Rolex relationship. It’s also worth noting that Dalton’s Bond, who is much darker, was quite a departure from the light-hearted humor of Moore’s Bond, and it was met with mixed reviews. So after only two films Bond says goodbye to Mr. Dalton and the franchise officially says goodbye to Rolex.

Pierce Brosnan

Now on to Pierce Brosnan. So after originally getting beat by Dalton, Pierce Brosnan takes over the role in 1994 and breathes new life into the franchise. The Irish actor is suave and sly, and brings a posh air to the character. And of course the watches he wears certainly live up to the task. Brosnan started wearing an OMEGA Seamaster 254.80, which is the quartz version in Goldeneye, but ended up switching to the reference 2531.80, the automatic version, for his next three films. And we decided to stick with the automatic version because it is actually the only watch to make it into the opening credits sequence of a Bond film and this is from Tomorrow Never Dies.

Over the four Brosnan Bond movies we see this watch play a host of roles. From the laser that cuts through metal, to a grappling hook for escaping to safety, this specific Seamaster maybe the watch most people picture when they think of Bond, despite what Mr. Fleming intended.

Daniel Craig

And last Mr. Craig. Daniel Craig! Now the current Bond, and my personal favorite. Craig brings a ruggedness to the character not previous associated with the suave Brosnan. Similar to Dalton, Craig’s Bond is much more in line with the bond of Fleming books, even if he doesn’t sport a Rolex.

Craig sports multiple versions of the dressy, Aqua Terra and the rugged, Planet Ocean over his four films, but our personal favorite is the Seamaster from Spectre. This watch is great for so many reasons. For starters it is the only limited edition production watch that is actually worn by Bond in the movie. The lollipop seconds hand and the 12 hour bezel may be minor detail changes, but that’s what matters. And another really cool part about this watch is it’s the first real gadget watch we see, and I think that does kind of aid in that campiness that may have been missing from the Daniel Craig bond. With Daniel Craig finishing his role as James Bond, will we potentially see the return of Rolex to the wrist of Bond? Probably not. And I’m sure this is a topic for which all of you have many opinions. So let me hear them. What are your favorite Bond watches?

And what’s your favorite movie? I’m excited to see this next movie and discover what gadgets are introduced this time. As always, thanks for watching guys.


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