Today I’m going to talk to Sophie Furley, Editor at Large for Watchonista. We focus on the most interesting Bond watches to date. We also discuss what Bond needs in a watch – toughness, water-resistance, shock-resistance and elegance and how props need to match the character in general.

Sophie Furley – Editor-at-Large for Watchionista. (Click to follow on Instagram)

THUNDERBALL

1965 Breitling watch

Points of interest:

  • Found in Car Boot Sale and sold for 25 GBP Daily Mail 
  • Sold at Christies for 103,875 GBP
  • The art department on Thunderball worked with the Valley Tool Company to create the bespoke underwater ‘Geiger counter’ case, which features a glazed bezel for the original Breitling timepiece.
  • Only one was created for the film, making this particular custom timepiece totally unique. According to Christie’s, the Breitling Top Time was the only watch Connery wore as James Bond other than a Rolex Submariner.
  • Breitling Reissued the Top Time with 2,000 limited run in March of this year. As seen in an Esquire article here.
  • Rotary do decent-ish alternatives for 75 GBP on Amazon.

Thoughts, the original is muscular with the square chunky bezel. I doubt a modern Bond would find that elegant, even in a retro way. Strange that Breitling only made one appearance.

LIVE AND LET DIE

A 1972 Submariner Rolex ref 5513. 

Points of interest:

  • Original had the working saw bezel with compressed air. This was adapted for screen by Syd Cain art director. He had an interesting life, survived a plane crash and a lightning strike.
  • Original is in a Swedish collection and was bought for 365, 000 CHF

Thoughts: This is my favourite, the most iconic watch and interesting watch to date.

THE SPY WHO LOVED ME

1977 Seiko 0674 LC

East meets West with a bang in The Spy Who Loved Me, in which sparks fly between Bond and Major Anya Amasova. A Rolex GMT Master assures precise timekeeping, while a Seiko 0674 LC functions as a pager: a label-making printer inside the watch ejects strips of paper bearing important messages from the office spymaster M.

  • The original can be found on this collectors site.
  • The introduction of Seiko really was a shift in the Bond franchise away from Swiss movement, but was this also happening in the real world? Were people more intent on having digital watches?

THE QUARTZ CRISIS

Sophie reflects on the impact the Quartz crisis had on the watch manufacturing industry in Switzerland.

It’s interesting with Bond they switched from the Rolexes to Seiko, that time was the same switch when people pushed mechanical watches aside and they all wanted these new ‘smart watch’ of the day.

That time in 1977 every one had a digital watch, no one was walking around with a mechanical watch anymore. This shift towards digital killed the watch industry for 20 years, they really suffered here in Switzerland, they still talk about it.
Whole towns who were into manufacturing watches; everyone became unemployed, factories closed, it was really devastating. Lot of brands went under or reduced dramatically.
ME – What got people back into buying mechanical watches again?
At the end of the 80s, Swatch, the plastic watch – it was Swiss. It went back to that analogue ‘two-hand’ way of reading the time. People say that was the turning point. It had all been Japanese for 20 years and suddenly the Swiss came up with something that was fresh and cool and new. Then slowly from there people got interested in mechanical watches again.

Thoughts: Iconic, but a very dated looking watch. I guess this would be classed as retro now?

OCTOPUSSY 

1983 Seiko TV Watch

The risqué name of the next Bond film, Octopussy, caused a furore in England. In it, Moore’s Bond, with a Seiko TV Watch on his wrist, turns his attention to a young lady who works as one of Q’s assistants.

Points of interest:

  • The Guinness Book of Records calls the Seiko TV Watch in its 1984 edition the “smallest TV set in the world”.
  • The Seiko TV Watch is highly coveted electronic collectible in the US and in Japan. Well-maintained models in the original packaging sell for upwards of $1,000 and unopened containers of the rarer first model can sell for more than $2,000.

Thoughts: I still love this watch and this scene. But how sexist does this make me on a scale of 1-10?

SPECTRE

The Omega Seamaster 300, with Master Chronometer movement.

Points of interest:

  • This vintage looking watch was given a great military look for the movie, with a specific 12h bezel, a lollipop second hand, large patinated indexes and a 5-stripe NATO strap, reminiscent of those used by RAF.
  • The first gadget watch in the Craig tenure. An article can be found here on the history of Omega Seamaster’s in the Bond franchise.
  • Can a bomb really fit in a watch?

Thoughts: Is it hard to come up with believable gadgets for Bond and watches in a modern tech era?

Other interesting COMMENTS from this blog which I used for researching this episode.

  • No 7A28 from A View to a Kill? The most sophisticated watch in this whole list? Shame on you!
  • I’m noticing there’s fake photos from the Casino Royale movie, featuring Bond wearing a CASIO watch, called Casio Royale. Sold on Ebay and other places. BS of course, but it seems people buy it.
  • Ss Bond comes from good , naval stock, will we see him wearing a g shock , most S/forces do now???

OTHER CLIPS FROM THE SHOW

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Up Next on the show..

The Omega Man, David Zaritsky walks us through his Omega collection. Also a candid history into Omega’s past and some amazing connections to the military.