Omega & James Bond: The Watches Of 007 And Their Stories

Written by:IWS Team|
9 minutes

“The name’s Bond, James Bond.”

With this now widely recognised phrase, a British secret agent became a worldwide phenomenon – the spy with a license to kill: 007

Whether he be sat at a roulette table in a casino across from the main villain doing reconaissance work, at the wheel of his Aston Martin being chased by the bad guys, or simply sipping on his Vesper Martini, one of the objects that Bond always has with him during his missions is a wristwatch with some secret functions – courtesy of Mr. Q.

In recent years, 007 has been spotted with several Omega timepieces on his wrist. Some have been specifically manufactured (and then sold to the public in anticipation or following the movie’s release) as limited editions, with the latest being “No Time To Die” – in theatres on September 30th.

But how and when did this collaboration between Omega and Mr. Bond come about?

Let’s find out together!

Omega and 007: The Collaboration’s Origins

Omega e James Bond

In the many James Bond movies that have been made from 1962 to today, many notable timepieces from different watchmakers have featured on the big screen. But ever since 1995, James Bond’s trusty wristwatch companion has been one: the Omega Seamaster.

When Pierce Brosnan made his debut as the beloved British secret agent in “GoldenEye” (1995), it marked the official beginning of the collaboration between 007 and Omega: from that movie on, James Bond would always wear an Omega timepice. 

Oscar-winning Costume Designer Lindy Hemming was in charge of choosing exactly which watch 007 would wear. In her own words, “I was convinced that Commander Bond, a naval man, a diver and a discreet gentleman of the world would wear the Seamaster with the blue dial“.

She then added: 

My father had been in the Royal Air Force but was friendly with navy men and I remember as a child one [of these men] often visiting us, and he always wore an Omega which fascinated me – this unusually sporty design that looked as though it was built for purpose. It’s the small details that really matter. So as one of the early tasks in designing the new Bond [Pierce Brosnan], I went to a props meeting and argued for the use of Omega.

When you think about it, Hemming is absolutely right: Omega and the British Royal Navy have been inextricably linked pretty much since the first Bond film was released. In fact, in 1967, the second-gen Omega Seamaster 300 (originally launched in 1957) was delivered to the Ministry of Defence as their “official” watch of the armed services.

Moreover, in the early days of the Second World War, the British MoD set out the specifications that needed to be met for the timepieces of servicemen, for air, land and sea. 

Omega set out to meet these requirements, delivering over 110,000 wristwatches for British fighter pilots, soldiers and sailors. This number becomes even more impressive when you learn that this means that over 50% of all watches delivered to Great Britain (from Switzerland) during WW2 came from one brand: OMEGA

So, although he is a fictional character, it is more than likely that if Commander Bond were a real person, he would wear an Omega timepiece.

Okay, preamble (a bit long, but definitely necessary) done, let’s have a look at the wristwatches which make up this famed collaboration.

007 GoldenEye (1995): Omega Seamaster Professional 300M (Quartz)

In “GoldenEye“, the film in which Pierce Brosnan makes his first appearance as the character, James Bond was wearing the Quartz version of the Omega Seamaster Professional 300m

omega seamaster goldeneye
Bond Lifestyle / photo © Danjaq LLC, MGM, United International Pictures

The peculiar feature about this Seamaster was the laser embedded within the case: thanks to this function, Bond was able to get out of an armoured carriage on a train.

laser dell'omega di james bond
Bond Lifestyle/ photo © Danjaq LLC, MGM, United International Pictures

The watch was sold to the public around the time of the release of “GoldenEye“, and bore the reference number 2541.80. Apart from the absence of the laser (sigh), this watch was exactly the same as the one seen on the big screen: a brushed 41mm steel case, 300m waterproof rating, a blue dial sporting a wave pattern, blue bezel, and an integrated steel bracelet.

007 Tomorrow Never Dies; The World Is Not Enough; Die Another Day: Omega Seamaster Professional 300M (Automatic)

Both Omega and the film studios thought Bond deserved more sophistication in a watch than a quartz powered movement, so for the next three 007 films, James Bond wore the automatic version of the Omega Seamaster Professional 300m – reference number 2531.80.00

At a first glance, just like the previous one, the Seamaster worn in these three films may appear rather simple and straightforward: rugged and elegant at the same time. However, multiple hidden functions lie within this timepiece, in order to assist Bond during his missions (again, unfortunately just for the movie).

Out of the various gadgets, the Omega featured in “Tomorrow Never Dies” (1997) is equipped with a radio-controlled detonation device

Instead, in 1999’s “The World Is Not Enough“, when 007 finds himself trapped in the inspection room of a nuclear bunker, the secret agent manages to escape thanks to the mini grappling hook inside of his Seamaster, activated by pressing the Helium escape valve (below).

A close up look at the Helium escape valve

Finally, in the third film of this “automatic caliber powered” Seamaster Professional 300m trilogy, “Die Another Day” (2002), Bond’s Seamaster is equipped with a remote detonation button activated via rotating the bezel, and a laser which is emitted from the main crown.

The Seamaster watch which featured in these films was widely available to the public: aesthetically it was identical to that featured in “GoldenEye“, and the only difference was the presence of an automatic caliber (instead of a quartz movement).

For the 40th anniversary of the James Bond franchise, alongside the release of “Die Another Day“, a special 007 version of the Seamaster was offered.

In terms of its construction, it shares all the characteristics of the regular Seamaster Professional 300m ref. 2531.80.00, but includes a special detail, separating it from the rest: on the dial, we can see a “007” signature just above the 6 o’clock hour marker, which replaces what would have been the depth rating. 

Also on the dial, rather than the classic “wavy” motif, this timepiece features a repeating “007” motif, too. This engraving is also present in the centre of the caseback, as well as another engraving commemorating the 40th anniversary.

As you can see on the lower portion of the caseback, 10,007 of these timepieces were made as part of a limited edition.

007 Casino Royale: Omega Seamaster 300 Chronometer / Seamaster Planet Ocean Big Size 

2006 saw the debut of Daniel Craig in the role of James Bond, with the film “Casino Royale“.

In this movie, 007 donned not one, but two Omega timepieces on his wrist during his mission. 

As the CEO of Omega, Raynald Aeschlimann explained:

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. This is a super robust oversized watch on a rubber strap (a 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“.

As has just been mentioned, the first watch we see in the film is a Seamaster Planet Ocean Big Size (above, right), and the second, “classic” Bond watch – the one which we are now used to seeing – the Seamaster Diver 300m, makes its appearance later on in the film when 007 meets Vesper Lynd on the train. 

The former is very similar to previous Seamaster Diver 300m models, with a noticeable refinement of the iconic wavy blue dial. In fact, Vesper seems to appreciate this, as she remarks, “beautiful” when seeing Bond’s watch. 

That’s not to say that there aren’t any other new features, because this model features Omega’s new (at the time) Co-Axial escapement, upping the performance with respect to its predecessors. 

Later on in the film, the Seamaster Diver 300m can be seen just peeking out from underneath Bond’s tuxedo as he sits across from Le Chiffre (the main villain) at the main poker table of the casino of Montenegro. 

The watches featured in “Casino Royale” were of course, already in Omega’s catalogue by the time of the premiere, but the brand made two limited editions of these watches to commemorate their appearance on the big screen: the Seamaster Planet Ocean Big Size (ref. 2907.50.91) and the Seamaster Diver 300m (ref. 2226.80.00).

5,007 and 10,007 exemplars were made, respectively.

Whilst both watches share the 007 logo (with the gun) at the base of the seconds hand, and feature an orange tip, the Seamaster Diver 300m’s dial takes this theme a step further on the dial: it doesn’t take long for one to see that this spiral pattern is actually the muzzle of Bond’s pistol! 

Flipping both watches over, we can see that both of them have an engraving which pays homage to the film franchise via the 007 logo, as well as the number of that particular watch within the limited series.

007 Quantum of Solace: Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600 m 

Fuelled by his desire to avenge Vesper Lynd’s death, Bond’s hunt leads him to Dominic Greene, the villian who seeks to exploit water-dependent resources. 

In the opening scenes of “Quantum of Solace” (2008), as 007 races along the coast of Lake Garda aboard his Aston Martin DBS, the eagle-eyed viewer can immediately notice that Bond is no longer wearing the “classic” Seamaster Diver 300m – made famous by “GoldenEye“.

Instead, on his wrist is a 42mm Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M, ref. 2201.50.00.

Omega also made a special limited edition of this model in honour of the film




This special commemorative version sports some key differences to the one actually featured in the movie, namely the textured finish on the dial, as well as the title of the film being displayed just below the centre.

As with all of the limited editions, the caseback features an engraving of the 007 logo as well as the number in the series – in this case, 5,007 exemplars of this special Planet Ocean 600m were made.

007 Skyfall: Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600 / Seamaster Aqua Terra 150

In this 2012 action-packed blockbuster, the dark past comes knocking on Bond and M’s door in “Skyfall“.

Making his third appearance as the famed British secret agent, Daniel Craig’s Bond yet again wore two watches over the course of the film: a Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M and a more elegant Seamaster Aqua Terra 150 – both powered by Omega’s chronometer certified Co-Axial automatic movement.

Both timepieces sport a full steel case and bracelet, and feature the incredibly sturdy and shock resistant in-house Omega 8500 Co-Axial automatic movement.

007 Spectre: Omega Seamaster 300 “Spectre” Limited Edition / Seamaster Aqua Terra 150 

Similar to “Casino Royale” (2006) and “Skyfall” (2012), in “Spectre” (2015), the penultimate installation of the Bond saga, it was decided that 007 wear two watches: a Seamaster 300 Spectre Limited Edition, and an Omega Aqua Terra 150, both of which perfectly encapsulate Bond and Omega’s military past.

Whereas in previous films, Bond has worn the “regular” versions of watches within Omega’s catalogue, this was the first time in which the character wore the “007 special edition” already on screen: the 7,007 exemplar Seamaster 300 Spectre Limited Edition. 

Twelve-hour bezel, vintage inspired tones, broad-arrow hands, large luminous hour markers: these are the qualities which make up this gorgeous limited edition. 

As we mentioned before, this piece perfectly recalls James Bond’s background as a Royal Navy serviceman, and Omega’s military past, too! In fact, the inspiration behind the Spectre Limited Edition was the original, first generation Seamaster 300 from 1957, which was supplied to the British Navy in the ’60s, so the model seen on-screen in “Spectre” adds a very tasteful sense of realism to the film.

Credit: Phillips

Il modello del film rappresenta il connubio tra la storia degli Omega legata alla Royal Navy ed il passato di Bond trascorso nella Marina britannica.

The Spectre Limited Edtion, like most miltary watches, is accompanied by a NATO strap (whose official name, as per Omega, is “the James Bond NATO strap”), which is a callback to the type of straps worn by the actors playing Bond in “Goldfinger” (1964) and “Thunderball” (1965). 

Following a brief hiatus of cool spy gadgets embedded in the watch – courtesy of Q – the Spectre Limited Edition Seamaster seen in the film is equipped with a bomb (!!!), which Mr. Bond detonates to escape his sticky situation at the hands of Ernst Blofeld (played by Christoph Waltz). 

On the other hand (not literally), the blue dial of the Aqua Terra 150 provides a softer, more sophisticated look than the rugged toolwatch-inspired Seamaster 300. However, it is no less marine-related!

In order to commemorate this hugely successful film, Omega decided to launch another limited edition, this time of the aforementioned Aqua Terra 150. This timepiece featured loads of Bond inspired nods.

On the dial, this is manifested through a dynamic blue PVD motif, paired with contrasting yellow accents.

Turning the watch over, we can see our favourite feature: both the baseplate of the movement and the partly-skeletonised oscillating weight have been assembled and finished so that it looks like the muzzle of 007’s pistol, and the centrepiece of the latter resembles the tail of a bullet. Genius!

Like other limited edition Bond watches, the caseback of this Seamaster Aqua Terra 150 has been engraved with the specific number within the limited production run. 

007 No time to die: Omega Seamaster 300 “007 edition” 

If you haven’t understood by now, here at IWS, we are huge fans of the greatest secret agent to ever grace the big screen. Having said that, we couldn’t not talk about the watches which James Bond wears in the latest chapter, “No Time To Die” – in theatres September 30th. 

In his final performance, Daniel Craig’s Bond wears a very special, 42mm titanium Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition

What makes this watch truly special in its own right is the fact that Omega worked incredibly closely with Daniel Craig and the producers themselves in order to create this watch, involving them nearly every step of the way. As such, this is the first Bond Omega to sport a titanium Milanese mesh bracelet – sophisticated yet very resistant and flexible.

Daniel Craig himself has said that the watch is “incredibly comfortable to wear

On the matte black dial, we can see the famous skeletonised sword hands and the red tip of the seconds hand – a feature first seen in “GoldenEye“. The “pre-aged” luminous material used for the hour markers are definitely a callback to the vintage inspired tones of the “Spectre” limited edition and the longstanding relationship between Omega and the film franchise.

One final detail that we absolutely adore can be found just above the 6 o’clock hour marker and on the caseback: the famous Broad Arrow. This insignia denotes the watch’s purpose as a military tool for the British Ministry of Defence.

To date, this is the only modern Omeganot destined for military use – which sports this feature, and we think it is such a great touch and testament to the watchmaker’s ties with the British Armed Forces. But Omega went one step further, and has offered this watch on your choice of bracelet: either the aforementioned titanium mesh bracelet, or the classic NATO fabric strap – inclusive of a “007” signed loop.

The other special 007 Omega watches: from the 50th Anniversary to the James Bond Limited Edition Set

Although they haven’t made an appearance in any movie, Omega manufactured and released a fair few timepieces which have captured the Bond aesthetic and feel, and there are some real hidden gems!

Let’s start with the Seamaster Diver 300m Commander’s Watch. Before the pandemic, Omega announced that they would be releasing different versions of the watch you see below to create hype around the film. Unfortunately, (for obvious reasons), this did not go to plan as the premiere date was postponed. 

Back in 2012, to celebrate the 50th anniversary from the first Bond film, Omega released a special edition (available in two different sizes) of the Seamaster Diver 300m – made very clear through the red “50” on the ceramic bezel. 

This was a limited edition of 11,007 pieces for the 41mm version, and 3,007 of the 36mm one. 

Another special edition was created to celebrate the general partnership between Omega and James Bond: it wasn’t made for any movie in particular, but this Seamaster Diver 300m “James Bond” made waves thanks to its beautiful personalised box that it came in, as well as the extra metal bracelet that it contained. 

The version below was a 257 exemplar limited edition which was paired with the exact same watch, but made in yellow gold. 

Final Remarks

One thing is for certain (other than this being the last time we will see Daniel Craig interpret James Bond): Omega’s partnership with the 007 franchise will never stop producing some of the coolest timepieces we’ve ever seen

As we eagerly await for the announcement of the next James Bond actor, we are equally excited to see what this watchmaker has in store for future spy films. 

For more details and technical information regarding the watches we have mentioned in this article, here is the link to Omega’s official website dedicated to the 007 saga.

Finally, to get you excited for September 30th, here’s a little promotional video that Omega put together, where you can see some action shots of this latest Bond Seamaster:

Author: Andrea David

Translated by: Patrick Romano

Author

Team Italian Watch Spotter
Italian Watch Spotter's Team
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