James Bond author Ian Fleming famously said his MI6 character, “could not just wear a watch. It had to be a Rolex,” but that didn’t stop Hollywood from moving the character away from the world famous brand.
While Rolex and James Bond are intimately “bonded” together in the minds of many fans and collectors, the two actually had a complicated relationship. Over the years it was reported Rolex refused to ever sponsor the films or provide watches for the actors — often leaving them to be sourced by a third party, or even the crew. While Rolex might have made a huge commission off of brand recognition over the years, they didn’t actually market themselves as the ‘Bond watch’ once.
Since the series’ inception in the 1960’s, Bond has worn a variety of watches beyond the Rolex brand which includes Omega. In 1995, Omega managed to secure itself as the official Bond watch of choice. Since we’ve seen quite a few magnificent timepieces grace the silver screen — let’s take a look at a few of our favorite Omegas.
The First Official Partnership: The Omega Seamaster Professional 300m
It was 1995 and Pierce Brosnan was chosen to play 007 in GoldenEye. By this time, Hollywood was capitalizing on product placement and Omega saw this their chance to secure their brand alongside the coveted Bond brand of sophistication.
It’s not like Omega wasn’t already seen as a luxury watch, they just weren’t seen as the Bond watch. Either way, the marketing strategy further cemented their brand identity and bolstered their connections to the British Royal Navy — which in real life, had partnered with the brand often.
In the movie, Bronson sports an Omega Seamaster Professional 300m. He even goes on to wear it in Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, and Die Another Day. Besides looking great, this is a Bond watch all around with a 41mm Oyster case, 2500 automatic movement, 48-hour power reserve, and the ability to withstand deep dives of up to 300 meters.
Daniel Craig: The Modern Bond
Fast forward to 2006 and we have a new man playing Bond once again, this time, Daniel Craig. Along with the new actor came a makeover for the Bond brand — a bit edgier, but still along the lines of styled and refined. The brand reportedly decided to continue with the Omega partnership because while high-end, sharp and luxurious, it didn’t come with the same high-brow as Rolex and seemed to be a better fit for their new leading role.
In Craig’s Casino Royal, he sports a blue Omega Seamaster 300m chronometer and a black Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m Co-Axial. Cementing their partnership, the character of Vesper Lynd asks Bond if he’s wearing a Rolex as she peeks down at his timepiece — to which Bond replies, ‘Omega’. Lynd calls it ‘beautiful,’ and with that, Bond cements himself as an Omega man.
Now, let’s take a look at the specs. The Omega Seamaster 300m chronometer is one of the brand’s best thanks to its ties to the secret agent — but this chronometer watch bolsters a great reputation on its own thanks to a handful of key features.
Features on the Omega Seamaster 300m:
- 300 meters (1000 foot) water resistant
- 41mm case, anti-reflective
- scratch resistant crystal with a co-axial escapement movement,
- 48-hour power reserve
- durable stainless steel casing
The Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m C0-Axial
Then there’s the stunning Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m Co-Axial which he wore in Casino Royale and Skyfall. The Planet Ocean is smaller than what we’re used to seeing on Bond’s wrist with a smaller 42mm case. But, the look is fitting for the refined Bond going for a more understated, but still classic, look. The watch featured in the film has specs like: a black dial, steel bracelet, Seamaster written in a stunning orange as well as a second hand with an orange tip, alongside 600 meter (2,000 foot) water resistant case, a screw-in crown, transparent case back, unidirectional rotating bezel and helium escape valve.
That movie prompted Omega to release a limited edition Skyfall Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m due to booming popularity. The watch also celebrated Omega’s seventh appearance in the Bond films. Only 5,007 (get it?) of the timepieces were ever released to the public.
What sets it apart from the original? Well, a few things, including: a rotating diving bezel in matte black, a chromium nitride diving scale, an “Si14” silicon balance spring, and engraved in black varnish is Skyfall 007. While we can’t guarantee you’ll be as cool Bond once you put one of these beauties on, but we can assure you’ll look just as good.
Want to shop some of the latest Bond watches? Check out the Omega’s we have in the vault.
UPDATE: September 2019
In anticipation of the next 007 film, Omega has already announced a new limited edition James Bond watch. The new Omega James Bond watch is the Seamaster Diver 300M to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the film, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969). Although in the original film, Bond wore a Rolex “Pre-Daytona” chronograph, Omega is still celebrating the anniversary with a limited-edition Seamaster that embraces a number of homages to the 007 franchise, from the design of the 12 o’clock market (the Bond family coat-of-arms), to the spiral ‘gun rifling’ pattern that is engraved on the dial – a reference to the iconic opening sequences from the Bond films.
As an added touch for the super-spy super-fans, the font used for the 7s on the calendar disc of the new Omega James Bond Seamaster are printed in the same iconic 007 font, and there is even a tiny ’50’ that appears inside the luminescence of the 10 o’clock maker that is only visible in the dark.