James Bond Watches – A Complete Timeline
Since his inception in the 1953 novel Casino Royale, James Bond has been synonymous with danger, charm, sophistication, and of course, style. Whether its his Saville Row suits or his magnificent timepieces, James Bond oozes class.
In the world of James Bond, a watch is far more than a simple tool for telling time. It serves as a symbol of his unerring elegance and resourcefulness, often equipped with clever gadgets to assist Bond in his perilous missions.
From Rolex to Seiko; Tag Heur to Omega, James Bond watches not only reflect the aesthetic sensibilities of the era each movie was produced, but often aligns with the particular interpretation of the Bond character as envisioned by each actor.
The producers didn’t really utilize the idea of a watch being a centerpiece until the Roger Moore era introduced gadget laden watches. That said, from the first Bond novel and movie, Bond wore a classy timepiece. And in this article we go through the full timeline of James Bond watches in in their appearances of each movie.
James Bond Watches by Movie: Sean Connery (1962-1971)
Sean Connery’s reign as the first James Bond introduced us to the iconic Rolex Submariner on Bond’s wrist. With its enduring charm and utilitarian design, this timepiece was the first of all James Bond watches and became a vital part of the agent’s enigmatic persona.
Dr. No (1962) – Gruen Precision 510
While it’s never fully seen, the Gruen Precision 510 is the first wristwatch ever worn by James Bond. He is wearing it when we first ever see him during the iconic ‘Bond, James Bond’ scene, and the watch also makes a brief appearance in From Russia With Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), You Only Live Twice (1967) and Diamonds Are Forever (1971).
Dr. No (1962) – Rolex Submariner 6538
When the going gets tough in Dr. No, Sean Connery dons the Rolex Submariner 6538, cementing the timepiece’s place in movie and horological history. Unlike the traditional stainless steel bracelet typically associated with the model, the Submariner was presented on a leather strap, lending Bond a distinctively rugged yet refined air.
From Russia With Love (1963) – Rolex Submariner 6538
The Rolex Submariner Reference 6538 made its second appearance in From Russia With Love. Connery, reprising his role as 007, sported the watch on the same leather strap, embodying the elegant, yet action-ready persona of the iconic British spy. Bond’s loyalty to his timepiece, like his dedication to Queen and country, was evident.
Goldfinger (1964) – Rolex Submariner 6538
Arguably one of the most memorable moments in the history of James Bond watches unfolded in the opening scene of Goldfinger. As Connery, clad in his classic tuxedo, casually lifted his sleeve to check the time with the help of a cigarette lighter, the Rolex Submariner was brought into full view.
The piece was now on a multi-colored regimental fabric strap that was slightly small for the watch – the spring bars were visible, adding to its distinct charm. Another horological moment occurred when the character Pussy Galore, a skilled pilot, was spotted sporting the Rolex Reference 6542 GMT-Master.
Thunderball (1965) – Rolex Submariner 6538 & Breitling Top Time
Thunderball brought a twist in the 007 timepiece chronology, featuring not one, but two James Bond watches. Alongside the now-familiar Rolex Submariner 6538, Bond was handed a special gadget by Q – a modified Breitling Top Time Chronograph, cleverly doubling as a Geiger counter to detect nuclear radiation.
This watch, with its unique capabilities, elevated the role of timepieces in the Bond universe from mere accessories to indispensable spy gadgets. Interestingly, this watch was later discovered at a car boot sale and bought for a mere £25, only to be auctioned off for over £100,000 at Christie’s Bond auction in 2013 – a testament to the enduring allure of Bond’s timepieces.
You Only Live Twice (1967) – No watch visible
Despite the absence of a notable timepiece in You Only Live Twice, Connery’s portrayal of Bond continued to captivate audiences worldwide. This movie offered a departure from the watch-centered tradition, focusing more on Bond’s charisma and the overall narrative.
Diamonds Are Forever (1971) – No watch visible
Diamonds Are Forever saw Sean Connery return after a one movie sabbatical, but like his previous movie, he did not showcase a specific watch. Nevertheless, Connery’s last performance as Bond in the official series retained the iconic style and suave that defined the character, with or without a timepiece.
James Bond Watches by Movie: George Lazenby (1969)
As the baton was passed to George Lazenby, albeit for a brief stint in the movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the trend of Bond wearing Rolex continued. Lazenby’s Bond set the precedence of wearing a Submariner on an Oyster bracelet.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969): Rolex Submariner 6358, 5513 and 6238 Chronograph
After Sean Connery first left, the mantle of Bond was taken up by Australian actor George Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Lazenby left a distinct mark on James Bond’s watch history as he was the first to wear a Submariner on an Oyster bracelet, opting for the Rolex Submariner Reference 5513. This was a shift from the leather and fabric straps used earlier, reflecting perhaps a more traditional and sophisticated take on Bond’s style.
During one gripping scene in the movie where Bond breaks into an office to open a safe and copy some documents, Lazenby’s Bond subtly switched his Submariner Reference 5513 with the Rolex Submariner Reference 6358. This watch was placed on the machine with the crown unscrewed, adding a level of authenticity to the scene, demonstrating the durability and reliability of Bond’s watches in high-stakes situations.
In a further diversification of Bond’s watch preferences, Lazenby later sported the Rolex 6238 Chronograph, also on a stainless steel bracelet. This watch, known for its clean design and robust functionality, encapsulated the perfect blend of style and substance – a characteristic indelibly linked to the Bond persona.
Through these choices, the George Lazenby era marked a turning point in the watch history of James Bond, moving towards more functionality-focused choices and setting the stage for the variety of timepieces to come in the Roger Moore era.
James Bond Watches by Movie: Roger Moore (1973-1985)
Roger Moore’s portrayal of James Bond welcomed a new era of innovation, both in storytelling and watch selection. From Rolex to Seiko, Moore’s James Bond journey reflected the changing times of the ’70s and ’80s and the rise of quartz timepieces and digital watches.
Live and Let Die (1973) – Rolex Submariner 5513
The Roger Moore era initiated a shift in Bond’s watch preferences, moving away from the purely traditional timepieces to watches laden with an assortment of exciting gadgets. In Live and Let Die, Moore’s first outing as 007, Bond begins with checking a Hamilton Pulsar P2 digital LED watch, showcasing a modern timepiece of the era.
However, the star watch of the movie was the Rolex Submariner 5513, retrieved from Q Branch. The watch, equipped with a potent magnet, is immediately put to use when Bond mischievously attaches M’s teaspoon to it. And then uses it to unzip Miss Caruso‘s zipper on her dress.
Later in the movie, Bond deploys both the magnetic feature and a new gadget – a circular saw integrated into the bezel – to free himself and Solitaire from a perilous situation. The bezel spins rapidly, slicing through the ropes that bound Bond’s wrists, illustrating the life-saving utility of James Bond’s latest watch.
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) – Rolex Submariner 5513
In The Man with the Golden Gun, James Bond returns to the familiar Rolex Submariner 5513. This time, however, the watch is stripped of its gadgets, symbolizing Bond’s reliance on his wit and skills, not just technological aids.
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) – Seiko 0674 LC
The Spy Who Loved Me marked a significant shift in James Bond’s watch preference as he donned a Seiko Ref. 0674 LC, a digital watch. This change mirrored the era’s trend, the 1970s, known for the rise of quartz timepieces and digital watches.
This Seiko model wasn’t just a nod to contemporary fashion, but also a testament to the growing interplay between technology and style in the Bond franchise. Bond’s Seiko featured an innovative gadget – a ticker tape messaging system, which provided an intriguing mix of style and functionality.
The integration of this feature underscored the way Bond’s watches were evolving, not just as fashion statements, but as key part his toolkit. This fascinating blend of style, technology, and utility would become a hallmark of James Bond watches in the movies to come.
Moonraker (1979) – Seiko M354 Memory Bank Calendar
Moonraker had Bond sporting a more advanced Seiko model – the M354 Memory Bank Calendar. This watch concealed an explosive charge in its back, an unexpected gadget that further highlighted the creative ingenuity of Q Branch.
The watch is really useful for Bond at the Amazonian launch complex, as Bond and Holly Goodhead are taken captive and locked up directly beneath the exhaust of a space-bound rocket. Hugo Drax plans to incinerate them from the rocket launch blast.
James Bond spots an air-vent and makes use of his modified Seiko watch to place explosives onto the vent. With the seconds quickly passing by, Bond detonates the explosives, blowing open the vent, allowing them to escape. James Bond quips, ‘Bang on time,’ as his plan works to perfection.
For Your Eyes Only (1981) — Seiko H357 Duo-Display
The thirteenth Bond movie, For Your Eyes Only, featured 2 Seiko watches. The first is the Seiko 7549-7009 model, followed by the H357, a unique blend of both analogue and digital displays. The H357 Duo Display stands out for its forward-thinking features, much akin to today’s smartwatches, offering capabilities such as text-like message delivery and an integrated microphone.
Octopussy (1983) – Seiko G757 Sports 100
In Octopussy, James Bond’s timepiece of choice was the Seiko Ref. G757 Sports 100, a digital sports chronograph. It was equipped with a tracking feature that allowed Bond to monitor a planted tracking device, the location of which was indicated by a red dot on the watch.
James Bond sports the Seiko G757 watch in the opening sequence, and it remains firmly on his wrist durning many scenes, most notably during the casino scene that segues into Q’s lab. The watch gets a detailed showcase in Q’s lab, as Bond is already wearing it.
As the plot unfolds, the watch gains more screen time, serving as a crucial tool for tracking the Fabergé egg. Later, in West Germany, James Bond consults his watch to calculate the time he has to reach the bomb, resulting in another close-up of the watch as he hitches a ride.
A View to a Kill (1985) – Seiko SPR007 7A28-7020, Seiko H558-500 SPW001, Seiko 6923-8080 SPD09 and a Rolex Datejust
A View to a Kill, Roger Moore’s final Bond movie, showcased a record four different watches on Bond’s wrist. First was the Seiko SPR007 7A28-7020, a white-dialled quartz chronograph visible at the start of the movie.
The Seiko H558-500 SPW001 Dive Watch made a brief appearance during a chase scene at the Eiffel Tower. The third watch, the Seiko 6923-8080 SPD09, a two-tone watch, was fleetingly seen underneath Bond. Later Bond is fighting with nemesis Max Zorin on the Golden Gate Bridge, where both are wearing a Rolex Datejust.
James Bond Watches by Movie: Timothy Dalton (1987-1989)
Timothy Dalton‘s 007 ushered in a more serious and hard-edged James Bond, and his watches mirrored that change. His tenure was marked by a return to Rolex and the introduction of Tag Heuer to the Bond watch lineage.
The Living Daylights (1987) – Tag Heuer Ref. 980.031
In The Living Daylights, Timothy Dalton made his debut as James Bond. Marking yet another change in Bond’s timepiece preferences, Dalton sported a Heuer Ref. 980.031 quartz dive watch. Departing from the traditional stainless steel look, this timepiece featured a fully black case and bracelet, giving it a sleek and stealthy aesthetic.
Another notable aspect of this watch was its luminous dial, a practical feature allowing for readability in low-light situations and underscoring Bond’s readiness for any scenario.
Licence to Kill (1989) – Rolex Submariner 16800/168000
Timothy Dalton’s final portrayal of James Bond in Licence to Kill brought James Bond’s wrist back to the roots with a Rolex Submariner. Given the film’s release year, 1989, the timepiece is most likely a Rolex Submariner 16800/168000.
A classic and durable watch known for its remarkable water resistance and versatility, the Rolex Submariner once again asserted its status as a Bond favorite. Interestingly, Licence to Kill would mark the last time a Rolex Submariner would be featured as any of James Bond watches, closing out an era of Bond’s wristwear history.
James Bond Watches by Movie: Pierce Brosnan (1995-2002)
The Pierce Brosnan era signified a crucial shift in the James Bond franchise as Omega watches made their debut. With Brosnan’s Bond, the Omega Seamaster became a permanent fixture on 007’s wrist, boasting a combination of style, durability, and cutting-edge technology.
GoldenEye (1995) – Omega Seamaster Professional 300M 2541.80.00 Quartz
Pierce Brosnan’s debut as 007 in GoldenEye brought forth a new era for Bond’s wristwear, as Omega became the timepiece of choice. The movie prominently showcased the Omega Seamaster Professional 300M 2541.80.00, a quartz dive watch embodying robust durability and classic elegance.
The Q Branch, ever inventive, fitted this watch with a laser in the pip of the bezel and a connection to a remote detonator in the helium escape valve, enabling Bond to confront perilous situations with an extra ace up his sleeve.
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) – Omega Seamaster Professional 300M 2531.80.00
In Tomorrow Never Dies, Brosnan’s Bond switched to the automatic chronometer version of the Seamaster, the Ref. 2531.80.00. Keeping up with the tradition of Bond’s watches serving as utility devices, this watch included a feature from Q Branch that allowed Bond to remotely release the catch of a hand grenade, underlining the importance of Bond’s timepieces in challenging circumstances.
The World Is Not Enough (1997) – Omega Seamaster Professional 300M Ref. 2531.80.00
Brosnan stuck with the Omega Seamaster Professional 300M Ref. 2531.80.00 in The World Is Not Enough, however, the gadgets incorporated in the watch took a turn for the creative.
Firstly, the watch could illuminate an area using a light generator activated by the hour markers, providing a unique tool for night missions. Then, a grappling hook deployed from underneath the crown served as a life-saving device in treacherous situations.
Die Another Day (2002) — Omega Seamaster Professional 300M 2531.80.00
In Brosnan’s final Bond film, Die Another Day, the timepiece remained the Omega Seamaster Professional 300M Ref. 2531.80.00. However, the Q Branch innovatively repurposed the helium escape valve as a detonator for explosives, maintaining Bond’s resourcefulness in high-stakes moments.
The laser feature from GoldenEye made a return, completing the repertoire of gadgets and signifying a full circle to Brosnan’s journey as James Bond as he hung up his tuxedo.
James Bond Watches by Movie: Daniel Craig (2006-2021)
Daniel Craig‘s Bond era ushered in a new age of grittier narratives and complex characters, mirrored by the choice of Omega watches. Craig’s Bond wore a variety of Omega models, from the Seamaster Professional to the Planet Ocean to the 007 Edition which he helped design.
Casino Royale (2006) – Omega Seamaster 300M 2220.80.00 and Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ref. 2900.50.91.00
In his first appearance as James Bond in Casino Royale, Daniel Craig sported not one, but two distinct Omega watches. The movie opens with Craig’s Bond wearing a Planet Ocean, accentuating his rugged charm and tactical agility. The remainder of the movie sees him sporting an automatic Seamaster with a Co-Axial escapement, signifying a seamless blend of classic aesthetics and modern precision.
Quantum of Solace (2008) – Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 2201.50.00
In Quantum of Solace, James Bond’s choice was again a Planet Ocean, this time on a stainless steel bracelet. Although it didn’t receive substantial screen time, its refined design and robust construction subtly underscored Bond’s practical elegance.
Skyfall (2012) – Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 22.214.171.124.01.001 and the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 126.96.36.199.03.003
Skyfall opened with Bond’s wrist graced by a unique Planet Ocean made from titanium, reinforcing the narrative of Bond’s resilience. This one-of-a-kind piece was later auctioned in Christie’s “50 years of Bond” sale. Also featured in the movie was a blue-dialled Aqua Terra in stainless steel, elegantly reflecting Bond’s sophistication amidst the action.
Spectre (2015) – Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 188.8.131.52.03.001, the Seamaster 300 184.108.40.206.21.01.001
Spectre showcased Craig’s Bond with a black-dialled Aqua Terra model and a custom-designed Seamaster 300 Spectre, the latter receiving substantial screen time. For the first time in a Daniel Craig Bond movie, a gadget from Q Branch was incorporated into the watch—a grenade activated via the crown, or, as Q amusingly termed it, “A rather loud alarm.”
Craig himself had suggested the reintroduction of gadget-infused watches to the franchise, a proposal that was implemented to great success.
No Time To Die (2021): The Omega Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition
In “No Time To Die,” the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition made its debut. This timepiece is unique because Daniel Craig himself played a significant role in its design. Reflecting a utilitarian aesthetic with vintage touches, the watch encapsulates Bond’s timeless elegance and readiness for action. Throughout the film, the watch can be seen during pivotal sequences, serving as a constant reminder of Bond’s unruffled style amid chaos.
James Bond Watches: A Diverse Timeline of Precision and Luxury
The evolution of James Bond watches mirrors not only the transformation of the Bond character through the ages but also the shifts in societal tastes, technological advances, and horological trends.
These timepieces, therefore, serve not only as practical tools and fashionable accessories but also as markers of time, encapsulating the essence of each Bond era.
Just as 007 continues to adapt and evolve, we anticipate with excitement the timepieces that will grace his wrist in the future, reflecting the character’s undying charm and the ever-changing world he inhabits.