“Rolex at the Movies.”
Collecting 007’s Sexy Rolex Watches”
Prop watches in movies have always fascinated me. These common, utilitarian devices were usually enhanced with superpowers to help the hero to foil the megalomaniac villain. But the watches were also a part of the hero’s character development between the punches, kisses, and explosions. These modified props always gave the action hero an edge over the villains, and timepiece was as much a symbol of the triumph of good over evil at the silver star of western sheriff.
The hero that comes to mind James Bond 007 “Licensed to Kill” –the most celebrated spy in film history – and ladies’ man extraordinaire.
Rolex Submariner collectors know that Bond wore a different Rolex model in each of his early films. It started with Sean Connery strapping on the leather and stainless-steel Rolex Submariner without the date window Reference 6358 for the 1962’s Dr. No. Film buffs believe that this particular Rolex was Sean Connery’s own personal timepiece.
In 1963 and 1964 Bond films, “From Russia with Love” and “Goldfinger”, Connery as 007 would continue to favor the Rolex Submariner Reference 6538. These watches had yet to be imbued with secret powers by “Q”, quartermaster of secret weaponry at MI6. The adaptations to Bond’s watch with gadgetry would come into play in later Bond films.
In 1965’s “Thunderball” Connery alternated between the ever-reliable Rolex Submariner for regular time keeping and a modified Breitling Top Time watch, fitted with a Geiger counter.
“You Only Live Twice” from 1967 saw Connery depart from wearing his usual Rolex Submariner. He battled his archenemy Ernst Stavro Blofeld wearing a golden Gruen Precision watch with a fabric strap. Fans speculate that this was Connery’s own personal watch.
“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969) closed out the decade featuring an unknown Australian actor/model, George Lazenby, as 007 Speaking as a Bond fan, I found Lazenby a totally forgettable Bond the least interesting actor in the whole franchise. This new Bond would get to wear two different model watches for the same film, the Rolex Submarine References 5513, and the Rolex Chronograph 6238 (the Chronograph later became the Rolex Chronograph Daytona).
The sixties Bond films focused mostly on 007 wearing Rolex Submariner watches while sprinkled with single appearances by a Breitling and Connery’s own Gruen watch for a bit of variety.
The seventies would see the brief return of Sean Connery in 1971’s “Diamonds are Forever” where audiences would see him wearing his Gruen watch in a brief scene. The watch’s appearance would be as short lived as Connery’s foray back into the Bond series.
From 1973 to 1985 the next Bond, Roger Moore, would alternate his watch wardrobe between wearing the ever-faithful Rolex Submariner, the Rolex GTM, the Rolex Datejust, and the various high tech (at the time) digital quartz prop watches made by Pulsar and Seiko. The latter quartz watches were modified with features that served the needs of 007’s latest assignments. It was during this period that “Q” started creating sophisticated high-tech gadgetry for Bond’s standard issue watches.
From the mid 1980’s to the present, actors playing Bond would be kitted out with many different watch brands. Each different Bond would embrace a watch brand, usually differing from the previous Bond. Timothy Dalton wore a Tag Heuer Professional Night-Diver ref 980.031 for the 1987 “Living Daylights”, and a Rolex Submariner in his second and final film, 1989’s “License to Kill”. Interestingly enough Pierce Brosnan wore the same Omega Seamaster Professional in all four of his films from 1997 to 2002. From 2006 to the present the current Bond, Daniel Craig carried on the Omega watch tradition by wearing the Seamaster Professional, the Seamaster Diver, Seamaster Planet Ocean, Seamaster 300 Spectre, and more recently the Seamaster Aqua Terra for the latest yet to be released Bond flick “No Time to Die”.
Since 1995 all of the Omega Seamaster watches worn in the Bond films were manufactured as commemorative 007 models by the Swiss watch manufacturer and promoted and sold after each film’s debut.
Follow the links below to read more about the watches featured in 007’s films and to read more about the commemorative watches made by Omega for collectors and film buffs.
Whether you are a film buff or a watch collector there are watches to suit every taste from the Bond franchise. Bond’s character was what every man wanted to be — well educated, ruthlessly competent, with superb taste in watches, bespoke clothing, drive fast cars, and tangling with faster women.
Join me next week as I discuss one of my favorite topics on jewels brought to life at the movies.