The James Bond watch culture

Daniel Craig’s 007 wearing an Omega watch. .

Over Thanksgiving, Phil Nobile Jr., editor in chief of Fangoria magazine, had an interesting thread of tweets (which begins with this tweet) about the James Bond watch culture.

Usually, the watches worn by Bond are on screen only briefly. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t enthusiasm for the subject.

“The @007 wristwatch collector scene is an often obsessive corner of fandom,” Nobile wrote in the first tweet. “A subculture that trades in detail, screencaps and ref. numbers.”

Indeed. While Nobile provided many examples, there’s a lot more detail to be had.

Do a Google search for “websites about James Bond watches,” and various websites and articles will pop up.

One example is an article from Esquire earlier this year titled “The Definitive Ranking of James Bond’s watches.”

Another is from Watch Time magazine titled “James Bond Watches: The Complete Movie Timeline.”

In 2017, the Timepiece Chronicle weighed in with “In Depth: All the Watches of James Bond: Dr. No to Spectre.”

Meanwhile, take a spin around YouTube and you’ll find a number of videos on the subjects. Here are just a couple. This one is from “Armand The Watch Guy.”

Here’s another one from The Bond Experience.

Omega Seamaster Co-Axial 300 M: Commemorating 50 years of James Bond films

With special thanks to our good friend Dell Deaton, it is a pleasure to release information about the new Omega Seamaster watch commemorating 50 years of James Bond films. Visit Dell’s twitter account here for additional information and more photographs.

TimeZone.com has the official press release here

No price communicated as of yet. Below are pics. (Click to enlarge.)

Note the diamond at the seven on the dial, the “50” in red on the chronometer, and the use of Binder’s gun-barrel design on the back.

Cool, and understated. Just the way HMSS likes it. Well done.

The HMSS Editors

A brief (incomplete) 007 product placement history

So, Bond 23 will have a record amount of product placement, according to the Sunday Times. Agent 007 isn’t exactly a virgin when it comes to the subject.

In Bond’s debut film adventure, you could see Smirnoff vodka and Red Stripe beer. Then again, Dr. No only had a $1 million budget and was modestly budgeted. The brand name referneces reflected what you’d see in a James Bond novel by Ian Fleming.

Things picked up with the third 007 film, Goldfinger. There were vehicles from Ford Motor Co. (Tilly’s Mustang, Felix Leiter’s Thunderbird, the Ford trucks in Goldfinger’s convoy going to Fort Knox and the Lincoln Continental where gangster Mr. Solo had his “pressing engagement”). Not to mention Gillette shaving products and Kentucky Fried Chicken, evidently Felix’s favorite fast food place while maintaining survellence on criminal masterminds. The film’s director, Guy Hamilton, had this to say to film historian Adrian Turner:

I used to get a little bit angry when Harry (Saltzman) used to come on the set. In the plane scene with Pussy Galore, when Bond haves, the whole thing was a Gillette exercise. You never saw anything like it. There was Gillette foam, Gillette aftershave…I said, ‘Harry what are you doing? It’s eight in the morning, the crew haven’t arrived and your’e dressing a set?’ He’d done a deal with Gillette and we were going to get sixpence to use their stuff.”
(Adrian Turner on Goldfinger, 1998, pages 158-59)

With Thunderball, Ford was even more out in force: Fiona Volpe’s Mustang, not one but two Lincoln Continentals and Count Lippe’s aging Ford Fairlane. Ford did a promotional film, “How to Blow Up a Motor Car,” and Henry Ford II, then the CEO of Ford had a cameo in the movie. For You Only Live Twice, Japanese financial titans had an impact, including television monitors by Sony and Aki’s Toyota (not orignally a convertible but it was transformed into one).

Ford was back in Oh Her Majesty’s Secret Service (Tracy’s Mercury Cougar) and Diamonds Are Forever (Tiffany Case’s Mustang that Bond drove to great effect). GM managed to get its Chevrolet division as the primary auto supplier for Live And Let Die but it appears only one type of model could be supplied. The Man With The Golden Gun had the only 007 appearance for American Motors (later absorbed by Chrysler).

Moonraker is remembered by some fans for excessive product placement. A long Rio sequence has multiple referneces to 7 Up, British Airways and Marlboro cigarettes (including the use of Elmer Bernstein’s theme for The Magnifcent Seven, which Marlboro would use for television commercials in the 1960s). United Artists initially hoped to make the movie for $20 million. The budget came in closer to $35 million, so it’s not much of a stretch to speculate the product placement was a way of finding alternative sources of funding.

Three Pierce Brosnan 007 films (GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies and The World Is Not Enough) featured BMW cars.

But Ford once again entered the world of 007. For 2002’s Die Another Day. At that time, Ford had a collection of European luxury brands (including Aston Martin, a long-time 007 favorite), so DAD was a way to promote all of the brands, including a Land Rover SUV that took villain Gustav Graves to Buckingham Palace. Ford even managed to get in a couple of shots of its then-new Thunderbird two-seat car driven by U.S. agent Jinx (Halle Berry) to a big party given by Graves.

The Daniel Craig era has again seen Aston Martin make a splash and Omega watches even got mentioned in a dramatic scene between Bond and Vesper Lynd (Eva Green).

The Sunday Times reported that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Sony, which are co-financiing Bond 23, want to generate $45 million, or about a third, of Bond 23’s production budget from product placement fees. We’ll see how it goes. The Bond 23 filmmakers will probably get the money. The question is how obvious the product placement will be.