Omega and James Bond: On the wings of the myth20 June 2023
Last year James Bond celebrated 60 years since the release of its first movie. It was 1962 and “Dr. No” introduced the man who would become the most famous spy in the world. Not just a character, but a lifestyle that is expressed through elements that have become legendary such as cars and, of course, watches.
In the early years several brands were associated with Bond, but since 1995, with the movie “GoldenEye”, Omega has become synonymous with Bond Watch. The Bienne brand could not miss this anniversary, so they created the new Seamaster Diver 300M 60 Years Of James Bond in steel; a watch that is worth mentioning for many reasons, starting with the return of the wave pattern dial and the incredible animated case back. Perhaps, however, it is good to take a look at what Omega has created for 007 over these almost thirty years of collaboration.
JAMES BOND AND LINDY HEMMING
Ten watches were featured in the nine films produced since 1995 – worn by Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig. This long and emblematic collaboration wasn’t just product placement. It is an integral part of how the whole James Bond character is defined, especially under the guidance of Oscar-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming during the mid-1990s.
She chose the one, among many watches, for “GoldenEye”, introducing the Omega Seamaster 300M Professional on the spy’s wrist for the first time. Behind this choice there were obviously reasons such as Bond’s military background, but also Lindy Hemming‘s desire to rethink the character of 007 and make it more modern: ‘I was convinced that Commander Bond, a man from the Navy, a diver and a reserved gentleman, should have worn this watch instead of what everyone expected’.
Lindy’s father had served in the RAF, the legendary British air force, and a friend of his who had served in the Navy often visited him, wearing an Omega. This childhood memory pushed her even further towards the choice of the Seamaster, consistent with the story. In 1967, a batch of the second generation of Seamaster 300 was delivered to the British Ministry of Defense to be provided to some Navy units.
Not to mention the fact that, during the Second World War, Omega delivered over 110,000 watches to Her Majesty’s Ministry of Defense for British pilots, navigators and soldiers. It represented more than 50% of the Swiss timepieces shipped to Great Britain. All the more reason to put an Omega on Commander James Bond’s wrist.
THE OMEGAS ON JAMES BOND’S WRIST
The first Seamaster 300M Professional featured in “GoldenEye” was a quartz version, while from 1997 (“Tomorrow never dies”) to 2002 (“Die Another Day”), it was the Seamaster 300M Chronometer that the spy wore on his wrist. In “Casino Royale” (2006), the watch became a Seamaster Diver 300M Co-Axial Chronometer.
The last four movies, from “Quantum of Solace” in 2008 to “No Time To Die” in 2021, have seen different pieces alternate: Seamaster Planet Ocean, Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M (“Skyfall”, 2012), Seamaster 300 Specter Limited Edition (“Spectre”, 2015), up to the latest film’s Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition.
The latter is perhaps the most significant of recent years. Based on the classic Seamaster Diver 300M Master Chronometer (42 mm, waterproof to 300 meters, helium-escape valve at 10 o’clock, unidirectional bezel and in-house Master Chronometer caliber), thanks to an unprecedented combination of colors and materials it has taken on a decidedly vintage look, complemented by the glassbox sapphire crystal, tropic aluminum bezel and applied indexes, and hands with vintage lume.
MANY TRIBUTES TO PREVIOUS SEAMASTERS
And finally, we come to the new Seamaster Diver 300M 60 Years Of James Bond, a special but not limited edition that is the star of our exclusive shooting. At first glance, the watch seems like a variation of the No Time To Die piece but, if you look at its blue color and steel case (that of the 2021 timepiece was in titanium), it appears more like a tribute to the “GoldenEye” piece from 1995, with some very interesting details making it unique.
Just to begin with: the case. 42 mm of solid steel worked by alternating satin-brushed and polished surfaces. It keeps the Seamaster’s classic look, with curved lugs, a fluted unidirectional bezel and a helium-escape valve at 10 o’clock. Water resistance to 30 bars is guaranteed by the screw-down crown, the screwed-down case back and the sapphire crystal; the latter is one of the few variations from the original Seamaster 300M, because Omega has kept the glassbox crystal of the No Time To Die, and not the classic domed sapphire of the standard Seamaster Diver 300M.
Similarly, the bezel of the Seamaster Diver 300M 60 Years Of James Bond is in aluminum with a white scale, and indexes filled with Super-LumiNova: it is not in polished ceramic as in the other Seamaster references. The blue is darker than that of the current Seamaster 300M with ceramic bezel, a further homage to the first watches in the collection. Finally, the classic triangle marking the zero has been replaced by a 60, like the anniversary that the watch celebrates.
Even the dial is a tribute to James Bond’s first watches, as is clear from the laser-etched wave pattern on the surface, in blue aluminum like the bezel. The look is completed by the modern colored Super-LumiNova without artificial patina (it glows in a combination of blue and green, with the latter on the minute hand and 60 on the bezel), the absence of the date window, the classic skeleton hands of the Seamaster Diver 300M. The unexpected touch is given by the so-called “lollipop” seconds hand, white and with a luminous dot at the tip.
THE CASE BACK: OMEGA’S MAGIC
Omega’s masterstroke on this watch is in the case back. If the No Time To Die had a solid case back, with engravings inspired by the military tradition, this one is completely different. The brand uses a “special effect” that reminds of the one on the Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award 50th Anniversary. There, the case back came to life thanks to Snoopy and its space capsule in which the dog orbited the Moon. Here, the sapphire crystal case back is decorated with a design created thanks to a micro-structured metallization, which recalls the classic gun barrel in the opening scenes of the 007 films. At the bottom of it, in the center, there’s the secret agent’s silhouette.
Under the case back, thanks to a combination of transparent and darkened surfaces, a rotating disc shows the silhouette of James Bond moving just like in the opening of the movies. The animation is linked to the rotation of the central seconds hand, so the action never stops. You can only hide it by wearing the watch on your wrist.
SEAMASTER DIVER 300M 60 YEARS OF BOND – CALIBER AND BRACELET
Inside the case of the Seamaster Diver 300M 60 Years Of Bond beats the caliber 8806, the same one that powers the No Time To Die. 29 mm diameter, Master Chronometer certified, equipped with a coaxial and antimagnetic escapement, it has 55 hours of power reserve and oscillates at 3.5 Hz. On the dial there are hours, minutes, central seconds and no date: for us, it is naturally a plus.
That is just as the Milanese mesh bracelet that completes the watch. Of course, it is in steel, as is the case, and not in titanium like that of the predecessor – but just as soft. Case and bracelet make the wearability smoother, as does the lug-to-lug under 50 mm (49.9) and the case thickness of 14.3 mm. More than 1 mm thicker than the No Time To Die but the coup de théâtre of the animated case back, although with some variations, had to pay a little tribute.
THE PRECIOUS VERSION
For the sake of completeness, we must remember that Omega celebrated 60 years since the first 007 film with another showier Seamaster Diver 300M. The only point of contact between the two models is the animated case back. Here, in fact, the steel of the case and bracelet is replaced by Canopus Gold – the white gold alloy with a special brilliance developed by Omega; the aluminum of the dial by natural gray silicon – whose crystallites make each dial unique; while the blue aluminum of the bezel is paved with natural diamonds, ranging from green to gold.
The caliber that powers them is also different. The Seamaster Diver 300M 60 Years of Bond Canopus Gold houses the Co-Axial Master Chronometer 8807 movement with 55 hours of power reserve. This watch is sold in a mango wood case with mother-of-pearl inlay and the 60 Years of Bond logo. The steel watch instead is inside a blue wooden box that takes up the wave motif of the Diver 300M, with three dots inspired by the opening sequence of the films and a secret button on the right. The prices of the two watches are also different: 9,100 euros for the steel, 168,000 euros for the Canopus Gold.
By Davide Passoni