James Bond has been a pop culture icon for more than half a century and his watches have been a subject of intense discussion, debate, and speculation for nearly as long. From Connery to Craig, from Rolex to Seiko to Omega, and with other iconic actors and notable timepieces in between, here is the complete guide to the eclectic watches worn throughout 50+ years of James Bond movies.
1962 - 1971: SEAN CONNERY
Dr. No (1962), From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964) - Rolex Submariner Ref. 6538; Thunderball (1965) - Breitling Top Time; You Only Live Twice (1967), Diamonds Are Forever (1971) - Gruen 510 Precision
The speculation over what wristwatch James Bond would or should wear on his demanding missions is one that predated even the first movie, 1962’s Dr. No. Ian Fleming, Bond’s creator and the writer of the original novels that inspired the long-running movie series, was known to wear a Rolex Explorer, specifically Reference 1016. On the relatively rare instances in which Fleming (below) refers to Bond’s watch in print, he establishes that it is a Rolex Oyster Perpetual, albeit never mentioning a model name (and certainly not a reference number). In descriptive passages about the watch throughout the series, Fleming lets readers know that it is made of stainless steel, has an “expanding bracelet,” and a dial with “big phosphorus numerals.” The prevailing thought today is that Fleming was simply writing about his own Rolex, the one he knew, thus making the Rolex Explorer Ref. 1016 the “official” first watch of James Bond. As an interesting side note, Fleming was not at all shy about name-checking other watches on other characters throughout the series, including those worn by Bond’s enemies. Moonraker’s Hugo Drax wore “a plain gold Patek Philippe with a black leather strap,” Thunderball’s Giuseppe Petachi sported a “solid gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual Chronometer on a flexible gold bracelet,” and Soviet assassin Donovan “Red Grant,” primary antagonist in From Russia with Love, was introduced with a “bulky gold wristwatch on a well-used brown crocodile strap… a Girard-Perregaux model… [with] a sweep-second hand and two little windows in the face to tell the day of the month, and the month, and the phase of the moon.” Apparently, Bond’s villains were more into ostentatious gold timepieces than 007 himself.
When the sixth Bond novel, Dr. No, became the first Bond movie in 1962, introducing Scottish actor Sean Connery as the original (and to many still the definitive) version of James Bond, the producers adhered to Fleming’s version of Agent 007 as a Rolex wearer. It wasn’t an Explorer on Connery’s wrist, however, but a Rolex Submariner, Ref. 6538, still referred to as “the James Bond Rolex” or the “James Bond Submariner” in the modern era. Connery wore the watch — which, in those halcyon days predating the era of widespread product placement, may have been from the actor’s personal collection — in his starring role in the first three movies: Dr. No, From Russia with Love (1963) and Goldfinger (1964). As a former naval officer who often found himself in underwater danger, a Submariner certainly made sense as Bond’s go-to timepiece. In Dr. No, the Sub was mounted on a brown leather strap; in Goldfinger, the same watch (presumably) was attached to a notably thin, striped nylon NATO strap. This Submariner is notable for its oversized 8mm “Big Crown” and its aluminum bezel insert with red triangle marker.
As a side note, lest I be remiss in emphasizing the importance of Goldfinger in not only the Bond cinematic canon but in Rolex marketing history, the movie also featured another Rolex, this one a “Pepsi-bezel” GMT-Master model worn on the wrist of actress Honor Blackman; her character’s suggestive name, Pussy Galore, remains one of the enduring nicknames for that watch. Read more about the GMT-Master and its history here.
Connery wears his Submariner once again in the fourth movie, Thunderball (1965), but at one point swaps it out with another watch made (and recently re-introduced, below) by Breitling. The Breitling Top Time model that Bond wears in the film (a modified Ref. 2002) is equipped with a built-in Geiger counter that Bond uses to track a cache of stolen nuclear missiles that his enemy has hidden underwater. The watch — one of many gadget-packed models that would be assigned to Agent 007 by Q, his put-upon weapons maker and supplier — was a chronograph with two subdials, applied baton hour markers, and a tachymeter scale surrounding the black dial. The prop “Geiger counter” version of the watch used in the film surfaced in 2013 (at a flea market, legend has it) and was sold later that year at a Christie’s auction for more than 100,000 British pounds.
Bond’s Rolex Submariner was absent for the next movie, 1967’s You Only Live Twice, which took Connery’s Bond to Japan for a showdown with his nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld. While it’s never been definitively identified, most sources point to a gold-cased Gruen Precision 510, an understated analog dress watch with a subsidiary seconds subdial, which was also likely Connery’s own. With this movie, Connery exits the series for the first time (though he would return to reprise the role in 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever, another Bond film in which his wristwatch is unclear but likely the same gold Gruen), leaving the first vacancy in the James Bond role of several to come over the decades, clearing the way for a new lead actor as well as new, and at times very different, styles of Bond watches.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) - Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513, Rolex “pre-Daytona” Chronograph Ref. 6238
To the surprise of many at the time, Australian model and TV commercial actor George Lazenby took over the role of 007 for 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Lazenby wore two Rolexes in the film, one a Submariner Ref. 5513 that the actor is believed to have purchased himself for his audition; the other an Oyster Perpetual “pre-Daytona” chronograph, Ref. 6238, with a 36mm steel case, a Valjoux 72 movement, and a silver dial with a tachymeter scale ring; the Daytona models that followed this reference would incorporate the tachymeter on their bezels. It was one of the few instances throughout the long-running film series that Bond wore an analog chronograph watch. Lazenby, still the only one-and-done lead actor in the official Bond cinematic canon, opted not to return to the role in future films.
1973 - 1985: ROGER MOORE
Live and Let Die (1973) - Hamilton Pulsar, Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513; The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) - Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513; The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) - Seiko 0674 LC, Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675; Moonraker (1979) - Seiko M354 Memory Bank Calendar; For Your Eyes Only (1981) - Seiko 7549-7009,Seiko H357 Duo Display; Octopussy (1983) - Seiko TV Watch; A View to a Kill (1985) - Seiko Diver Ref. H558-5000, Seiko Ref. 6923-8080, Seiko Ref. 7A28-7020
With the 1970s came both a new James Bond and a new era in watchmaking technology that would have a profound impact on the iconic spy’s wristwear for more than a decade to come. Roger Moore, an English actor who had honed his secret-agent chops playing Simon Templar in the fondly remembered British spy series The Saint, came on board as Bond with Live and Let Die in 1973. He brought with him, at least in some scenes, another Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513 — but in keeping with the more over-the-top, gadget-heavy storylines that characterized this era of cinematic Bond, the watch was tricked out with a miniature buzz-saw bezel that Bond deployed to cut through binding ropes, as well as a magnetic field generator that could deflect bullets or, in classic, non-PC Bond style, unzip a lady’s dress. The actual watch worn by Moore in Live and Let Die sold at a Phillips auction for 365,000 Swiss francs in 2015. Perhaps even more impactful for the franchise was the other watch Bond wore in the opening scene, a Hamilton Pulsar P2 2900 LED digital watch (above) — a sign of the times in an era during which traditional mechanical watches, like the Submariner, were increasingly taking a back seat in the market to the quartz-powered, electronic digital timepieces that had emerged on the scene. James Bond and his big-screen adventures would not be immune to the trend, though it would be several more years before such watches took center stage alone: Moore wore the same Rolex Submariner in his second outing as Bond, The Man with the Golden Gun, in 1974.
For 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me, Roger Moore donned Pussy Galore’s signature watch, a Rolex GMT-Master, Ref. 1675, a travel watch suited to a globetrotting international spy. However, far more attention has been paid to the other watch that Moore wore in that film, a Seiko 0674 LC (above), the first of several Seiko watches featured on the screen in the Moore era that spanned the ‘70s and into the ‘80s. In one of the more outlandish examples of Bond’s watches being pressed into high-tech gadget duty, this one was memorable for spitting out a ticker-tape message from M, summoning 007 to duty. “Seiko Watches” was among the partners listed in the film’s closing credits, and Seiko ads of the time touted the watch’s connection to James Bond, indicating that an era of collaboration between brands and movie studio had begun.
Moonraker, released in 1979, jettisoned much of the material in Fleming’s original novel (published in 1954), replacing it with outer-space and sci-fi elements inspired by the blockbuster that had preceded it several years earlier (and battled The Spy Who Loved Me at the box office), 1977’s Star Wars. Perhaps appropriately, it was the first movie in which Moore’s Bond wore a digital Seiko exclusively, namely the M354 Memory Bank Calendar. In the story, the watch (above) is equipped with an explosive device with a remote detonator that plays a timely role in Bond’s dramatic escape from the Moonraker’s launch pad.
Officially or unofficially, Seiko was now firmly on board as the go-to supplier of James Bond watches during the heyday of the quartz revolution. The next movie, 1981’s For Your Eyes Only, brought Moore’s 007 back down to a more earthbound setting after the cosmic vistas of Moonraker, and placed two Seiko watches on his wrist: the analog-digital H357 Duo Display, which Bond wears throughout the film until he takes it off for a romantic interlude, after which it’s scooped up by a parrot (just watch the movie) and discarded in the sea as the credits begin to roll. The other watch is a Seiko “Golden Tuna” dive watch, Ref. 7459-7009 (above), which the secret agent wore during the movie’s submarine search sequence. Historically, the watch, whose nickname comes from its “tuna can” case, was the first dive watch with a quartz movement and the first with a titanium case — on this model, enhanced with gold elements that lent it an aura of luxury suitable for a Bond watch.
Bond’s next Seiko, worn in 1983’s Octopussy (above), was the so-called TV Watch, another technical first for the Japanese watchmaker, which was equipped with a receiver that could receive UHF and VHF television broadcast signals and broadcast their images on a tiny LCD screen. In keeping with the ethos of this era of Bond, the watch was used for both play (Bond using the screen to ogle the cleavage of an attractive female assistant at Q’s lab) and work (using it to retrieve reconnaissance images from a camera mounted on a hot air balloon in the final battle scene).
Both Roger Moore and Seiko took their final bows in a James Bond film in 1985’s A View to a Kill, which features the British superspy wearing three Seiko models — a two-tone quartz analog-date watch (Ref. 6923-8080); a steel-cased, analog quartz chronograph with a white dial (Ref. 7A28-7020; that watch, above, contained the first quartz movement with an analog chronograph function), and another “Tuna” dive watch, the analog-digital H558-5000. Here it should be mentioned that the two-tone Seiko model resembles, by accident or design, Moore’s own Rolex Datejust, which most observers believe is the watch he’s wearing in the climactic showdown scene on the Golden Gate Bridge, so it’s somewhat unclear how many scenes were “Seiko” and how many were “Rolex.”
1987 - 1989: TIMOTHY DALTON
The Living Daylights (1987) - TAG Heuer Professional Night Diver Ref. 980.031; License to Kill (1989) - Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513
With The Living Daylights in 1987, the James Bond film franchise underwent a reboot that toned down much of the tongue-in-cheek humor and outlandish plots of the Moore era and attempted to re-emphasize some of the down-to-earth grittiness of Fleming’s novels. Now in the leading role was Welsh actor Timothy Dalton, who brought more of a smoldering, badass edge to the character. The watch Dalton wore in the movie, whose Cold War-inspired storyline was also a throwback to earlier Bond stories, was a now-discontinued model from TAG Heuer, most likely the Night Diver Ref. 980.031 with a black PVD case and a luminous dial. Interestingly, since the dial was never seen all that clearly on screen, it’s uncertain whether it was technically a “Heuer” or a “TAG Heuer”as the company underwent its name change in the late 1980s, while The Living Daylights would have been in the process of shooting, and models with both the old and new logo would have been available at retail at the time.
Dalton returned as Bond in only one more film, License to Kill, in 1986, and while its “Miami Vice”-influenced drug cartel storyline is largely forgettable, the movie is notable for being the last appearance on screen of a Rolex as James Bond’s watch. It was, again, a Submariner Ref. 5513 on an Oyster bracelet. And as it turned out, the year of License to Kill’s release was also the last that year that particular Submariner reference was in production.
1995 - 2002: PIERCE BROSNAN
Goldeneye (1995) - Omega Seamaster Professional 300M Ref. 2451.80; Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World is Not Enough (1999), Die Another Day (2002) - Omega Seamaster Automatic Chronometer 300M Ref. 2531.80.00
After an unusually lengthy hiatus, James Bond returned to the big screen in 1995, with a new 007 — Irish actor Pierce Brosnan, who had been pursued for the role since his star-making turn as a charming rogue detective in the 1980s TV series Remington Steele — and a new official watch provider: Rolex’s longtime competitor, Omega. According to the watch company, the relationship arose organically, when Lindy Hemming, the Oscar-winning costume designer who came on board for Brosnan’s first Bond film, Goldeneye, decided that an Omega Seamaster would be the ideal watch for James Bond, based on the character’s established history. “I was convinced that Commander Bond, a naval man, a diver, and a discreet gentleman of the world, would wear this watch,” Hemming said in an interview. Brosnan’s Goldeneye watch was the Seamaster Professional 300M Ref. 2451.80, with a quartz movement. In the movie, the 300-meter water resistant diver with blue dial is equipped with a built-in laser beam in the bezel, which Bond uses for a desperate escape from an exploding train car, and a remote detonator button (which in reality is the watch’s screw-down helium release valve).
Brosnan is said to have been very fond of the watch and its blue dial (example above), and in his next three movies as Bond he wore one very similar to the model that debuted in Goldeneye, the Seamaster Professional Ref. 2531.80.00, whose major difference was that it was equipped with an automatic chronometer-rated movement, the Omega Caliber 1120, rather than a quartz one. In each of the films in which it appeared, Bond’s Seamaster was pressed into duty not only as a timekeeper but as a repository of hidden weapons and life-saving tools. In 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies, it’s equipped with a built-in detonator that sets off a remote hand grenade; in 1999’s The World is Not Enough, it releases a grappling hook with a piton shooting up from the crown; and in Brosnan’s last film, 2002’s Die Another Day, the watch, with yet another remote detonating device, is just one of that movie’s host of barely believable high-tech plot devices, including, at one point, an Aston Martin (below) that can turn invisible.
2006 - 2021: DANIEL CRAIG
Casino Royale (2006) - Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Ref. 2220.80.00, Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ref. 2900.50.91; Quantum of Solace (2008)- Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M Co-Axial Chronometer Ref. 2201.50.00; Skyfall (2012) - Omega Planet Ocean 600M Ref. 188.8.131.52.01.001, Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Midsize Chronometer Ref. 184.108.40.206.03.001; Spectre (2015) - Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M Ref. 220.127.116.11.03.003, Omega Seamaster 300 Ref. 18.104.22.168.01.001; No Time to Die (2021) - Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Master Chronometer "007 Edition"
Yet another hard reboot of the James Bond cinematic mythos began in 2006, and for this one, the producers went all the way back to the beginning — adapting Casino Royale, Ian Fleming's very first Bond novel from 1953, for the first time to the big screen. (The spy-parody version from 1967, starring David Niven, is not considered part of the official Bond movie continuity, nor is the other film ignored here, 1983's Thunderball retread/Connery swan song, Never Say Never Again.) Portraying the younger, harder-edged version of Bond that the new era called for was Daniel Craig, an English stage and movie actor known for bringing both charm and intensity to his roles. Despite the “back-to-basics” approach, it was still Omega, not Rolex, that was on board as official watch supplier. (For any viewer who wasn’t sure, there’s even a line in Casino Royale where one of Bond’s traveling companions mistakes his wristwatch for a Rolex and he instantly corrects her.) Craig’s Bond wears two Seamasters in the movie, a 45.5mm steel Planet Ocean Ref. 2900.50.91, mostly in outdoor action scenes, and a Seamaster 300M with blue dial (Ref. 2220.80.00, below), very similar to Brosnan’s signature watch, albeit without any built-in grappling hooks or lasers, as per the more serious, less-gadget-heavy turn the series had taken.
Bond opts for a Planet Ocean as his sole watch in 2008’s Quantum of Solace, which was largely a sequel to Casino Royale, namely the 600-meter water resistant Ref. 2201.50,00 in steel with a matte black dial, which at 42mm in diameter was slightly more modest in size than Bond’s previous Planet Ocean. Once again, there was a distinct dearth of extra gadgets in the timepiece.
In Skyfall (2012), another branch of Omega’s far-ranging Seamaster family (I cover it in detail here) makes its first appearance in a James Bond movie. One of the watches Daniel Craig wears in his third outing as 007 is an Aqua Terra “Midsize” Chronometer (Ref. 22.214.171.124.03.001), outfitted with Omega’s co-axial Caliber 8500 and featuring the now-hallmark Aqua Terra teakwood-pattern dial. As in Casino Royale, Bond sports one watch for the more elegant “indoor” scenes, another for the action-oriented “outdoor” ones. The dressier Aqua Terra served as the former, while another Planet Ocean 600M (126.96.36.199.01.001, below), does its duty as the latter. The actual watch Craig wore during filming was a unique piece made specially for the movie, with a 42mm titanium case (the commercial version was in steel). After Skyfall was released, Craig’s battered movie-worn watch sold at a Christie’s auction for more than $250,000.
Master villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld and his worldwide criminal organization Spectre, staples of 1960s and ‘70s Bond films but absent from the screen for decades due to legal disputes, finally returned in 2015’s Spectre. Perhaps inevitably, audiences were also introduced to a new, younger version of Q, which meant that Bond’s classic gadgets, including ones built into his watches, were also back, at least to an extent. Again, Daniel Craig wears two Omega Seamaster models: an Aqua Terra (Ref. 188.8.131.52.03.003) in the memorable “Day of the Dead” opening sequence in Mexico City, and a steel Seamaster 300 (below), with a fabric NATO strap that is fairly obviously a callback to the one famously seen on Bond’s Rolex in Goldfinger. In keeping with Omega’s technical watchmaking advances in recent years, both these watches are equipped with Master Chronometer movements notable for their industry-leading magnetic resistance to 15,000 Gauss. In the movie, the Seamaster 300 has another high-tech feature built in: a timed explosive activated by twisting the bezel, which Bond uses to escape Blofeld’s clutches in a climactic scene.
Craig’s final Bond film, the much-anticipated and COVID-delayed No Time to Die, had plenty of timing and dying, despite its title (I’ll leave it at that for the few diehards that still haven’t seen it). It also had, once again, multiple Omega Seamasters on the screen — this time, distributed among several characters. Craig wore the Seamaster Diver 300M “007 Edition (below),” a watch to which Omega says the actor had substantial input on the design, with a titanium case, a scalloped-edge rotating divers’ bezel with an aluminum insert, and a brown “tropical” dial with vintage-hued lume and a British armed-forces-inspired “broad arrow” marking above 6 o’clock. Bond’s temporary replacement as Agent 007, Lashana Lynch’s Nomi, rocked a 38mm black dialed Aqua Terra, and Naomie Harris’ Eve Moneypenny sported a 27.4mm De Ville Prestige with a quartz movement and hunter green leather strap.
With speculation already running rampant as to who Craig’s successor will be in the iconic role, one factor remains constant: Omega, now marking 25 years as the official watch of James Bond, will almost certainly be providing the timepiece on 007’s wrist, whether it’s got geiger counters, lasers, grappling hooks, or none of the above.
Join the Conversation
In Live and Let Die during the speedboat chase Roger Moore is wearing a Tissot PRC 516.
Thank you for this thorough and fascinating article. My first ‘watch’ was the Tag Pro night diver and I still wear it today. I had no idea it was a Bond watch.
Thanks for this very interesting and detailed article, amateurs of JB 007 movies & Omega appreciate ;-) To answer the question from the e-mail: my favourite 007 Omega is the PO of Skyfall; to me it mixes the elegance of the AT, the bezel of the 300 and sportiness of the Diver 300. One small correction: I believe 007 wears the AT from Spectre in the pre-title sequence of No Time To Die, as continuation. So not very long compared to the D300, but still ;-) Thanks again!
Love the article, thank you for this, I had been wanting someone to do a deep dive (pun intended) on Bond’s watches. The submariner and the seamaster are classics and it’s hard to decide which one I like better. I want both. All of the characters in the western cannon, Bond is my favorite and has always been my inspiration for wearing nice watches and clothes.