James Bond is one of the most iconic menswear idols. He has introduced staples to men’s wardrobes for 60 years, including the tuxedo and the shoe knife. Ok, maybe the second one is not quite a staple as the first, but it was still one we dreamt about since the moment we saw it on screen. However, there is one accessory that James Bond wore in every movie that created an entire industry in and of itself. Every time the British super spy wore a watch, we men rushed out to find their own version to emulate 007.
- Rolex Submariner Ref. 6538 from Dr. No
- Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513 from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
- Breitling Top Time from Thunderball
- Seiko 7549-7009 from For Your Eyes Only
- TAG Heuer Professional Night-Dive Reference 980.031 from The Living Daylights
- OMEGA Seamaster Professional 300M Ref. 2541.80 from Goldeneye
- OMEGA Seamaster 300 Ref. 18.104.22.168.21.01.001 from Spectre
- OMEGA Seamaster 300 Series 007 Edition from No Time to Die
Of course, after over two dozen movies under his belt, there is a cornucopia of options you can grab. These probably won’t print out a message like a label maker, or laser cut a hole in the bottom of a train, but they will definitely tell the time in the most stylish way and help you feel ready to defend His Majesty’s kingdom. Here are the best watches the spy ever wore.
We would be remiss if we didn’t start off with the James Bond that started it all, with Sean Connery. And along with that, he wore the watch that started it all. The Rolex Submariner. The large crown on this icon is one of the most recognizable features and became so beloved and connected to MI6’s most trusted hero that the timepiece has been dubbed the “Bond Rolex.” It didn’t simply start with Connery’s debut in Dr. No; it also appeared two more times in From Russia with Love and Goldfinger, further solidifying itself in Bond lore.
George Lazenby had a tough job ahead of him when he had to follow up Sean Connery. He had to find a way to set himself apart from the legend in his debut as the character in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. On top of setting his character apart, he also needed to have a wardrobe that worked for him while staying in the already established sartorial realm of his predecessor. He did so by staying with Rolex but going with a slightly more updated version of the Submariner. While the iconic line designed the Daytona soon after, it adapted many of the features of this watch, earning Lazenby’s timepiece the name the “Pre-Daytona.”
While Rolex has always had a connection to the Bond franchise, it hasn’t always had a solitary stranglehold on the spy. He stepped out often, and one of the earliest was in Thunderball when Q bestowed upon him the Breitling Top Time. The unique case shape and dual dials on the face were not only striking, but the Geiger counter ended up being perfect for the mission (as it always ends up being). If you picked up a Top Time today, it wouldn’t alert you to radiation, but it would put you in the upper echelons of style with Bond, James Bond.
Sean Connery once called Roger Moore’s portrayal of James Bond a parody of the character. While the former’s sy was more grounded, the latter went to new heights (literally to the moon) on the camp and also on the gadgets. All seven of Moore’s films seemed to try to outdo the last. And when it came to watches, he had a bevy of options. While he was the only Bond to wear digital watches, including one that printed out messages like a label maker, his best was the Seiko 7549-7009 from For Your Eyes Only. Seiko invented the quartz movement and almost singlehandedly caused the quartz crisis of the 1970s while other luxury watch companies tried to keep up. But this robust 49 mm case is one of their crowning achievements. Nicknamed the “Golden Tuna,” this piece could reach new depths while the franchise reached new heights.
Timothy Dalton brought a new darkness to the Bond character that it sorely needed after the camp of Moore. While only appearing in two films, his no-nonsense demeanor and brutality breathed a new life into the super spy for the 80s during the rise of the bonified action stars. His greatest watch is undoubtedly the debut of Tag Heuer into the Bond franchise with the Professional Night Dive from The Living Daylights. Since Dalton was only in two films, his watches never saw a lot of screen time, but blink, and you’ll miss the appearance (this is the best shot of the watch in the film) of this classic in the opening sequence of the film cemented it into the stuff of 007 legends. The bright white dial with the handy luminescence makes this watch equal to the more well-known Bond watches.
Speaking of well-known Bond watches, we go to the third most well-known Bonds with the most well-known Bond watch. The OMEGA Seamaster series debuted with Pierce Brosnan’s 007 in Goldeneye and became the staple of the spy, replacing the Rolex Submariner. That doesn’t mean it (or he, for that matter) is better than the predecessors; it just means most of us grew up with it. The steel bracelet, blue dial, and quartz movement are the combination of style and function that screams James Bond, even if yours won’t laser cut your way out of an exploding train.
Daniel Craig is the new standard for all James Bonds. His grounded and gritty performance, combined with his subtle humor, provided the perfect mix of Dalton’s grit, Moore’s humor, and Connery’s debonair style. He did the same with the watches he wore as he continued the tradition of OMEGA excellence. This one, however, was the first time that a watch worn by the spy was recreated and offered as a limited edition. The black ceramic bi-directional bezel ring and the black and gray field strap make this a one-of-a-kind addition to our list of Bond perfection. But again, gadgetry is not included, so it won’t explode and aid your escape from Blofeld.
For Craig’s final outing as the super spy in No Time to Die, he and OMEGA pulled out all the stops with the Seamaster 300 007 Edition, a throwback to many of the Bonds before him; this is the cream of the crop of Bond watches. The dial is almost an exact replica of Connery’s Rolex Submariner, the line is precisely the same as Brosnan’s Seamaster 300, and the limited edition continued his own trend. Out of all the Bond watches you could own, this one is the most fan-service and accessibility since most of the others are either tens of thousands of dollars or out of production.
There you have it, the best options for the die-hard 007 fanatic. We can argue all day over who the best James Bond is, and we can even list out and debate our favorite Bond gadgets and ensembles, but these watches are almost inarguably his best.
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