It’s not hard to find claims to “the definitive list of James Bond watches.” Like Elliot Carver with bankers, the Internet seems to collect them.
Your challenge is to find one with credibility.
Where did they get their lists? How do they account for controversial identifications that are at odds with those of others?
- If you’re a collector, the correct “James Bond” model can mean a significantly more valuable investment;
- If you’re a journalist, reliable source information is the basis by which your own credibility is judged; and,
- If you’re a true fan, living the James Bond lifestyle means wearing a watch that’s nothing less the real thing.
So— how do you that you’ve found the best source for James Bond watch information, as opposed to others’ cut-and-paste schemes? Test it!
Demand research documentation
- My discovery of Ian Fleming’s original literary James Bond watch is based on personal interviews with heirs who inherited the timepiece, exclusive access to watchmaker records, and access to photographs before this watch was ever publicly displayed anywhere.
- You know that JamesBondWatches.com was first to absolutely identify all 8 watch models supplied by Seiko UK to EON Productions, because I back it with documentation from the source. Subjected to expert scrutiny.
- Jeffery Deaver identified both watch models specified for James Bond in Carte Blanche, directly to me before any other news outlet: Agent 007’s personal Rolex wristwatch, and the Breitling for Bentley he wore undercover in Africa.
- Myths can propagate from the unsupported generalizations of a very few people, simply reposting speculation without challenge. So, for example, when I saw participants on various Internet forums guessing in 2009 about the watch brand folks now most associated with James Bond, I created an instrument and surveyed the question.
Demand professional credentials
- My research has passed editorial muster and run as feature articles in WatchTime (February 2009), Chronos (2009, German language), Revolution (fourth quarter 2010), and WatchTime: India (fourth quarter 2012).
- International auctioneer and frequent conduit for James Bond watch sales itself, Christie’s, did a 6-part interview “In Conversation with James Bond Watches Expert Dell Deaton” for its Longitude blog.
Demand fundamental commitment
Is shouldn’t be too much to expect that anyone asking you to put faith in their James Bond watch writings invest themselves in some bare minimums. Read Ian Fleming. Have a basic understanding of watch dating by serial numbers, figure out the difference between case and model references for Seiko watches. Actually screen the movie being written about.
- The word “Rolex” appears nowhere in Ian Fleming’s 1953 novel, Casino Royale. The phrase, “it needed to be a Rolex” is from James Bond: The Legacy, by John Cork and Bruce Scivally, 2002. It characterizes a pre-production meeting for the 1962 movie, Dr No.
- James Bond does not wear a gold Girard-Perregaux wristwatch in the 1957 Ian Fleming novel, From Russia with Love.
- The “fact” that Rolex may have made a Submariner with Explorer-style dial in no way qualifies it as “possible” reference by Ian Fleming for his 1963 On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as James Bond’s watch. This book-Bond wore his Rolex as part of an elaborately-described disguise to appear as Sir Hilary Bray, a baronet. A cover wholly inconsistent with a diver’s watch that screams, “I’m a Navy-guy secret agent!”
- There’s only one James Bond in the 1967 movie Casino Royale: David Niven. And he doesn’t wear a Rolex GMT. Peter Sellers wears a Rolex GMT (of sorts), as Evelyn Tremble — a character who Niven’s Bond calls “Bond” as a ruse to fool the enemy. Akin to Sean Connery’s Bond putting his ID on Peter Franks in Diamonds Are Forever.
- The watch clearly visible in The Living Daylights pre-title sequence is obviously not a Rolex Submariner Date. Out of generosity, I choose to believe folks who persist in labeling it as such simply haven’t seen the movie. But maybe they really don’t know the first thing about wristwatches.
- Any list that names no more than watchmaker is no list at all. “James Bond wore an Omega in GoldenEye” only begins to narrow things down. Adding that it’s “a Seamaster” only narrows things down to a line that’s still 80% of what Omega offers. Only the specific reference number 2541.80 gets you to the watch you’re after.
- Some James Bond watch owners actually need the instructions that would have originally come with their timekeepers. I’m constantly on the lookout for materials that I can add to watch pages here in support of this.
- I’ve been known to test for myself watchmakers’ claims of timekeeping precision-accuracy.
- While it’s never the case that every person has a perfect experience with all brands, constantly, some complaints rise to the level of apparent vendettas (if not outright libel) — that must be addressed. I make the effort to rebut whiners with facts, when possible.
- I want corroboration for every James Bond watch assertion, regardless of my respect for source or credentials. When the near-mythic “tossed Rolex” story isn’t even mentioned in The Autobiography of Cubby Broccoli, I’m compelled to challenge the story.
Demand personal investment
- I likely own one of the widest variety of confirmed James Bond watch models in the world. My first Bond watch was a Hamilton Pulsar P2, bought new in the early 1970s and worn daily for years. I’ve been honored to wear both the actual Bond watches of Ian Fleming and Jeffery Deaver. Today I rotate wrist-time among most confirmed screen-worn watchmakers. So when I talk James Bond watches, I talk from broad experience.
- It doesn’t require much effort (or ethics) to propagate a James Bond watch page with pilfered screen-captures, press release images, and stuff from paparazzi. Even the pictures that come from jewelers and other sellers have a sort of begrudgingly-made look. Conversely, I not only do a lot of photography and video with the watches we’re talking about here, a lot of it is done specifically in “James Bond” contexts. I post these for reference, as well as free access for personal enjoyment.
- Early 2008, I started working with the National Watch & Clock Museum on “Bond Watches, James Bond Watches.” This special exhibit was to become the first-ever display of models from all known James Bond watchmakers, with Ian Fleming’s personal (and only) James Bond watch serving as centerpiece. As curator, I volunteered both considerable time and contributed a great deal out-of-pocket financially to bring this enjoyment to the mass public. Initially opened for a one-year run, it was extended through summer of 2012.
- As the ultimate demonstration of accountability, I sign my name to everything I put on this site. My real name.
Now— demand credibility
At the outset of this “About” page, I suggested just how little it takes for someone to cut-and-paste together a “list” of James Bond watches. How much you risk in relying on just any presentation in making your decisions regarding James Bond watch identifications.
I’m confident you’ll find the criteria for comparison that I’ve laid out above both objective and reasonable. I further believe that I’ve led by example in thoroughly accounting for my own credentials here. However, to paraphrase automobile industry icon Lee Iacocca, if you think you’ve found a better resource for James Bond watch information, go there.
In closing, I believe that attention to James Bond watches is fun; first and foremost, that’s what it should be, too. I conscientiously avoid picking favorites or suggestion that I prefer one watch to another. To do otherwise not only disrespects the great passions that others bring to this shared interest, but also discourages them from sharing the invariably wonderful stories that’ve brought ’em here.
At the same time, I take the work of identifying and elaborating upon these watches very seriously. It’s not easy. And anyone who indulges compulsion to “point out” that “James Bond is a fictional character” really doesn’t get it. A lot do so out of jealousy, insecurely feeling somehow that attention to these watches detracts from wristwatches they are certain would otherwise become more attractive. Others use it as an escape chute, rationalizing their departure from an area of study that’s not nearly as easy as they thought when blowing into the room with pontifications on how much they know about the “easy” subject of James Bond watches.
The fact is, “James Bond” is a meta-brand that brings together otherwise competitive watchmakers. It’s a label that excites interest that otherwise might not exist among the non-horological types, to take note of the importance of timekeeping in war, communications, and society. To trace what were actually many incremental steps in the Quartz Revolution as it played out on the wrist of Agent 007. To gain an understanding of why the price of a “thing” is not simply the sum costs of the parts and labor that went into producing it.
Welcome to JamesBondWatches.com!
Dell Deaton | April 12, 2013
Revised: February 21, 2017