From Q With Love: 12 Best Bond Watches

55 years is a long time for a movie franchise to stick around. Since Sean Connery delivered his first lines in 1963’s Dr. No the world has seen the fall of the USSR, the first man land on the moon, computers the size of rooms shrink down to pocket-sized gadgets, and countless other shifts in geopolitics, culture, and business. So why is it that some slick British spook with a specific taste in cocktails has managed to weather all this change?

In part, it’s because Bond is a kind of cultural chameleon. The character first written by Ian Fleming in his 1953 novel Casino Royal, reflects the tastes and preferences of whatever moment he’s in. One of the best ways to track that change over time? By looking at Bond’s wrist. To help track this story, we compiled a list of what we think are some of the best Bond watches. From Connery’s slick, quick-wit to Craig’s gruff, moody demeanor, we’ve got it all covered.

Rolex Submariner 6538

When people think of Bond watches, this is what comes to mind. The Rolex 6538, often referred to as either a ‘big-crown’ Rolex or just simply as the ‘Bond Rolex,’ was produced during a short five year period between 1954 and 1959. The case of this watch measures in at just 38mm, and holds a Rolex Caliber 1030 self-winding movement. In part because of their connection to that first James Bond film, Dr. No, these watches can fetch upwards of $100,000 when put up for sale at auction houses or online.

Movie: Dr. No
Bond: Sean Connery
Year: 1962

Purchase: $100,000+

Breitling Top Time

007’s mission in Thunderball was a difficult one – find two stolen NATO nuclear warheads. To aide him in his search, Q equips bond with a modified Breitling Top Time Chronograph with a geiger counter. While that special add-on surely was helpful to Bond in his mission to save the world from the evil and secretive organization Spectre, the watch itself didn’t need any help. First introduced by Breitling in 1964, the chronograph features a clean, attractive look that doesn’t suffer from overcrowding despite its two sub-dials. The watch didn’t feature an in-house movement from the Swiss watch brand, but a third party manufacturer by the name of Venus. Specifically, Breitling’s Top Time first used a Venus 178 manual winding chronograph.

Movie: Thunderball
Bond: Sean Connery
Year: 1965

Purchase: $2,500+

Rolex Submariner 5513

Connery wasn’t the only Bond to sport a Rolex Submariner. Moore strapped one on his wrist in Live and Let Die. This particular watch left an impression on a lot of watch and film fans – though not for the normal reasons. Moore’s reference 5513 had jagged teeth along the bezel which raised themselves up and spun to cut free him of the ropes that bound his hands in a climactic scene (That prop went on to be sold at auction for upwards of $200,000 – making it one of the most expensive watches without a movement in it). The market version of the watch, manufactured between 1966 and 1984, didn’t have this wild feature, but it did boast a caliber 1530 mechanical movement, which soon after its introduction was changed to a 1520 movement. Both movements drive a trio of hands around a two-lined matte dial adorned with large, luminescent indices. Depending on what kind of dive watch you get your hands on – these can go for as high as $20,000.

Movie: Live and Let Die
Bond: Roger Moore
Year: 1973

Purchase: $7,000+

Hamilton Pulsar P2 2900

James Bond, for better or worse, always seems to have the latest and greatest gadgets. Audiences have grown to love that quality in Bond, but it has the unintended effect of dating the films. The Hamilton Pulsar (like most other digital watches worn by Bond) was, at the time of filming 1973’s Live and Let Die, a groundbreaking watch. Not only was it the first electric watch with no moving parts, but it was the only one in the world to display time using a new technology called LED. At the time of filming, the watch (which apparently was inspired by another, more famous film2001: A Space Odyssey) cost as much as a Rolex.

Movie: Live and Let Die
Bond: Roger Moore
Year: 1973

Purchase: $200+

Seiko 0674 5009

One thing that the Pulsar lacked that mechanical watches didn’t was a date and seconds function. Seiko made up for that with their 0674 5009 LC. The watch indicated AM and PM and digitally displayed the day of the week. For the folks on the production team for the film, The Spy Who Loved Me, that wasn’t quite enough to make it Bond-worthy. They added in a special ticker-tape function for when M wanted to get in touch with 007 and couldn’t get to a payphone.

Movie: The Spy Who Loved Me
Bond: Roger Moore
Year: 1977

Purchase: $700+

Seiko M354 Memory

After releasing their 0674, Seiko really doubled down on the calendar function. This newer version worn by 007 in Moonraker featured a full calendar that could display any month in an 80 year period. Along with its ability to display the day, date, and full calendar – it could be pre-programed to remind you of specific dates – even when years in the future (though we’re not sure why you’d want to do that). Bond found the watch useful – but not for any of the above stated reasons. Instead of reminding himself to get Q a birthday present in a couple months, he used it to detonate a bomb.

Movie: Moonraker
Bond: Roger Moore
Year: 1979

Purchase: $100+

Seiko 7549-7009

In 1975, a man in Hiroshima sealed a letter, scratched out the address of Seiko’s Headquarters in Japan, and dropped it in the mailbox. The contents of that letter – a complaint from a professional saturation diver, claiming the company’s watches just weren’t robust enough – would send the company down a path that ended with the reference 7549, affectionally called the Seiko ‘Tuna Can.’ This watch, worn by Moore in a diving scene in 1981’s For Your Eyes Only, was purpose-built to perform under a tremendous amount of pressure. As a result, it has a titanium monocoque case and a valve that releases gases like hydrogen and helium from the casing.

Movie: For Your Eyes Only
Bond: Roger Moore
Year: 1981

Purchase: $1,200

Seiko 7A28 7020 Quartz Chronograph

Quartz movements, as we know, ended up powering a lot more than just digital watches. The technology eventually broke into analog formats – like with the Seiko 7A28 7020. The watch was the first chronograph to feature a Quartz movement, and unsurprisingly, James Bond was eager to wear it on his wrist. The appearance of the watch in the 1985 A View To A Kill put a real feather in the cap of Seiko’s executives, who developed the watch in large part to take on the Swiss.

Movie: A View To A Kill
Bond: Roger Moore
Year: 1985

Purchase: $150+

Tag Heuer 980.031 Professional

For the most part, product placements in 007 movies are cut and dry. Luxury watch brands are always eager to let you know that their timepieces were strapped on the wrist of the world’s most famous British spook. Yet, there is a bit of debate over whether or not a Tag Heuer watch showed up on two-time Bond Timothy Dalton’s wrist in the 1987 film The Living Daylights. While it wasn’t noted in the film’s credits, Bond watch fanatics have pointed out that Dalton looks to be wearing a Tag Heuer 980.031 Professional dive watch. The timepiece is a stand-out one, featuring a glow-in-the-dark dial and PVD black body.

Movie: The Living Daylights
Bond: Timothy Dalton
Year: 1987

Purchase: $500+

Omega Seamaster 300m Chronometer

After years of dabbling in Japanese watches, Pierce Brosnan sports a Swiss watch in his inaugural role as Bond in Goldeneye. It isn’t until Brosnan’s second film as 007, Tomorrow Never Dies, that the character ditches Quartz for Omega’s in-house 1120 movement. That movement drives a date window and three hands with luminescent markings around the blue dial, and can keep ticking up to 1,000 feet under water thanks to the sturdy waterproof 41mm steel case.

Movie: Tomorrow Never Dies
Bond: Pierce Brosnan
Year: 1997

Purchase: $2,000+

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean

While the tone of Bond movies has changed drastically since Brosnan’s exit as 007, Omega has remained the official watch of everyone’s favorite British spook. In the 2012 film Skyfall, Craig sports a timepiece from Omega’s Planet Ocean Line – a watch with a 42mm case, unidirectional bezel, and transparent caseback that reveals an in-house Caliber Omega 8500 movement with a 60 hour reserve and self-winding mechanism.

Movie: Skyfall
Bond: Daniel Craig
Year: 2012

Purchase: $3,800+

Vintage Omega Chronograph Caliber 321

Craig’s Bond, unlike just about every other, isn’t quite as enamored with all the new beeping and booping gadgets that could be at his disposal. Taking a cue from the Bourne series, this Bond is one that is comfortable carrying little more than a pen. He’s also a bit nostalgic. Opting for vintage cars, old-school dress, and – as we find out in Spectremid-century watches. In the last scene of Spectre, eagle-eyed fans of the series caught a glimpse of a vintage Omega Chronograph Caliber 321 on his wrist. The watch measures in at a much smaller 35mm in diameter, features three sub-dials, and a trio of thin gold hands that are driven around the off-white dial via a Lemania caliber 321 movement – the same used in the original Speedmaster. This James Bond fellow has pretty good taste.

Movie: Spectre
Bond: Daniel Craig
Year: 2015

Purchase: $3,500+

Greatest Action Movies Of All Time

Interested in a little more than just James Bond and his fancy watches? Take a look at our thorough rundown of the best action movies of all time.

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