WatchWorks Haarlem / James Bond And His Rolex

James Bond And His Rolex

While the world’s most famous secret agent is now closely connected with Omega, it was Rolex that was historically the watch of choice for 007. Ian Flemming, the man whose mind produced James Bond, wore himself a Rolex Explorer I Ref 1016. While he mentions the brand a few times in various novels, he has never been too specific about the model, but most consider it to be the same as his creator. 

The Rolex Explorer I, reference 1016 was the watch of choice of Bond-creator, Ian Fleming.

While the James Bond (movie) franchise is now big business, it wasn’t from the beginning. As it didn’t even have a (paying) watch partner until Seiko came into the picture in the 1970’s, most of them were borrowed or simply the private watches of the actors. It is therefore believed that the Rolex Submariner Ref.6538 on the wrist of Sean Connery in the first three James Bond movies was actually his own. This watch became in particular famous when shown on a too narrow Nato-strap in the beginning of ‘Goldfinger.’ However, one of the most memorable Bond-girls of all time, the feisty pilot Pussy Galore played by Honor Blackman, wore a Rolex GMT-Master Ref.6542 which till this day is still nicknamed “Pussy Galore” by vintage Rolex collectors.

The Rolex Submariner, reference 5513 enjoyed quite a career as a Bond-watch

For Thunderball, Connery had to rely on a Breitling Top Time for the most part, because it was disguised as a Geiger counter. While Connery said goodbye to Bond, Rolex was there to stay. George Lazenby took over for the film ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,’ wearing both a Submariner reference 5513, as the predecessor of the Daytona, the Rolex Chronograph reference 6238. While Lazenby didn’t stay, the Submariner 5513 did, yet now on the wrist of Roger Moore in his first Bond-movie ‘Live And Let Die.’ We now also enter the era where Bond’s watches were loaded with gadgets, like the diving bezel that doubled as a circular saw. Before Seiko entered the stage in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me,’ Moore got to enjoy his Submariner 5513 one more time in ‘The Man With The Golden Gun.’ Christopher Lee, a step-cousin of Ian Flemming, played the villain in this movie. Fitting for his role, he wore the Rolex King Midas, designed by Gérald Genta.

The Submariner Reference 16610 was the last Rolex on the wrist of 007

While Seiko’s ruled the rest of Moore’s career as 007, there was a small Rolex cameo in his last Bond-movie, ‘A View To A Kill.’ In a blink of an eye we get to see a stainless steel Datejust around his wrist, at the time the private watch of Roger Moore. When Timothy Dalton took over, he also relied on his personal watch on set. This was a Rolex Submariner reference 16610. After ‘License to Kill,’ Omega took over and that successful partnership is likely to last quite a few more movies.