Since his debut in Ian Flemming’s novel Casino Royale in 1953, secret agent James Bond, code named 007, has become part of the general fabric of society. Men aspire to channel him and women hope to find their own man of mystery. Everything from his bon mots and clothing to his haircut and cars has been carefully observed and studied. And, of course, there are his watches. Not only are they instrumental to Bond’s arsenal of tools on his adventures, they are also a statement that complement his style and the source of constant discussion, so much so that there’s even a whole blog dedicated to the subject called James Bond Watches.
Bond’s watch of choice for the last 17 years has been Omega since Pierce Brosnan wore the Omega Seamaster Professional Quartz in the movie Goldeneye in 1995. What perhaps is lesser known is there is a woman behind the man—and the watch. She is Lindy Hemming, an Academy Award winning costume designer who was responsible for dressing Bond tip to toe. “Many small details are important to build the visual of a character, such as accessories, including cufflinks, shoes, ties and watches,” Hemming says.
Prior to wearing an Omega, Bond had been a Rolex and Seiko man, but once Hemming came into the picture she decided an Omega was the best fit and the producers agreed. As Hemming pointed out Bond is Commander Bond is a military man in the navy and in addition in the special and secret service. “The watch would have to be rugged and strong and have the ability to do quite a few things like go underwater,” Hemming says. “It would also be quite expensive, one of the luxury items he could wear.” Because Bond is involved in undercover work, the watch couldn’t be too visually “out there” either because he can’t be too flashy in order not to attract too much attention. Hemming adds, “His watch would be beautifully designed, but practical and useable.”
Hemming knew about Omega watches because friends of the family were naval personnel who fought in the Second World War and they all swore by Omega. “In my head, I got an image that Omega would be correct for Commander Bond,” says. She then researched the watch and came to the conclusion that it would perfectly suit Bond, a man of action. The Seamaster Professional Quartz had a blue bezel and “to me blues were the colors of James Bond,” Hemming says.
When asked if she would now put a vintage watch on Bond, Hemming replied that it wouldn’t make any sense. We would’ve seen him wear a vintage watch before. “If he was to be wearing one, he should be wearing it all the time,” she explained. “It would’ve somehow come from his family or somebody in the story would’ve given it to him.”
Though Hemming isn’t the one dressing Bond now, that job falls to Jany Temime, she said she would definitely come back if asked.