In our continuing series about James Bond Watches (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), Dell Deaton, one of the world’s experts on the subject, continues to let it fly on some pretty provocative questions. See how he goes about blaming me! for the idea of Rolex as the definitive Bond watch.
Why hasn’t Omega succeeded as well as Rolex did as the designated “Bond” watch?
I’m not sure that I agree with the premise of your question.
Again, if anything, present day, I think Christie’s is by far the leading reason why people still connect James Bond and Rolex in any big way. You know, as in “James Bond’s buzz-saw Rolex watch,” “the Rolex watch George Lazenby wore as James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” So it’s your fault.
That said, I think even there we can find examples of a narrow gap between Omega and Rolex, assuming any sort of gap at all.
Apples-to-apples, Christie’s again auctioned the buzz-saw prop watch from Live and Let Die last year. Your Sale 1383, Lot 182, realized a final price of just under a quarter-million dollars. In 2007, the Omega 2900.50.91 Seamaster Planet Ocean worn by Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale, released the year prior, was sold through another auction house  for approximately the same amount.
I’d call that a comparable success.
From a more pedestrian viewpoint, we have a real good cross-section of popular interest based on visitors to the yearlong “Bond Watches, James Bond Watches” exhibit that I guest-curated for the National Watch & Clock Museum. That ran June 2010 through April 2011, featured all confirmed James Bond watch brands — including 3 different Rolex models and 3 different Omega model watches.
Consistently, the Omega “Casino Royale” limited (number 1113 of 5007 produced) received among the greatest attention in that gallery and as reflected in comments after.
That’s not to say the concern expressed by your question is without basis.
I think it did hurt brand imaging — and undermined product placement ROI — when James Bond actor Daniel Craig went out in 2008 to promote Quantum of Solace wearing a number of highly visible Rolex watches. During one interview, for EMPIRE magazine, he even went off on a tangent about the model number of a Submariner then on his wrist. 
For the record: An Omega reference 2201.50 Seamaster Planet Ocean was the only James Bond watch to appear in Quantum of Solace.
Historically, Rolex made its onscreen debut in the first James Bond movie, Dr. No, in 1962. Eon Productions came to this with huge momentum of Ian Fleming’s original books behind the character, and Rolex was introduced tabula rasa as watchmaker.
Conversely, Omega stepped up to help underwrite Agent 007 after the longest interval ever between installments for the movie franchise. The Cold War had ended, inviting audiences to question ongoing need for a Double-O agent or his missions. Yet another actor was being introduced via vodka martini, “shaken, not stirred,” and legendary producer Albert R. Broccoli was only nominally involved with this, the last James Bond film he’d live to see.
Omega had faith in James Bond and showed it. Fans know that. I think that’s a “good will” asset that portends great success for Omega as James Bond’s watchmaker and will continue to do so for many years to come.
Which, if any, of the other James Bond watches have had a great impact?
When you say “other,” you mean to exclude Omega and Rolex models, right? But covering screen-worn and licensed?
Overall, the James Bond watches with greatest impact would have to be those from Seiko that have appeared in the Eon Productions movies: The Spy Who Loved Me, released in 1977, through A View to a Kill, 1985.
Current James Bond movie co-producer Barbara Broccoli has been quoted as saying that her late father, Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli “created product placement in films.” [i] Seiko UK was one of the product placement partners contracted for Cubby Broccoli’s first solo project at the helm of Eon Productions, which was, in fact, The Spy Who Loved Me.
In terms of the broader international watch industry, technological change was already moving so fast that the Seiko LC Quartz that Mr. Broccoli had been wearing when that film was in pre-production had already become outdated when it came time to outfit Roger Moore with the latest model when cameras started rolling: Seiko model DK001, case number 0674-5009.
With subsequent 007 movies released every 2 years, we have a phenomenal record through which one can literally study the Quartz Revolution as it unfolded — on James Bond’s wrist. Case sizes became progressively thinner, already by 27% with Moonraker in 1979. Functions added. Power supplies got more efficient. Then dials with hour-, minute-, and second-hands returned to the mainstream, once viable to be run by battery-operated power supplies. The last wristwatch Roger Moore wore as James Bond, in A View to a Kill, was a Seiko model SPR007, case number 7A28-7020 — the world’s first analogue quartz chronograph.
In terms of licensed wristwatches, I like branded items overall. I think people new to broad-based watch collecting would be amazed at how much value dials and decorations hold when it comes to wristwatches. Licensed wristwatches are a nice way to express affinity for “007.” And the money from these partners helps underwrite making the blockbuster James Bond movies that have brought us so much joy over the years and which we hope will continue to do so for many years to come.
Specifically, if I had to narrow this list to a watch or two with “great impact,” I’d say “Gilbert ‘James Bond Spy Watch’” and “Moeris ‘James Bond 007’ wristwatch with Sean Connery’s likeness etched into the caseback.”
Each has variations. And pricing over the last few years in particular has been all over the board.
But these stand out as evidencing the nascence of marketing James Bond to consumers, and recognizing that wristwatches had an important place in that. The “toy” aspect here is interesting on top of that: Since we’re obviously not looking at original end-users having been adults, it’s another example of what I’ve seen elsewhere in an inter-generational, Bond as a father-son interest.
Personally, I’ve enjoyed living both sides of that relationship.