Twenty-two years ago, during the filming of GoldenEye (1995), costume designer Lindy Hemming made the decision that secret service agent, Commander of the British Royal Navy and arbiter of taste, James Bond would no longer wear the same Rolex he chose back in the mid-century. “I was convinced that Commander Bond — a naval man and a discreet gentleman of the world — would wear a watch to match,” she said of her decision.

Drawing on her personal experience of naval officers, Hemming decided that the “New Age” Bond would wear an Omega. “My father was an RAF man and I remember his naval colleagues visiting us when I was a child. I vividly recall the Omega he wore,” she says. “On this basis, I fought for the Seamaster to be the timepiece for Pierce Brosnan.”

That persuasion by Hemming forged a celluloid partnership which launched a new era in sophisticated product placement (who can forget the scene on the train in Casino Royale when Vesper Lynd looked at Bond’s watch and asked “Rolex?”, to which he replied, “Omega”) and stretch across a quarter of a century and two incarnations of Bond through Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999), Die Another Day (2002), Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015).

Interestingly, Hemming was correct in linking Omega with the British Royal Navy, if presumptuous in second-guessing Bond’s creator Ian Fleming. It is entirely plausible that Commander James Bond would have been issued with an Omega watch, despite Fleming owning, wearing and equipping his creation with a Rolex. It was indeed the Seamaster 300, originally released in 1957, that was issued to military divers around the world. In 1967, a famous batch of 2nd generation Seamaster 300s was also delivered to the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) for issue to certain units.

Pierce Brosnan posing for a poster for the 1995 Bond instalment, GoldenEye
1957 Omega Seamaster 300M (Image: www.antiquorum.com)
1967 Omega Seamaster 300M (Image: www.the-saleroom.com)

Additionally, during the early days of the Second World War, the MoD introduced the specifications for a wristwatch that would help British forces in the sky and on earth and ocean. Subsequently, Omega delivered more than 110,000 pilots’, navigators’ and soldiers’ watches to British military personnel. Incredible as it may sound, this means that more than 50% of all of Switzerland’s watch deliveries to the United Kingdom during the war came from one company, Omega, with all other brands sharing the remaining 50%.

In the year of the Seamaster 300’s 60th birthday, and the 50thbirthday of the second batch of Seamaster 300s for the MoD, a trio of Bond films also enjoy decade-long milestones: 2017 is also the 50th anniversary of You Only Live Twice, the 40th anniversary of The Spy Who Loved Me and the 20th anniversary of Tomorrow Never Dies. At some point in each of these, Bond dons his official military uniform, reminding viewers that his roots are naval, and that the suave sophisticate in a dinner jacket is his civilian guise.

During the current hiatus between films, Omega is following the rapturous reception for the Seamaster 300 issued to coincide with 2015’s Spectre with new, limited edition inspired by Bond’s rank and regalia. Dubbed the “Seamaster Diver 300M Commander’s Watch”, this limited edition incorporates the ensign colours of the British Royal Navy, with details in white, blue and red adoring the timepiece.

Sean Connery as Bond in the 1967 film, You Only Live Twice.
Pierce Brosnan in the 1997 Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies.
Roger Moore as Bondm in the 1977 film, The Spy Who Loved Me.

Already a handsome diving watch with styling that would be impossible to improve upon, the new variant employs a 41mm stainless steel case, housing an Omega Calibre 2507 automatic movement. Its rotating bezel is made of blue ceramic bearing a Liquidmetal® diving scale and red rubber to cover the first 15 minutes of graduations. The contrasting dial is polished white ceramic and includes 12 blue indexes, the word “Seamaster” written in red and blue skeleton hands.

Adding to its “Bondness” are unique features, including the 007 gun logo serving as the counterweight on the central seconds hand. The number “7” in the date window which is coloured red, while all other numbers are blue. Attesting to its maritime origins, the caseback is wave-edged, while the stripes of the Commander’s naval insignia appear on the rotor, along with the 007 “bullet” design. In keeping with another Bond tradition, the “Commander’s Watch” comes with a fabric strap in blue, red and grey, following a 5-stripe pattern and fitted with a polished buckle.

Omega will issue the stainless steel model in a series of just 7,007 pieces (£3720), with an 18k yellow gold version limited to seven examples. The Commander’s Watch comes with a 3-year warranty and is supplied in a special box inspired by a military medal case. Inside are a stainless-steel bracelet, a changing tool and a “naval pin” that mirrors the design of the NATO strap.

Later this year, at a special auction, three Seamaster Diver 300M “Commander’s Watch” Limited Editions will be sold, with all proceeds going to selected charities. Collectors take note: one stainless steel example and one 18k yellow gold model, bearing Limited Edition number #007, will be auctioned along with a third model: a one-of-a-kind version created from 18K white gold. One can only imagine, if Auric Goldfinger was still with us…

Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Commander’s Watch
Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Commander’s Watch

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