A Brief History of Omega Watches in James Bond Films, and a Look at the 2015 James Bond Aqua Terra Limited Edition.
The 2015 James Bond Aqua Terra Limited Edition on metal bracelet.
This year is a "Bond" year for Omega as the latest James Bond movie, Spectre, comes out this November. Starting in 2006, with the beginning of the Daniel Craig era, there have been four "Bond" years for Omega watches. In each of these years, Omega has made two limited edition James Bond watches in addition to what the character wears in the film. Typically, one of the watches celebrates the character of James Bond in general, while the other ties specifically to the film. Earlier this year, it was announced that the watch celebrating Bond would be the 2015 Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M James Bond Limited. This week it was announced that the movie specific watch would be the Limited Edition 300 Spectre. This article examines the James Bond Aqua Terra, but first briefly recaps the Omega "Bond" watches that have come before it.
The Pierce Brosnan Era
Watches Worn in the Films
2541.80.00 & 2531.80.00
All of the Pierce Brosnan movies featured similarly suited 300m Seamasters sporting a blue dial, blue bezel, 41mm case, and a nine-link bracelet. The watches first appeared in GoldenEye (1995), where he wears the Quartz 2541.80.00. In subsequent films including, Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999), and Die Another Day (2002), Brosnan wears the 1120 Calibre automatic chronometer 2531.80.00. This movement was based on the ETA 2892-A2 and would later become the foundation of the Co-Axial 2500 Calibres. Unlike these later Co-Axial editions, this watch featured a traditional Swiss Lever Escapement. Between 1999-2002, Omega's famed Co-Axial system only appeared in select Deville models.
The Pierce Brosnan era included but one limited edition piece. The 40th Anniversary 2537.80.00 came out alongside the release of Die Another Day in 2002. The anniversary marked 40 years since Sean Connery appeared in the first James Bond movie, Dr. No. It featured the same 1120 Calibre movement as the 2531.80.00, but featured a "007" design interwoven through the background of the dial. It also featured raised applied indices that were not available on the 2531.80.00. These indices would be used starting in 2006 for the next generation of Seamasters.
The Daniel Craig Era
Casino Royale (2006)
Watches in the film.
2220.80 & 2900.50.91
The Daniel Craig era begins in 2006 with him now portraying James Bond in Casino Royale (2006). In this film, Bond wears two Omega watches for the first time.
In the first half of the movie, Bond wears an Omega Planet Ocean for the first time on screen. It flaunts a 45mm case with black dial, black bezel, and a black rubber strap 2900.50.91. This is the only time James Bond ever wears an Omega larger than 42mm on film.
The watch he wears in the second half of the film was the replacement of Brosnan's 2531.80.00, the 2220.80.00. This watch was aesthetically nearly identical to the Brosnan automatic, but featured cosmetic and mechanical upgrades: the dial indices transitioned from printed lume to being raised and applied, and the movement went from the 1120 Calibre to a 2500C Calibre. The 2500C was the third generation of the 2500 Calibre movement. The main benefit of the 2500 over the 1120 calibre was a dramatic increase in service interval of three to four years, to six to eight years. The C calibre differed from the B calibre, which first appeared a few years earlier in Aqua Terra models such as the now retired 2503.50.00, primarily in a reduction of movement rate from ETA's typical 28,800 bph to 25,200 bph. The 2500 would transition again around 2011 where it would be upgraded to feature a more stable three-level co-axial escapement. All four "Bond watches" from 2006 featured the 2500C. As a side note, this was the last time Bond would wear a 300 M Diver.
The Two Limited Editions
2226.80.00 & 2907.50.91
The limited edition celebrating James Bond without referencing a specific film for 2006 was the 2226.80.00. This watch was a cosmetically modified version of the 2220.80.00 worn in the film. The dial featured a pattern that evoked the gun barrel sequence at the beginning of every James Bond film, The counterweight of the second hand featured the "007" logo which was also on the case back instead of the normal Seamaster hippocampus. The other limited edition from 2006 had the name of the film, "Casino Royale" on the caseback. This watch, the 2907.50.91, was similar to the Planet Ocean Bond wears in the film, with the additional features of a "007" logo on the counter weight of the second hand, and a special case back engraved with "Casino Royale" instead of the hippocampus.
Quantum of Solace (2008)
Watch in the Film
Like the Pierce Brosnan movies, Bond goes back to wearing a single Omega for the duration of Quantum of Solace (2008). This time, it's the 42mm Planet Ocean on a stainless steel bracelet 2201.50.00. Mechanically it was the same 2500C Calibre as in the 2006 models. This would be the last time Bond would wear a 2500 Calibre movement on screen.
The Two Limited Editions
220.127.116.11.01.001 & 18.104.22.168.01.001
As in 2006, 2008 brought two limited edition James Bond watches. The first one out was the 300 M Seamaster "James Bond Collector Piece" 22.214.171.124.01.001. This watch is generally thought of as the most understated of the James Bond Limited editions and is the only watch not featuring a James Bond related dial pattern. Instead, it featured what was at the time a unique black lacquer dial that was a first for an Omega Seamaster. This style of lacquer was such a hit that it would replace the wave pattern dial on regular production models when the 300m Seamaster was redesigned in 2011. Still, it did have James Bond markings with the "007" accents on the caseback and the counterweight of the second hand. The Quantum of Solace 126.96.36.199.01.001 was in the larger case size of 45mm. Its signature characteristic was a dial pattern that looked like the gun grip of a Walther PPK.
Watches in the film
188.8.131.52.001 & 184.108.40.206.03.001
In Skyfall, James Bond went back to wearing two watches in the film. In the first half of the movie he wears the 42mm Planet Ocean 220.127.116.11.001 which replaced the 2201.50.00. In the second half, he wears his first Omega that doesn't feature a rotating bezel, a 38.5mm Aqua Terra 18.104.22.168.03.001. Both of these watches feature several mechanical enhancements from the 2008 models. They both featured the upgraded three level co-axial escapement, which by 2012 Omega had long developed the capacity to industrialize in both 8500 and 2500 calibres. Both watches featured the "B" calibre of the 8500 movement which included a silicon hairspring which made the watch more shock resistant. For both a longer and more maintainable power reserve, the traditional mainspring was swapped out for a dual mainspring geared together so that it would rise and fall together and maintain its accuracy no matter the level of charge. The 8500 calibres also gave Bond "Time Zone" function for the first time so that he could change the hour hand without stopping the second hand, as well as his first display back.
The Two Limited Editions
22.214.171.124.01.005 & 126.96.36.199.01.004
Like the two previous Daniel Craig Bond movies, Omega came out with a 300 M Seamaster and a Planet Ocean. The 300 M Seamaster celebrating James Bond came in both 36mm and 41mm and was called the 50th Anniversary Bond Watch. It featured a bullet on the case back and a "007" pattern on the dial. Mechanically, it was an improvement over the previous 300 M Seamasters as it featured the 2500D Calibre. The "Skyfall" watch was a variant of the 8500 Planet Ocean worn in the film. It featured a "007" marker at seven o'clock and a dial pattern that resembled the grill of a 60s Aston Martin.
Watches worn in the film.
The designation between the watches worn in the film and the limited editions will be blurrier this year. We know for sure from Omega's announcement this week that Bond will wear a new version of the 300 Master Co-Axial that will also be sold as a 7,007-piece limited edition. This watch is variant of the Omega 300 which takes design cues from Omega's first professional grade dive watch in 1957. This will be Bond's first watch worn on screen that can resist magnetism of 15,000 Gauss.
The "Spectre Watch" will distinguish itself from the Omega 300 Seamaster models by featuring a 5-stripe black and gray Omega NATO strap, and a bezel that features a bi-directional 12-hour scale. Furthermore, it will feature an Omega logo in place of the Arabic 12-hour indice, and a "lollipop" second hand with a circular tip instead of the diamond-pointed end of the original. The 12-hour scale is used for a second time zone and may relate to a plot point of the movie. I have not heard confirmation as to whether or not there will be a second Omega worn in the film.
James Bond Aqua Terra Limited Edition
The 2015 watch celebrating James Bond, but not tied to the latest film is the first limited edition Aqua Terra in the series. Like the watch worn in Skyfall, it features a blue dial, but this time the watch is 41.5mm instead of 38.5mm. The major design hallmark of the Bond Aqua Terra is that the Bond family coat of arms forms the background of the dial in a similar way that the "007" logo formed the dial in the 50th Anniversary piece. This coat of arms is also lumed near the tip of the second hand. The bullet from the 50th Anniversary 300 M also makes a return, but this time it's the center of a skeletonized rotor resembling a gun barrel. The skeletonized rotor gives way to show the 8507 movement, which is a modified version of the upgraded 8500C calibre. Yellow is also a dominant color in the watch as it's the first time yellow has been prominently used in an Omega since the original 15,000 Gauss Aqua Terra in 2013. This watch has the same technology as the 15,000 Gauss, but has 15,007 Gauss to evoke "007", and to mirror the number of available pieces in the limited edition (15,007). It comes standard with a bracelet and a blue fabric strap with yellow contrast stitching. Below are photos of the Limited Edition Bond Aqua Terra.
The Bond family Coat of Arms that forms the background of the Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M James Bond Limited Edition.
The lumed Bond family crest on the yellow second hand.
The leather reinforced holes of the fabric strap of the Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M James Bond Limited Edition.
The skeletonized gun barrel rotor of the Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M James Bond Limited Edition.
Another view of the skeletonized rotor of the Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M James Bond Limited Edition.
The lume report of the Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M James Bond Limited Edition. Even the Bond family crest is lumed.
Playing with the lighting and showcasing the unique dial of the Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M James Bond Limited Edition.
Close up with the unique dial of the Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M James Bond Limited Edition.
The yellow minute indices of the Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M James Bond Limited Edition.
Another view of the skeletonized gun barrel rotor of the Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M James Bond Limited Edition.
Close up with the skeletonized rotor of the Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M James Bond Limited Edition.The Topper Blog consists mainly of original writing by Rob & Russ Caplan with occasional special contributions and interviews. All photography in the blog is taken at Topper Fine Jewelers , or on location unless otherwise indicated in the photo captions.