How Rolex And Cartier Stole Seiko’s Groove In James Bond’s ‘A View To A Kill’
by Martin Green
“The name is Bond, James Bond.”
In 1985 Roger Moore got to say the most famous line in movie history for the last time as he starred as Her Majesty’s favorite secret agent in A View To A Kill. It was the fourteenth movie produced by Eon Productions; Roger Moore had starred in seven of those.
While the title was taken from a short story by Ian Fleming, the movie didn’t follow that story. Instead, Eon Productions created a story in which a wealthy entrepreneur with a passion for horses wants to control the worldwide market for microchips by destroying Silicon Valley.
The script is indeed as flimsy as it sounds, even for a Bond movie, and could not be rescued by Moore’s famed wit. At the age of 58, he was well past the expiry date for a “double o” agent on active duty – and it showed.
As long as you don’t take the storyline too seriously there is plenty to enjoy, not the least of which is the rest of the cast, which includes “Avenger” Patrick Macnee, Tanya Roberts, Grace Jones, and a very young-looking Christopher Walken playing Max Zorin, the film’s villain.
James Bond’s quartz
From a horological perspective, James Bond was now wearing a watch by the main protagonist of the watch industry at the time: Seiko.
While in the previous movies Bond’s Seikos were equipped with homing devices, explosives, ticker tapes, and even full-color displays to receive camera transmissions, the one in A View To A Kill had none of that. In fact, you need to be very fast with your remote control to pause the movie at just the right time to even see the watch Moore is wearing.
This point arrives when he comfortably settles down in a submarine following a breathtaking ski chase; from the sleeve of his jacket Seiko 7A28-7020 quartz chronograph peeks out.
It is very puzzling why this watch did not play a more prominent role in the movie as it was Seiko’s very first analog quartz chronograph; until then digital watches ruled supreme.
The watch is also briefly in the picture later on in the movie when Bond battles Zorin on the Golden Gate Bridge.
You will be surprised to know that this was one of three Seiko watches that Moore wore in the movie. Thanks to the detective work of James Bond watch expert Dell Deaton of www.jamesbondwatches.com, we know that Reference H558-500 SPW001, a digital-analog quartz diver, was tucked under Moore’s tuxedo as he chased Grace Jones through Paris.
The third Seiko, a steel and gold-plated Reference 6923-8080 SPD09, is not visible at all. It was confirmed by Seiko UK as one of the watches worn in the movie, and only just shows its crown and case flank when James Bond enters his nemesis’s chateau.
Far more prominent is another watch that makes a surprising cameo.
When Bond finds his co-conspirator Sir Godfrey Tibbett, played by Patrick Macnee, in the backseat of a Rolls-Royce, he checks for a pulse. This action gives us a very clear shot of what is beyond the shadow of a doubt a Rolex Datejust.
This timepiece was not officially cast in the movie and shouldn’t even have been in the shot as it was Moore’s personal watch. The watch that he should have been wearing in this scene was the steel and gold-plated Reference 6923-8080 SPD09.
Although mixups like this can always happen during shooting, it might also say something about the role watches played in the movie altogether as the timepieces of the other characters are also hardly visible.
A View To A Kill was not only Roger Moore’s last Bond movie, it also marked the last participation of Seiko’s product placement in the Bond franchise.
Two years later, Timothy Dalton played 007 with a Rolex Submariner on his wrist. And Pierce Brosnan, who followed Dalton, marked the start of the Omega era in the world of James Bond (see The On- And Off-Screen Watches Of Brosnan, Pierce Brosnan).
The movie also features another prominent player in the watch world, but not with one of its watches: Cartier provided the accessories used by Christopher Walken in his role as Max Zorin.
Most prominent were the Santos Aviator sunglasses that he wears throughout the movie, an accessory that significantly influenced the look of his character.
It is also far more likely that because of this, Cartier sold a few more pairs of glasses, while the Seikos – at least the ones taking part in this Bond movie – went down the path of oblivion.
Also published on Medium.