James Bond Has ‘No Time To Die’ With His Latest Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer 007 Edition
by Martin Green
“The name is Bond, James Bond.”
Those six words were not only my introduction to one of the greatest fictional heroes but also to the world of watches. While I had already developed a lingering interest in watches in my teens, it was the Omega Seamaster Professional on the wrist of Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in Goldeneye that made me want to have the same watch.
While it wasn’t easy to get an Omega Seamaster Professional as I was still in school, a paper route and working on weekends and during vacations allowed me to prevail – with this year marking the twenty-second that it is proudly on my wrist, though these days on rotation with a few other timepieces.
While the literary Bond always remained faithful to Rolex, the cinematic Bond has varied between brands. He occasionally flirted with Seiko and Breitling alongside numerous “Bond girls” – and Moneypenny, of course – but Rolex and Omega have stayed attached to him the longest.
I don’t favor one over the other as both brands fit very naturally into his world. They are rugged though luxurious and sophisticated, yet also just another instrument in Her Majesty’s toolbox to get the job done by any means necessary.
For the 25th installment of the James Bond franchise No Time to Die, 007 became a victim of an enemy too big to fight: the COVID-19 pandemic pushed back the movie’s release several times, but now we remain in high hopes that it will finally have its premiere at the Royal Albert Hall in London on September 28, 2021.
This film marks Daniel Craig’s final appearance as the world’s most famous secret agent; he will retire from the role after this. This makes No Time to Die an important film as it brings together and concludes all the continuing storylines intertwined from the Craig era, a first in the franchise.
Seamaster, Omega Seamaster
A new adventure demands a new watch, and in the case of 007 that is still an Omega Seamaster. While in the past, Bond was simply more or less equipped with something from the regular collection, he is now treated to a watch designed especially for him.
Both Craig and people closely connected to the franchise worked with Omega on the watch’s design, tapping into Bond’s military side; he holds the rank of commander in the British Royal Navy.
The franchise did an outstanding job appropriating that segment of his (fictional) life as well as what Craig brings to the role, helping him to portray a version of Bond that is even rawer than Timothy Dalton’s representation.
The 007 edition of the Seamaster Diver 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer keeps the best part of this famed diver’s watch yet serves it up in a slightly differentiated manner. A matte dial in very dark brown replaces the fancy ceramic wave pattern of the regular edition, and a “tropical” patina vibe was given to both the dial and bezel, adding a lot of beige and even Super-LumiNova in this color.
This is a perfect fit for Craig as no other Bond ever got as dirty and dusty in the line of duty as he has. While some might dislike the color combination as it could be seen as faux patina (or fauxtina), it is just a color combination – and a pleasing one in my opinion.
Also interesting to note is that the bezel is once again aluminum and not ceramic as has become Omega’s standard. While this is a detail, I feel that aluminum is just a tad more pleasing. Though I am biased based on the bezel insert in my own Seamaster.
While I like the heft of stainless steel, I feel that the right choice was made to house this one in Grade 2 titanium. It suits a more militarily inclined watch, and Bond can do without carrying extra weight while once again saving the world.
Omega offers this watch on a choice of NATO strap or titanium mesh bracelet. There is historical precedent for the former as Bond wore his Rolex Submariner on a NATO strap in Goldfinger. While very handy for military operations, Bond is usually too well-dressed to have this match his clothing very well.
I have the same issue with the titanium mesh bracelet. While very well made, it looks like an afterthought and not at all as slick and good-looking as the “Bond bracelet” that became part of the Seamaster signature.
Fortunately, Omega has forgone any obvious 007 branding on this watch as it sometimes has in the past. Not that this Seamaster is very stealthy as it features a so-called “broad arrow” on the dial just above the 6 o’clock position. This arrowhead symbol is used by the British government to mark property. One could argue that this would make it quite possibly a bit harder for Bond to remain undercover, but that never seemed to have been part of his modus operandi anyway.
While I normally don’t mind a robust ETA movement like the one I have in my own Omega Seamaster, the caliber in this latest Bond watch is more of a treat. Caliber 8806 is certified as a Master Chronometer and features technical delights such as a co-axial escapement and silicon balance spring.
It is also able to withstand antimagnetic forces up to 15,000 Gauss. For Bond a very useful feature as he has a tendency to be around strong magnets like the one he uses to toss Jaws into a shark tank in The Spy Who Loved Me.
As it should be, this finely finished movement is hidden behind a closed titanium case back. I have never been much of a fan of sapphire crystal windows in case backs as I like the understatement of going without. On a tool watch like this it makes even less sense.
What about the Bond women?
I guess the term “Bond girls” is not of this time anymore, although I personally have a different opinion. The Bond girls were all very feminine, but most of all they were strong characters. Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman) of Goldfinger was an aviator, squadron leader, and a foe who turned into a friend. She helped Bond save the U.S. gold reserve wearing a Rolex GMT-Master Reference 6542 on her wrist.
While May Day (Grace Jones) in A View to a Kill didn’t prominently wear a watch, she did prefer to be “on top of things,” even taking the lead away from James Bond in one of the bedroom scenes.
Bond fought side by side with Wai Lin (played by Richard Mille fan Michelle Yeoh) in Tomorrow Never Dies and KGB agent Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach), who has the rank of major in the Russian army, in The Spy Who Loved Me. I could go on and on with this list.
Despite a few sexist remarks that 007 would no longer be caught dead uttering, I feel that the James Bond franchise was full of strong, trailblazing women.
This is also why it surprises me that Omega didn’t put more focus on the ladies’ watches the brand also supplied part of the cast with. A missed opportunity, in my opinion, was not signing Judi Dench as an ambassador in her role as M. Even the Omega worn by Halle Berry as Jinx in Die Another Day got as much time in the press as it did onscreen: you would think this would be marketing gold.
In No Time to Die, I’m afraid, it doesn’t get any better as the limited screen time of the ladies’ watches on Ana de Armas and Léa Seydoux is reserved for a 38 mm Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m and a very modest quartz-powered 27 mm Omega De Ville.
In particular, looking at the influential female roles that the Bond franchise has today, I am surprised that Omega hasn’t kicked it up a notch to give the leading ladies watches to match. It would not only be an opportunity to highlight some of their amazing ladies’ models such as the Ladymatic and Trésor, which get less attention than they deserve, but also to take inspiration from Pussy Galore and have one of the Bond women rock a Seamaster from the heritage collection.
For No Time to Die, it’s too late. But as James Bond will return, so hopefully will Omega to make good on this.
For more information, please visit omegawatches.com/watches/seamaster/diver-300-m/007-edition.
Quick Facts Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Co-axial Master Chronometer 007-Edition
Case: 42 x 13.15 mm, Grade 2 titanium, helium escape valve
Movement: automatic Caliber 8806 with co-axial escapement and free-sprung balance with silicon balance spring; official METAS certification as a chronometer, 3.5 Hz/25,200 vph frequency, 55 hours of power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Price: €8,100 (NATO strap); €9,100 (titanium mesh bracelet)