Why not? Omega Seamaster 300M James Bond Edition
An example of an actor watch: a watch that plays a role in a film, and becomes part of the story.
The watch industry loves cinema, and has mastered the art of using the silver screen to communicate and inspire. In a world where image is everything, having a screen presence – whether on the big or the small screen – is a measure of success for watch brands big and small.
But if watchmakers have a love affair with the 7th art, it’s partly because we watch lovers like nothing better than to see our film heroes wearing our own favourite accessories. Because, let’s be honest, even though I obviously know that Dirk Pitt doesn’t exist, I do get a buzz at the thought that my childhood hero wore a Doxa identical to the one on my wrist right now.
You see, in the cinema, it’s all about imagination and “transposition”. Clearly, I’m not Brad Pitt fighting hordes of zombies in World War Z. And yet, I immediately went to my phone to check the name of the watch he wore in this (rather good) film. As it happens, it was a Terra Cielo Mare Orienteering – an unknown brand that was thrown into the spotlight after the film was released.
And the list of such cinematic moments of horological delight is long. Very long.
First, there are the watches worn by film characters, which help to place them in a particular historical era. In Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Brad Pitt (again) – clearly a fan of original timepieces – wore a gold-plated Bullhead chronograph by Citizen, with its famous 8110 movement. In Apocalypse Now we witnessed a Homeric battle between Seiko (Captain Willard) and Rolex (Colonel Kurtz). And finally, there is the gold Speedmaster in Money Monster (2016), a perfect choice for the character played by George Clooney.
All of these watches are real, and they’re inserted into plausible stories.
Then there are the “actor” watches – watches that play a role in the film, and become part of the story. Robert Redford survives being shipwrecked thanks to, among other things, his trusty Seiko SKX009 in All is Lost. Mads Mikkelson can barely keep his eyes off his Seiko chronograph in the magnificent Artic. And of course the astronauts – and Tom Hanks – in Apollo 13, owe their survival to their Speedmasters. And finally, there are the watches in action and science fiction films that we see on the wrists of their somewhat improbable – but unfailingly handsome – heroes.
There’s the famous Arnie Seiko (H558) on the wrist of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator, and Roger Moore’s G757 in Octopussy. A number of Panerais have been modelled by Sly (Sylvester Stallone) in a parade of blockbusters from Daylight to Expendables. There are the Hamilton Venturas in Men in Black, or Ling Ling’s Carl F. Bucherer ScubaTec in The Meg, in which Jason Statham wears an IWC. We see the same ScubaTec (this time in black, with a red Carl F. Bucherer logo) worn by the evergreen Sylvester Stallone in the final instalment of Rambo. And we mustn’t forget John Wick (I, II and III), who is also a big fan of Carl F. Bucherer!
These watches are true actors, that have evolved from being mere extras to taking leading roles.
We might criticise their performance, and roll our eyes at their improbable stunts, but deep down we know we’ll keep coming back for more because, at the end of the day, a film without watches is a bit... well, boring.
It’s easy enough to include a watch in a scene, but giving it real screen presence is another matter entirely.
Nevertheless, the ultimate partnership remains the long-term association between a hero and a watch. I’m not naive. I know that these screen roles are the result of hard-nosed commercial negotiations, enormous sums of money and suitcases full of contracts. But I don’t care.
Because, you know what? I also know that the Expendables, the Men In Black and even James Bond don’t exist! And that’s why I like to see them wearing watches. Because it gives me something to daydream about. Me, and many other watch collectors.
And that’s the magic of cinema: to transport us into the future with a Bulgari X33 (Minority Report), or to Mars with a Hamilton; to the bottom of the Abyss (James Cameron) with a Seiko; or to defeat supervillains with a Rolex, a Seiko, a Breitling or an Omega (James Bond).
In this list there’s one watch that’s a bit different, the Bulgari X33. It bears this name because it is a Bulgari branded watch, but it bears a curious resemblance to an Omega X33. It had quite an important role in Minority Report, but it has never been commercially available.
There are very few examples of watches developed specifically for a film.
In many cases, the watches are standard products that are inserted into the script. Apart from the X33 I can think of the Seiko Bishop and Ripley, created for the film Alien and marketed after the film was released, and the Hamilton Murph from the film Interstellar, which has been available to buy since 2019. And finally, we have the Omega Spectre, a slightly modified version of the Omega Seamaster 300 Co-Axial.
Today we’re looking at this new Omega Seamaster 300 James Bond, which fits into several categories, because it’s both a “hero” watch – developed for the forthcoming James Bond film – and a standard product.
I’ll spare you an introduction to Omega. And James Bond. But it’s interesting to look at the longstanding association between Ian Fleming’s hero and the Biel watch brand. Yes, I know, according to Ian Fleming, James Bond wore a Rolex – an Explorer, in fact. But if we look at James Bond’s history, and his status as an officer in the Royal Navy, he could equally well have worn a Rolex 5514, a CWC, an Omega, a Smith or even a Seiko. He could even have worn more than one of these watches, given that he was a connoisseur of high-end engineering and a lover of the finer things in life.
But for the last 25 years – since Golden Eye – the British secret agent has worn Omega. His first Omega was the first Omega Seamaster 300, launched in 1993, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2019 with a splendid version in tantalum, titanium and Sedna gold. James stayed faithful to the Seamaster 300 in Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is not Enough, Die Another Day and Casino Royale (which was Daniel Craig’s debut).
Quantum of Solace (2008)
And indeed, the arrival of Daniel Craig ushered in a number of changes to Bond’s kit. While he continued to use the 300, he quickly switched to the Planet Ocean 600m, which he kept for Quantum of Solace.
In Skyfall, the Planet Ocean remained Bond’s main watch, but he also wore an Aqua Terra with a blue dial. This Aqua Terra also made an appearance in Spectre, but it was the new Seamaster 300 Co-Axial that would play a starring role in the second most recent episode, enabling Bond to escape from a rather sticky situation at the hands of his arch enemy – and sort-of brother – the abominable Blofeld.
In Time to Die, James Bond returns to his first love, once again sporting a Seamaster 300. But it’s rather different from its predecessors, and more interesting, cinematographically speaking.
Time to Watch, the Omega Seamaster 300 James Bond
Omega Seamaster 300 James Bond © Omega
The new Omega Seamaster 300 James Bond is an extremely interesting timepiece – a watch designed to be a character in its own right. At first glance it looks strange, something of a patchwork of different components and designs. This watch shouldn’t really work, and yet it does.
What am I getting at? The Seamaster 300 James Bond isn’t a real Seamaster 300. Or at least, that’s not how I see it. The Seamaster 300 was born 25 years ago, with a resolutely modern design. The James Bond, however, breaks the original codes of the Seamaster, giving it a different flavour – the flavour of an “actor” watch, a genuine fictional character.
First of all, the watch is made entirely of brushed titanium, which gives it a lighter but, more importantly, a vintage appearance. That could be jarring in a contemporary timepiece but, once again, it works rather well.
Then, the bezel is made not of ceramic, but aluminium, a choice I thoroughly approve of. To my mind, ceramic is too cold, whereas aluminium will develop a patina over time, as will the titanium. The dial isn’t exactly black – it’s more of a dark brown, which adds to the vintage feel. You get the impression that Omega wanted to make this new Seamaster 300 part of James Bond’s past, as if it was a watch he’d always worn.
That probably explains why Omega has gone for khaki-coloured Luminova, which perfectly complements the dial and the aluminium bezel. But that’s not all: the typical steel bracelet of the Seamaster 300 has been replaced by a very sixties/seventies titanium mesh band!
These bracelets had their heyday many years ago, and they are gradually making a comeback on the wrists of vintage watch enthusiasts. But it’s quite a surprise to see a mesh on a Seamaster 300. It could have been a bit much, but no... once again, it works! And for those who don’t care for the mesh, the Seamaster Bond also comes in a NATO strap version. And, while the NATO does look good, I far prefer the highly original all-titanium version.
Omega Seamaster 300 James Bond © Omega
Is that the last of the vintage and “Bondian” references? Of course not.
The dial features an arrow symbol. For military watch enthusiasts, it’s highly significant. It’s the sign of the MoD (the British Ministry of Defence), placed on military watches issued to soldiers in the field, which remain the property of the MoD.
Some will no doubt be scandalised by this addition, given that this Seamaster 300 has never been military-issue. Nevertheless, Omega has supplied watches for British military pilots and divers for many years.
And let us not forget – this watch is a cinematic character. Like James Bond. And so, you’ve guessed it... it works.
And it gets better. The closed caseback is engraved with some strange figures: 0552/923/ and A/007/62.
The first number is inspired by the references applied by the MoD to their standard-issue watches. Omega has extended the analogy as far as possible to create a fully fleshed-out character!
The more amusing number is 007/52. 007, of course. But why 62? Could that be the year of the first Bond film – 1962? As I said, with this superb Seamaster 300 007, Omega has scored a bull’s eye by creating a horological character in its own right by drawing liberally from the Bond story, from the protagonist’s military origins to the first film.
Bravo, because at the end of the day, it all just… works.
Omega Seamaster 300 James Bond © Omega
What does the Devil’s Advocate think?
A watch in honour of someone who fights supervillains? Whatever... they’re not really in the same league as our malevolent adversary.
But more seriously, what more could be done, or done better, to make this Omega Seamaster 300 even more convincing? Frankly, not a lot.
Our only regret is that the watch isn’t supplied with both the mesh and NATO straps, and that Omega didn’t choose to simplify the markings on the dial, getting rid of “Co-Axial” and “Master Chronometer”, to further strengthen the vintage vibe of this piece.
How to wear the Omega Seamaster 300 James Bond with style
Obviously, Bond is synonymous with style. 007 is as much a style icon as he is a master spy. So, if you’re going to wear Seamaster, you must look to your classics. All the more so, as this watch is a bridge between the past and the future.
Let’s start with the past and, because the Seamaster is primarily a dive watch, let’s take a trip down memory lane to the good old days of the beaches of Dr No. First stop: the Orlebar Brown website, to pick out one of the many re-creations of the clothes worn by Bond. My favourite items are the linen shirt from Dr No, and the pale pink Thunderball shorts.
For a more formal and contemporary outfit, you have no option but to engage the services of a Bond Street tailor. But I’ll settle for a more casual look. As Bond wears jackets as much as suits, I will choose a classic leather Moto Jacket by John Varvatos. And as we’re still in the winter season, I would opt for a charcoal grey cashmere “Spectre” turtleneck sweater, ideally from N. Peal’s James Bond collection.
As far as the trousers are concerned, a fine flannel fabric provides just the right mélange of casual and formal. I particularly like the Hollywood-Top models by Edward Sexton, which are classically styled but with an original cut.
For the shoes, we’ll stick with James Bond’s go-to brand, Crockett & Jones, and their famous Chiltern Chukka Boot in dark tan, which can be paired with a matching belt.
In this outfit you will be equally comfortable on the beach or in the mountains. Now all you need is an adventure!
A company of the Swatch Group, OMEGA has been behind major revolutions in watchmaking technology and the timekeeping of numerous Olympic Games. Its watches are worn by world-famous celebrities and have travelled to the moon, the depths of the ocean and everywhere in between.Find out more >
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