If you're a fan of the Bond franchise, you no doubt pay attention to what's on 007's wrist — after all, in many of the films, Bond's timepiece plays a special role in helping the debonair British secret agent save the world. But this time somehow feels different. Maybe it's because No Time To Die is Daniel Craig's last film in the franchise, or because he had a hand in designing the watch featured in the movie...it's tough to say for sure. But perhaps more than with any other film during Craig's tenure, one is cognizant of the importance of Omega's connection to the franchise, the filmmakers, the character — characters, I should say, as multiple actors wear Omega in the film — and to Craig himself.
If you're not familiar with the watch, it's the 42mm Omega Seamaster Diver 300M. It's titanium and has a military-inspired design, with vintage-colored lume and the "broad arrow" symbol on the dial signaling Crown property — and it's cool as all hell. I've been in rooms with 100 watch journalists — yes, that's a real profession that some of us have, insane as it sounds — and I've yet to meet a single one who dislikes this watch. (Don't @ me if you're that person. Comments section is below, though.)
I was lucky enough to be invited to a preview of the film yesterday afternoon with Omega, before which our good friend Stephen Pulvirent — formerly of HODINKEE — moderated a discussion with Craig, Michael G. Wilson (the series' producer), Raynald Aeschlimann (Omega's President and CEO), and Arnaud Michon, the brand's U.S. President. Craig himself spoke about the link between Omega and Bond, saying "I've been working with Omega for years, and we've been designing watches for the past 15 years. And that is such a testament to how collaborative this whole relationship has been. It's just been such a pleasure for me to have a say. Of course these guys come with amazing ideas and I'm always bowled over. It's very important, the watch he wears, and my connection to it."
This connection was made stronger recently when Craig was appointed an honorary title of Commander in the Royal Navy, with the First Sea Lord in attendance. Given the Bond character's Royal Navy background — Ian Fleming, author of the Bond series, served in British Naval Intelligence during WWII — and the government markings on the new Seamaster, the military link between character, watch, and actor seems to have been cemented in a way that's lent further significance to this particular timepiece. "It's a naval watch, and it feels like a naval watch," Craig elaborated. "It looks to me like a commander's watch. But it's very, very modern, and to me that seems like the perfect balance."
Craig's involvement in the design process this time was more pronounced. "Clearly I've said things, that it would be nice to do this, nice to do that...but what they came up with was way above and beyond," he said. "Because it has a vintage quality about it but it's incredibly light and very wearable. But it's rugged enough. It's light, but you could still smack someone in the head with it."
Though Omega's watches have always played a role in the Bond franchise for the past 25 years — think laser beams, mines, etc — the new Seamaster Diver 300M seems to get more screen time than past models. It plays a significant role in a crucial scene, but it's also conspicuously present on Bond's wrist in a sequence that sees him decked out in full naval commando gear — a testament to the past of the character, you might say. That the watch (the actual watch, not the prop from the film) isn't a limited edition but a full production model is a significant touch: I can imagine dedicated fans wanting to pick one up not simply for how cool the watch is itself, but as a memento of Craig's time in the franchise, and as a nod to the history of watchmaking, of the military, and to the character of Bond.
Omega's Bond watches have arguably only grown stronger over time. There are plenty of fans of '90s, Brosnan-era "Bond" Seamasters, but I would say that the new 300M is perhaps the most considered of the crop. I won't speak to the film — y'all can be your own judges as to its place in the greater Bond canon, and within Craig's oeuvre — but as a watch guy, I can safely say that, in my own humble opinion, the 300M carries the most emotional weight, if the least physical weight.