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How James Bond Embraced The Quartz Watch Era

Is there anyone who doesn’t love a good James Bond movie? Since their first appearance on the silver screen more than 50 years ago, the James Bond films have regularly captured international acclaim for the props, the cars, the gadgets, the girls and 007 himself. What we like most about Bond are… well, the watches, of course.

Bond

Seiko Quartz LC James Bond watch, model DK001, case number 0674-5009 "The Spy Who Loved Me." Photo © JamesBondWatches.com and Dell Deaton

Several watch brands have had leading roles in the Bond movies. Back in 1962, according to JamesBondWatches.com, Bond wore a Gruen Precision sub-seconds wristwatch 510 in the movie “Dr. No” with Sean Connery as Ian Fleming’s James Bond 007. In subsequent films, Connery wore Rolex watches, as well. In the early 1970s, when Roger Moore took over as 007, other brands, including Hamilton and Rolex, made it to the star’s wrist in a variety of movies.

But, in the late '70s and early 1980s when the quartz revolution came into play strongly, Bond led the charge. No self-respecting agent could wear anything but the coolest, latest technology. In fact, a new exhibition entitled “James Bond Wore the Quartz Revolution” is being presented at the National Watch & Clock Museum in Columbia, Pa. (near Philadelhia). Beginning June 3, the exhibit (curated by Bond expert Dell Deaton) displays important watches worn by the James Bond character in the EON Productions movies of the time period.

In fact, throughout most of the early 1980s, the quartz-powered battery-operated wristwatches that were the favorite of the Bond movies were predominantly Seiko (the first watch brand to have full-production quartz watches). Later, in 1987, Timothy Dalton portrayed 007 in “The Living Daylights," wearing a TAG Heuer Professional watch and, in fact, another four characters in that movie wore a TAG Heuer Night Diver watch.

Heuer Night Dive model 980.031 quartz James Bond watch

Heuer Night Dive model 980.031 quartz James Bond watch, "The Living Daylights". Photo © JamesBondWatches.com and Dell Deaton

It should be noted that once the mechanical watch recovered ground, it became a coveted timepiece once again for 007. In 1995, Pierce Brosnan donned the OMEGA Seamaster for “GoldenEye,” and Omega has since dominated the leading role. For those who may be traveling to the Philadelphia area next month, and who may be game for a little adventure in life, you may want to think about visiting the National Watch & Clock Museum.