James Bond’s wristwatches explode, saw and sometimes kill. And for a while, they’ll be on display at South Coast Plaza.
Today, the mall’s Omega boutique is celebrating the company’s two decades as 007’s watch of choice by debuting an exhibit dedicated to seven of Bond’s high-tech timepieces.
The exhibit has replicas and descriptions of Bond’s watches from “GoldenEye,” “Tomorrow Never Dies,” “The World Is Not Enough,” “Die Another Day,” “Casino Royale,” “Quantum of Solace,” “Skyfall,” and “Spectre,” set to be released Friday.
Most of the watches were never sold commercially. “Spectre” is the first film for which Omega will sell the same model that Daniel Craig wears in the movie. Only 7,007 pieces were manufactured of the special edition of the Omega Seamaster 300, with each retailing for $7,500.
Those special editions will be sold at Omega’s South Coast Plaza store, and the exhibit will run through Sunday.
As a tie-in to the timepiece exhibit, we take a look back at some of Bond’s most memorable and deadly wristwatch gadgets from his 24 films.
“Thunderball,” 1965: The fourth film in the Bond series was the first to feature a watch gadget, but it wasn’t very exciting. The timepiece, given to Bond by Q, was outfitted with a Geiger counter, a device used to detect radioactivity. Bond uses the watch in his failed underwater search for two NATO atomic bombs stolen by the global criminal syndicate SPECTRE.
After the film, the watch prop worn by Sean Connery disappeared for nearly five decades, before reappearing at a car boot sale, where it was purchased for $40. Later that year, the new owner sold the timepiece at auction for more than $160,000.
The “Thunderball” watch was made by Breitling, a Swiss company.
“Live and Let Die,” 1973: In “Live and Let Die,” filmmakers finally give Bond a watch that really gives him a trick up his sleeve. The Rolex Submariner timepiece boasts a “hyper-intensified magnetic field” so powerful that it can deflect bullets. Bond instead uses the device to make a spoon fly across the room and later to unzip a woman’s dress.
The watch also has a spinning bezel that Bond uses as a mini buzzsaw to escape man-eating sharks, cutting through ropes that bind him to a lowering platform.
“The Spy Who Loved Me,” 1977: The earliest precursor to the Apple Watch was Bond’s modified Seiko DK001, which could print secret messages from MI6 on a thin strip that looked like the output of a label maker.
“Moonraker,” 1979: In “Moonraker,” Bond’s Seiko M354-5019 wristwatch contains an explosive charge that can be detached and detonated at a distance, using a button on the timepiece. Bond uses it to escape from a room below the Moonraker 5 spaceship only seconds before the room fills with flames.
“For Your Eyes Only” 1981: Again, a modified Seiko wristwatch allows Bond to receive secret messages from MI6, but this time, the text is digital, slowly scrolling across an LCD display on the watch’s face. The timepiece also boasts a built-in satellite phone.
“Octopussy” 1983: Bond’s Seiko G757 contains a universal radio direction finder to track a replica Fabergé egg outfitted with a homing device, which features heavily in the plot. Bond uses the wristwatch to track exiled Afghan prince Kamal Khan to India, where he uses a listening device in the egg to spy on the villain.
Bond is also given a Liquid Crystal TV Seiko T001 capable of transmitting live video to his wrist. He uses the device to look at a woman’s cleavage.
“GoldenEye,” 1995: This film marks the switch from Seiko to Omega watches and begins a run of more powerful gadgets in Bond’s timepieces. In “GoldenEye,” Bond’s Omega Seamaster Quartz has a built-in laser cutter and remote detonator, both of which became well-known to players of the film’s acclaimed video game adaptation. Bond uses the laser to cut through the floor of villain Col. Arkady Ourumov’s armor-plated train and escape moments before it explodes.
“Tomorrow Never Dies” 1997: In a Chinese safe-house, Bond finds a modified Omega Seamaster that has a detachable explosive charge hidden in its back. Later, in Saigon, Bond places the charge in a glass jar with a grenade and plants the item in case he needs to make a quick mistake. After media mogul Elliot Carver corners 007 and reveals his devious plan to provoke World War 3, Bond uses his watch to detonate the explosive, allowing him time to escape.
“The World Is Not Enough” 1999: Bond’s Omega Semaster watch contains a tiny grappling hook capable and 50 feet of wire, capable of supporting 800 pounds. He uses the device to dislodge himself from a pile of snow after an avalanche, and later to escape a pit in which he is being kept prisoner.
“Die Another Day” 2002: The most recent Bond film to include a wristwatch gadget with a laser cutter and explosive detonator. During Bond’s fight to prevent a craze billionaire from building an orbital mirror that can turn solar energy into a super weapon, the agent needs to cut through the surface of a frozen lake, and the laser comes in handy.
“Casino Royale,” 2006; “Quantum of Solace,” 2008; “Skyfall,” 2012; “Spectre,” 2015:Since Daniel Craig became 007, the gadgets have disappeared from the films. Bond sports a new Omega watch in each film, but none boast explosives or lasers or tracking devices. “Spectre” pokes fun at the return to normalcy.
Upon receiving his new Omega Seamaster from Q, Bond asks, “Does it do anything?” Q responds, “It tells the time.”
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org or 714-796-7960