The Best Omega Watches Of Daniel Craig’s James Bond Era — Have Your Say!
Well, it’s come to a close in perhaps the most fitting fashion, but rather than reflect on the stunning silver screen conclusion to the Daniel Craig era (for fear of spoiling it for those of you yet to watch it) it’s time to appreciate the generous helping of wrist candy we were treated to over the past 16 years. Since 1995’s Goldeneye, Omega has furnished our super spy with watches aplenty, but how do the watches seen on Craig’s wrist since his 2006 debut stack up against one another? Here are my top five Omega watches of Daniel Craig’s James Bond era in reverse order.
As always, I’m sure this will stir up some controversy, so let me have it in the comments section. Feel free to bring in comparisons with the watches Bond wore before Craig’s steely-eyed tenure, but for the sake of clarity, I’m going to leave them out of this list (almost as if they didn’t exist in this 007 universe… Almost…).
4. Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Chronometer 41mm, reference 2220.80.00
Reference 2220.80.00 gets a lot of screen time during one of the most memorable scenes of Daniel Craig’s debut. In Casio Royale, facing off against Mads Mikkelson’s Le Chiffre and quietly spurred on to victory by Eva Green’s unforgettable Vesper Lynd (don’t believe me? Ask Bond), the Omega plays its own starring role. While most watch nerds wouldn’t have thought to pair a big stainless steel Omega dive watch with black tie attire, Craig somehow pulls it off.
This watch is decidedly old school…
The watch lands on this list because of its size. The 41mm Seamaster was replaced by a slightly bigger brother in 2018. Honestly, the new model is superior in almost every way, but if the size had stayed at 41mm, or even shrunk to 40, I think it might have been an even bigger success. This watch is decidedly old school, but it stirs a real nostalgia in me that I can’t deny.
3. Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M Co-Axial 42mm, reference 126.96.36.199.01.004
Many would argue Skyfall is the best movie of Craig’s five-film run. I actually have it third on the list (despite feeling it gets better every time I watch it), and it fares similarly in the watch stakes. This watch beats the Planet Ocean entrants from Casino Royale and Quantum hands down for one very simple reason: the movement.
…Omega came up with four separate iterations of George Daniels’s co-axial mechanism…
Both the 45.5mm Casino Royale Planet Ocean and the 42mm Quantum of Solace Planet Ocean was powered by the less-often-seen-these-days caliber 2500. Caliber 2500 was a modified ETA movement and is famous for being the most ubiquitous Co-Axial caliber of its day. It was, however, always a work in progress and Omega came up with four separate iterations of George Daniels’s co-axial mechanism (known as 2500A, 2500B, 2500C, and, you guessed it, 2500D).
The A and B weren’t very good at all, to be honest, and were quickly replaced by the C, which spent the longest uninterrupted run as the go-to co-axial caliber before the radically different D movement (that I think looks badass thanks to a totally redesigned escape wheel) trumped it.
Soon, though, caliber 8500 was introduced. This was designed to be Omega’s first purpose-built co-axial caliber and it bested its predecessor in every way. It heralded a new dawn for Omega’s in-house movement production and defined an aesthetic that everyone now expects from the brand.
Less Bond branding is always a plus
While I can live with the grid pattern on the dial, the 007 logo at 7 is distracting. This is a far cry from the horror show of the limited edition watch released for the oft (unfairly) beleaguered Quantum of Solace, which boasted a “Walther grip” dial pattern, but the chintziness of the co-branding anywhere but the case back irks me.
…a quiet triumph…
The regular collection model of this reference (pictured above on the film poster), however (reference 188.8.131.52.01.001) is a quiet triumph of a watch that grows on you over time as you come to appreciate its incredible quality and versatility. While the limited only made the third spot on this list, I think the regular model is actually a better fit for Daniel Craig’s Bond than the watch in the number two spot and only topped by the model in first.
2. Omega Master Co-Axial Chronometer 41mm, Spectre Edition, reference 184.108.40.206.01.001
By now, you might have figured out where this list is going, and while you might have thought the Spectre movie was a step down from the heights of Skyfall, it’s fair to say that Bond’s wrist game certainly picked up the pace as this story arc cantered toward its close.
There is a lot to like about this piece. The Omega Seamster 300M Spectre edition was a very cool watch that played a very cool role in the film. It was a little different from the production model, which, thankfully, dispensed with the “rather loud” alarm function.
…who would ever have guessed we’d have had to wait six years to see Bond don his final watch of the Craig series?
This was the last of the Bond watches in this series to be limited and that has born out to be a point of frustration among collectors that look back on this release fondly. I feel it certainly became more popular over time, but whether or not that had anything to do with its scarcity and high pre-loved prices, I can’t say. All I know is that it’s a humdinger of a watch that feels much more genuine than the over-branding trinkets that went before it.
Thoughtful touches like the 12-hour scale to zero in liquid metal on the bezel, the lollipop seconds hand, and the widely respected Master Co-Axial caliber 8400 make this one a watch for the ages. Kudos to the lucky 7,007 buyers that saw how well this model would age. But who would ever have guessed we’d have had to wait six years to see Bond don his final watch of the Craig series?
1. Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Chronometer 42mm, No Time To Die
Is it recency bias speaking or is it simply a fact? This Omega Seamster 300M is the most Daniel Craig watch on this list because the man himself had his hand in designing it. Wanting to create a visual break from the previous era, Craig and co. went with a brushed titanium case, a black and faux-rad dial and bezel, a closed case back with military engravings mirrored on the dial, and a rather fetching (if divisive) titanium mesh bracelet.
…minimal 007 branding…
While the pesky helium valve at 10 o’clock remains, this is one of the biggest departures from the norm in the series so far. It’s the least gimmicky of the bunch with minimal 007 branding and an aesthetic so distinctive that it more than warrants its full-time place in the collection.
For anyone not a fan of the mesh bracelet (which is really novel), there is a NATO option in a similar colorway (but with added admiral gray that you might associate with the classic NATO straps nicknamed the “Bond” despite having been inspired by Connery’s black, green, and red NATO he made famous by strapping it to a Rolex with lugs about 4mm too wide for it).
If I were ranking the Craig films in order, I would have Casino Royale in the top spot, followed by No Time To Die, Skyfall, Spectre, and Quantum of Solace. Here, however, it is the final installment that takes the crown, as we say bye-bye to the man that gave our hero a heart.
Funny aside: my overactive spellchecker changed “No Time To Die” to “No Time To Dietrich”, which I think is rather unfair on one of the more creative French brands out there. In fact, Dietrich would have been an excellent choice, if not for Bond, for one of his nemeses (I could really see Remi Malek’s Lyutsifer Safin digging the organic, almost plant-like dial and hands…).
Now let us know which one of Daniel Craig’s many Bond watches YOU prefer, and which ones are your all-time favorites.
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