OMEGA and the James Bond Limited Editions – An Overview
Every couple of years, leading up to the latest Bond movie release, Omega fans debate and speculate about the type of watch that will be issued to commemorate the film. Omega either introduces a new model which is debuted by 007 silver screen before it goes into production or they come up with a James Bond-themed Special Edition in advance of the movie. As the highly anticipated Bond movie Spectre will be released later this year (official date is 23rd October 2015) speculations arose about what Omega would present to us this time. Before we welcome the newest member of the family, let’s have a quick look at the previous Omega James Bond models.
The OMEGA watches worn by James Bond
As any Omega and/or James Bond fan would tell you, the collaboration between the two “brands” started exactly 20 years ago. The 2 movies starring Timothy Dalton were, let’s just say, not so successful. The producers realized that they had to shift gears and adapt to the different times the early 90’s brought. They redesigned the character of James Bond and teamed up with several major global companies like BMW, Ericsson and last but not least, Omega.
The first installment of this collaboration was Golden Eye (1995). The story was built using some of the most common clichés from old Bond movies; space technology, Russians as bad guys and a Roger Moore-type suave character using the young Pierce Brosnan. Throughout the movie he was seen wearing the Seamaster Quartz Professional 300M. This was the building block of a great friendship and successful business venture by 2 huge companies that have proven to be prosperous beyond measure.
Just 2 years after the first of the Pierce Brosnan-era movies, United Artists (the studio behind the franchise) were ready to amaze us with yet another picture. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) showed us the power of the media and how it can influence governments for better or for worse. Bond upgraded his quartz to the Omega Seamster 300M Automatic Chronometer: a truly outstanding future classic watch.
In the third (The World Is Not Enough, 1999) and fourth (Die Another Day, 2002) movies there were no upgrades or new models. James Bond was still wearing his trusty Omega Seamaster 300M. However the best was yet to be seen.
History repeats itself, they say. In 1995, a fresh face, with a cool watch, helped reinvent the James Bond brand and brought it to a whole other level. 11 years later, Casino Royal (2006) gave the story of Her Majesty’s Secret Agent yet another twist. We went back in time without really doing so to see how a rugged but smart field agent gained the “double-0” status. Daniel Craig was chosen to play the new James Bond and brought a completely different attitude to the screen. Craig is more of a Connery-type muscle guy versus the sharply dressed businessman like Brosnan. This new beginning also meant a new watch. Screen time was split between the Omega Seamaster 300M similar to the previous models but now with the Co-Axial escapement and the larger 45.5mm diameter Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean on a rubber strap. The Planet Ocean was a new addition to the Omega family and matched Craig perfectly. When James Bond dressed up for a poker game he was seen sporting the smaller, classic 300M but when he was about to take care of business, he required a tool watch. The Planet Ocean proved to be that rugged watch and became a worldwide success for the brand.
Quantum of Solace (2008) was the title of the next Bond movie but it could have been Casino Royal Part 2. The villain is different but the story continues. Casino Royal ended leaving a bunch of open questions at its conclusion. Luckily, we all received the answers in Craig’s second movie. This time we see no 300M and even the Planet Ocean got smaller. Bond was wearing the 42mm Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Co-Axial 600M Chronometer: slimmer but still a sharp watch.
We now come to the last Bond movie to be released: Skyfall. Bond kept his 42mm Planet Ocean like before (even though it’s the updated caliber 8500) but also introduced us to another member of the Seamaster family: the dressier Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra. Skyfall is part action and part drama. The watches he wears are the perfect suited pair to match the duality of the script.
The James Bond Limited Editions
Of course Omega did not only supply watches for us in the Bond movies, but also created some outstanding limited edition models to commemorate the movies and franchise itself.
The first James Bond Limited Edition (JBLE) was created in 2002 to celebrate Die Another Day as well as the 40th anniversary of the James Bond franchise (Dr. No the first James Bond movie was released in 1962). This watch used the updated version of the Seamaster 300M as seen in the movie. However, the watch had a special dial with the 007 logo placed under “Chronometer” and it also had an inscribed case back as well as a unique bracelet. The watch was limited to 10,007 pieces and proved to be a huge success among collectors.
Four years later, a new James Bond movie was released and a new watch was introduced. To mark this milestone, Omega came up with not only 1 but 2 JBLEs. They redesigned the Seamaster Diver 300M Co-Axial 41mm and also the Seamaster Planet Ocean Co-Axial 45.5mm. The 007 logo was relocated from the dial to the counterweight of the second hand on both models. The Seamaster Diver 300M received a dial featuring the inside of a gun barrel as seen during the opening of every Bond movie. The Planet Ocean only received superficial changes like special an inscribed case back with the name of the movie, a special rubber strap, and the aforementioned “007” second hand. The Seamaster Diver 300m was limited to 10,007 and the Planet Ocean to 5,007 pieces.
In 2008, with the release of Quantum of Solace, Omega introduced the Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M Co-Axial Chronometer 45.5 QoS Limited Edition. Amongst many cool details, the one I like most are the texture of the dial, which was designed to reproduce the grip of James Bond’s favorite handgun, the Walther PPK. Another one is the title of the movie laser-engraved on the watch crystal. Again, 5,007 pieces were produced of this JBLE, which is one of the most sought after models of the line.
In the very same year as the aforementioned Planet Ocean, together with the release of Quantum of Solace, Omega graced us with yet another watch. As Omega put it, the watch “was designed to celebrate both the 007 pedigree and Bond’s on-going relationship with OMEGA watches rather than a specific film release, which gives it a timeless quality. The Omega Seamaster Diver 300M James Bond Collector’s Piece had a black dial instead of the standard blue, with the now-familiar “007” second hand. This watch, like its predecessors, was produced in an edition of 10,007 units.
Before we arrive to the watch unveiled today, we have a final double release. 2012 was a very special year; it marked the release of the latest movie, Skyfall, as well as the 50th anniversary of the Bond franchise. For the movie release, Omega introduced a limited edition piece using the Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M as its basis. They spiced up the watch with the new 8507 Co-Axial caliber and added a display case-back and special bracelet. The 007 logo was placed at 7 o’clock.
Like 10 years before, the company also prepared something outstanding. They had to outdo themselves for the “big 5-0”, and, oh boy, did they ever! The watch was called Bond at 50, produced in limited numbers of 11,007 in 41mm and 3,007 in a 36mm version. The watch is based on the Seamaster 300M, the legend that began the prosperous collaboration. The color scheme features the Planet Ocean’s black with an additional red. This time, there is no “007” secondhand but the number is visible and integrated into the texture of the dial. The “50” on the bezel is colored red instead of the usual white. It is such a cool watch with a great color-combo.
We have gone through all of the watches produced by Omega for the James Bond franchise. If you’ve made it this far I’m sure you are dying to know more about the newest addition. We already featured a write-up not long ago on this very watch and as our article title has suggested, the new piece is not a Seamaster 300M or Planet Ocean but, rather, a model that surfaced in Skyfall. It is the Aqua Terra.
As you know, the AT is a pretty subtle watch: a fusion of a sports watch and a dress watch. This particular model was created to mark the 24th Bond movie, Spectre, and is inspired by the Bond family coat of arms. This motif is featured on the beautiful deep blue dial of the watch and creates an interesting texture. The coat of arms is also visible on the tip of the yellow second hand. The watch is 41mm and is equipped with the Omega 8507 caliber. The cool addition of “15,007 Gauss” on the dial indicates that the movement is anti-magnetic to ›15.000 Gauss. The watch is limited to exactly 15,007 pieces and comes with a full 4-year warranty. It will be handed over to the lucky owner in a special presentation box that includes an additional blue nylon strap with yellow stitching, tools to allow you to change between the bracelet and the strap, and a loupe.
We still have to wait till the end of this year to see what watches Daniel Craig will wear as James Bond in the upcoming movie, Spectre. I think the 42mm Planet Ocean and the Aqua Terra are safe guesses but you never know. In the meantime, we have this limited edition, which is such a beautiful piece. We love the new color-combo of blue and yellow. Next time you are visiting an Omega dealer make sure to give this one a try. Wrist shots are welcome in the comments below.