Omega Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition
The Omega Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition is the latest special edition watch from the Biel-based, luxury marque. As James Bond battles his enemies in his twenty-fifth silver screen outing, he can be seen wearing this lightweight, ultra-stylish diver’s watch. Mark McArthur-Christie, evidently a fan of the Bond franchise, waxes lyrical about this über-masculine diver’s watch.
James Bond. What’s the first thing that comes to mind? It’s a pretty safe bet that it will be (particularly if you’re here and reading this august publication) the watch on his wrist. But the whole idea of the ‘Bond watch’ started from just nine almost throwaway words in Fleming’s second Bond novel, Live and Let Die, published in 1954. Simply, “He looked at the Rolex watch on his wrist…” No mention of models, straps or anything but the maker’s name. And from those nine words sprang a new genre of Bond watches.
Fleming himself wore a Rolex 1016 Exp 1, possibly the firm’s least fussy watch. The later books are equally unfussy about what was on Bond’s wrist. Fleming liked adding verisimilitude to his stories with real companies’ names; he had a Rolex, so that same watch did duty for Bond. On paper, 007’s watches weren’t endowed with the ability to undo dress zips, shoot laser beams or even operate as grappling hooks. They’d tell the time, occasionally serve as the display for a Geiger counter or just double as an expensive but effective knuckle-duster. Imagine the look on the St James’ receptionist’s face when that one came in for service.
Book-Bond only ever wore Rolex but from 1962 and Dr No, the first Bond movie (that was a Rolex Submariner ref. 6538, seeing as you asked), things have been more fluid. Bond has shot his cuffs to reveal everything from an LED Pulsar P2 in Live and Let Die to a Breitling Top Time in Thunderball and an LCD Seiko 0674 LC in The Spy Who Loved Me. He even sports a TAG Heuer in The Living Daylights. But since 1995 and Goldeneye, he’s been an Omega man, starting with a ref. 2541.80 Seamaster and working his way through the range.
Strangely, it took until Casino Royale in 2006 for the change in his allegiance to get called out properly on-screen. It happened in perhaps the most excruciatingly cheesy bit of dialogue in an already pretty cheese-prone oeuvre. Vesper Lynd is skewering Bond in conversation and, having dissed his choice of suit and shredded his character, she moves onto his watch:
“Rolex?” she asks.
“Omega,” Bond replies.
“Beautiful,” clunks Lynd.
It must, however, have made the man behind the superb product placement, Jean-Claude Biver rightly proud. Now, Bond is happily shackled, by a rather smart Milanese bracelet, to his Omega.
In Bond’s latest outing, No Time to Die, due now in December on the big screen, he wears another in a long line of his favourite Seamaster Divers. It’s the new Omega Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition. Titanium case, 42mm, water-resistant to 300m and available on a special NATO strap or a matching titanium Milanese bracelet.
Despite being quite a departure from the relatively stock Omegas he’s worn in earlier films, the firm has resisted the temptation to turn their latest 007 watch into a blinged-up, OTT Bondfest. In fact, it passes the “would you know it’s a Bond watch unless someone told you?” test well.
The only Bondian trace you’ll spot on the dial – at first sight anyway – is the MoD broad arrow just above the six o’clock baton. Look a little closer and you might spot another link. There’s a rather nice, perhaps unintentional, tribute to Connery’s earliest ref. 6538 and its tendency towards a vintaged, tropical look with the dial, bezel and hands.
The dial, hands and bezel look aged, thanks to their antiqued Super-LumiNova. Despite the faded look, the dial points and hands glow bright blue with the bezel pip at 12 emitting green. The dial and bezel are both oxalic aluminium, with the latter hardened to 500 Vickers – twice the hardness of regular aluminium. It’s tough, but will still pick up scratches and character. Then again, isn’t the point of a Bond watch to see a bit of action and tell the tale? Omega has also said the bezel should age with use and exposure to light, so no two 007s will be alike after a few years.
If you’re a Seamaster aficionado, you might spot that the case profile of the 007 is a little different from the standard ref. 210. The case of this 22nd Bond watch looks thinner than its watchbox mates. And it is, too – it’s a neat trick, partly achieved with a slimmer case (12.99mm vs 13.56mm), but also a different profile to the sapphire crystal that makes the whole thing appear more snugged down on the wrist. The crystal is anti-reflective coated too on the underside.
Bond wore a titanium Planet Ocean in Skyfall, but it was a one-off – ordinary mortals could only have their PO in steel. This time, the 007 Seamaster is not only an unlimited edition, it’s titanium – case and bracelet all-in. The case has no polished parts, so no glinting in the sunlight to betray your position to anyone else at the beach bar. And, on the back, the military theme continues with a series of numbers, which follow the NATO stock number convention. “0552” is a naval code-number, with “923 7697” being the number for a diver’s watch. The letter “A” signifies a watch with a screw-in crown. “007” is pretty obvious, but less blatant is “62” at the end – that’s the year of the first Bond film.
If you get obsessive about having your caseback on straight so all the writing lines up nicely, you’re in the right place. Omega has thought about you with its Naiad system. This is a clever bit of tech that means the caseback only goes on one way – so that everything is neat and as it should be.
Inside the case is the splendid Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 8806. Try saying that after two martinis. It’s evolved from the original cal. 8800 from 2016 and lacks a date, partly because you don’t need to know what date it is when you’re jumping off a sinking building in Venice and partly because it fits with the military tone of the watch.
The calibre beats at 25,200 vph, running on 35 jewels with a titanium balance wheel, a silicon hairspring and Nivachoc shock absorbers. Fine adjustment of the free-sprung balance gets taken care of by screws on the balance wheel (positioned in-board).
And, so you can be on time to pick up your new DB5 from Q, the 8806 is certified very accurate indeed. Its equivalent of the 00 number is its METAS certification, awarded by Switzerland’s Federal Institute of Metrology. It’s a tough process. First, pass your 14 days of Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC) testing without a blot, then you get a chance to try for METAS. Every single movement Omega sells in the 007 – rather than just a sample – goes through the process.
And METAS involves a proper beasting. For a start, each movement gets tested to 15,000 gauss for magnetic resistance. For scale, the magnet holding your shopping list to your fridge door is about 50 gauss, your laptop puts out around 1,000. Unless you make a habit of hanging around hospital MRI machines, your 007 Seamaster should treat any everyday magnetic field with barely a raised, Roger Moore-style eyebrow.
Once it’s been magnetically tested, the movement – and the completed watch – then gets positional tests, heat and cold tests, isochronism tests, power reserve tests and then gets dunked in water, heated up to 50 degrees C and tested again. All in all, there are eight different tests to pass for each watch before it gets certified.
To hold the whole plot to your wrist you have a choice of either a Bond-style NATO or that matching titanium Milanese bracelet. The latter has holes for adjustment and a specially-designed clasp to add to the whole vintage theme. And, if you want to copy your hero, he’s wearing the Milanese in the movie.
Image – Reference 22.214.171.124.01.001
Finally, if you were about to bother your local planning officer before you invest in your 007 Seamaster, put down the phone. It’s fine. The Bond Seamaster comes in a waxed cotton watch roll that would easily slip into a jacket pocket.
This is a watch – like any Bond watch – that could have easily matched the Lynd/Bond on-train exchange for cheesiness. Instead, it’s a watch that stands in its own right, that you could wear every day, free of worry, and with a great deal of enjoyment. It’s a testament to Omega’s designers that they’ve got the balance right between Bondness and everyday usability.
- Model: Omega Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition
- Reference: 126.96.36.199.01.001
- Case: Grade 2 Titanium; 42mm diameter; 300 metre water resistance; sapphire crystal and solid caseback.
- Functions: hours; minutes; central sweep seconds.
- Movement: Calibre 8806, self-winding movement; 32 jewels, 55-hour power reserve.
- Strap: Titanium mesh bracelet.
- Price: £7,390 (RRP as at 11.3.2020)