Omega has released details of a limited edition Seamaster that pays tribute to the seventh James Bond film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, which marks 50 years since its release in 1969.
The watch is based on the Seamaster 300M Diver - a model we've reviewed favourably and consider one of the best value dive watches on the market - with several unique touches aimed at evoking the over-the-top tone of the film.
Cased in stainless steel, it has a black PVD ceramic dial engraved with the spiral design familiar from the James Bond title credits (originally meant to evoke the rifling of a gun barrel). On the dial, we have 18 carat yellow gold indices and hands, with a design inspired by the Bond family coat of arms at 12 o'clock.
The caseband bears a commorative plaque in yellow gold, engraved with the limited edition number for each watch - somewhat confusingly at first, it incorporates the 007 logo with regular typography to indicate the number, made possible by the decision to produce exactly 7,007 pieces of the watch. This typographical trickery is repeated on the date wheel, where every "7" is set in the logo font rather than the regular font for the rest of the month.
At night the watch reveals more secret signs; a "50" is embedded within the luminescent marker at ten o'clock. The watch is presented in a special display box bearing more of the gun-barrel style decorations.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service was George Lazenby's solitary appearance on screen as James Bond, appearing between Sean Connery's You Only Live Twice (1967) and Diamonds Are Forever (1971). Generally remembered as one of the less impressive Bond films (and leading actors), its reputation has nevertheless improved with time. Watch nerds and Bond nerds alike may be mildly interested to note that a key element of the plot revolves around Blofeld's threat to hold the world's major economies to ransom with a biological agent. And the name of his bio-weapon? Virus Omega.
This is the first time Omega has marked the anniversary of a James Bond film; we have had the Seamaster Commander's Watch, which didn't mark anything in particular but payed tribute to Bond's long relationship with the Royal Navy, but otherwise all James Bond Seamasters have been tied to a contemporary cinematic release. Starting with OHMSS is an odd choice, but presumably having had the idea Omega was loath to wait until 2022 for the 60th anniversary of Dr No, which would at least have had the satisfying orderliness of beginning at the beginning. So we come in at the end of the Connery years, with a tribute to a film that albeit harshly judged, was not exactly crying out for a homage.
Of course, with No Time to Die coming out later than initially expected, Omega had a gap to fill in its calendar and could well do with stoking enthusiasm for next year's activity. So the question of whether we will now see every 50th anniversary of every film marked in turn (as well as the aforementioned 60th, when it comes, of Bond's first outing) is one we will have to wait and find out. There could soon be as many Bond Seamasters as there are space-going Speedmasters. The brand is already regularly accused of limited edition overkill (although no-one begrudges it the fanfare over this year's Apollo 11 celebrations) but our view would be that as long as the James Bond editions continue to sell, expect them to keep coming.
The Omega Seamaster Diver 300M "James Bond" On Her Majesty's Secret Service limited edition is priced at £5,220. Orders are now being taken for October delivery.
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