James Bond's watches - like his cars - are the eternal subject of nerdery, fandom and collector obsession. They're laden with gadgets that save his life (or, ahem, undress women...) and they look pretty cool with it. Since Goldeneye, 007 has had his watches provided by Omega, which has led to a vast range of limited edition tie-ins for us mere mortals, which vary on a spectrum from "stealth-luxe" to "extremely kitsch". We've been through them all and ranked and rated them in detail. You're welcome. The latest is a jolly fine piece of kit that marries classic British military influences with Seventies style, all on the template of Omega's thoroughly modern Seamaster 300M diver.
But what if you're looking for something a bit more affordable - and available - than the official Bond watches from Omega, but still want a taste of 007 (and, let's not beat around the bush, bags of kitsch)? Swatch has the answer: six James Bond themed watches, each taking its aesthetic inspiration from the title credits and artwork of a different film.
Amid speculation that Rami Malek will be revealed as Dr No in No Time To Die (spoiler: he almost certainly won't), there's renewed focus on James Bond's first film. This watch channels the primary coloured simplicity of the artwork of Dr No, before the myth of Bond (and the big budgets) had taken root. There's also something quite satisfying about a watch that just says "No" at every hour. Maybe it's just our worldview.
The Bond posters of the 1960s and 70s owe their signature look to Robert McGinnis. His painted collages of excitement and action, notable for their prominent femmes fatales, are the most memorable of all the Bond posters, and his work was synonymous with energetic, entertaining works wherever it appeared (he illustrated more than 1,200 book covers as well as dozens of film posters) . If you're interested, Vanity Fair has an excellent article on McGinnis here. For this watch, Swatch has focussed on the breathless language of the poster for 1969's OHMSS, which proclaimed "Far Up! Far Out! Far More! James Bond is Back!". Interestingly, this is now the second watch dedicated to one of the least memorable Bond movies, after Omega did a 50th anniversary piece last year.
Bond's excursion into space in 1979's Moonraker is commemorated with a watch whose strap and dial share a starlit sky motif, with Hugo Drax's stolen space shuttle crossing the dial front and centre. It's arguably the most minimalist of the six designs, in some contrast to the film. Fun fact: Moonraker was the highest-grossing Bond film, taking $210m worldwide, until Goldeneye surpassed it 16 years later.
Bond's only 15-rated movie to date, 1989's Licence To Kill saw him exacting revenge on drug baron Franz Sanchez, against the tropical backdrop of Key West. Timothy Dalton is regarded as the best Bond by many however the film took a darker tone than any Bond movie before, but you wouldn't guess that from this watch, with its pastel-hued motif of palm trees at sunset. Maximum Eighties.
The watch produced to go with TWINE is on the face of it, the grittiest, most tech-y of the six, channelling a retro computer graphics vibe that lends itself nicely to a watch dial. But then you see the strap, with its full-length flame illustration, and it all goes a bit 'novelty shirt at a barbecue'. It's all taken directly from the poster - the issue being that, possibly, the poster wasn't exactly a work of genius to begin with.
This was a no-brainer: Casino Royale was a breath of fresh air in every sense for the Bond franchise, and that extended to its title graphics, which played heavily on intricate geometric illusions crafted out of the four suit symbols (only three of which get a look-in on the dial - wouldn't it have been nice to have a tiny club-shaped counterweight on the seconds hand?). Still, for less than £75 we can't be too picky.
Here's the final finishing touch to this range: each watch comes packaged in a VHS sized sleeve and box, carefully crafted to resemble actual film packaging. Pretty cool, and nicely executed - just don't get hung up on the fact that for at least three of the six films referenced here, VHS was either non-existent or long since obsolete. (Stop Getting Bond Wrong!)