1. Rolex Submariner 6538
© Photo Credit (left) from HiConsumption and WatchTime of Sean Connery in Dr.No and the Rolex 6538, and (right) from GQ Magazine of Sean Connery in Goldfinger wearing Rolex 6538
The first watch worn by James Bond in film was a Rolex Submariner reference 6538. It appeared on the wrist of Sean Connery on a leather strap as seen above (left) in the first ever Bond film: Dr. No (1962). It's presence in the film marked the initiation of what would soon become an iconic relationship between Bond and Rolex. The 6538 went on to appear on Connery in From Russia With Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), and finally in Thunderball (1965). In the last two films it appeared on a NATO-style nylon strap (pictured right). The 6538 is most widely recognised from its feature in Goldfinger (pictured right), where a close-up shot of the watch on a white suited Connery propelled it into history as an iconic Bond watch.
It is no coincidence that Bond wore a Rolex; 10 years prior the writer Ian Fleming first imaged Bond in a Rolex in his second novel: Live and Let Die (1954). Fleming's watch choice was no surprise given the writer's affection for the brand, himself owning a Rolex Explorer reference 1016. Film enthusiasts believe Connery was also an avid Rolex fan and watch collector, and that the Dr. No Rolex Submariner 6538 belonged to him.
2. Rolex GMT-Master 6542
© Photo Credit (left & middle) from Revolution Magazine of Pussy Galore wearing GMT-Master 6542 and another 6542 (right) from Philipps Auction
In Goldfinger (1964), Bond girl Pussy Galore made history as the first and only female in the Bond films to be shown wearing a Rolex watch. The aviatrix suitably wore the quintessential pilot's watch: a Rolex GMT-Master reference 6542. The impact of her wearing the watch was such that it went on to be nicknamed the Rolex GMT Master "Pussy Galore". An example of this nickname in use can be seen in this Phillips auction online catologue, which featured a Rolex 6542 for sale.
3. Rolex Submariner 5513
© Photo Credit (left & middle - the 5513 and an original sketch of the watches alterations) Phillips Auction House (right -Roger Moore wearing the 5513) Bob's Watches
Bond couldn't stay away from a Rolex Submariner for long. In 1969, a Rolex Submariner resurfaced on George Lazenby's wrist in On Her Majesty's Service; this time it was a reference 5513. This was the first time a Rolex Submariner was worn on a steel bracelet in a Bond film. Whilst it was Lazenby's first and last appearance as Bond, it was not the watches last - it next appeared on Roger Moore in Live and Let Die (1973) and The Man with the Golden Gun (1974). On Roger Moore it marked a new epoch: it was the first time that Q added gadgets to one of Bond's watches.
- The prop team had to use two separate watches to install two functions and both watches had the second hand and movement removed in order to install the functions.
- One watch had hour markers that turned red when the bezel was turned to activate a magnetic field, handy for deflecting bullets. The other watch had a mechanism fitted that allowed the bezel to spin and be used as a saw - very useful for cutting through handcuffs.
- In 2015 the saw bezel Submariner sold for 365,000 CHF at a Phillips auction and it was most likely bought by Rolex themselves, since in 2016 they posted a video of it on their Instagram still spinning after all these years - making for yet again some great marketing on their part.
4. Rolex Daytona 6238
© Photo Credit Artcurial & Christie's Auction House : Photo of Lazenby in On Her Majesty's Service & the Rolex Daytona 6238
As if to make up for his one time stunt as Bond, George Lazenby got to wear two Rolex watches in On Her Majesty's Service (1969). The 5513 mentioned above and a Rolex Daytona 6238. This was the first and last time a Rolex chronograph would be worn in a Bond film.
- After production wrapped, staff from the production company EON Productions were given the opportunity to buy costumes used in the film. One lucky member bought Lazenby's Rolex Chronograph, which went on to sell at Christie's Auction in 2003 for £22,912; at the time of sale in 1968 the watch cost just 790 CHF - around £600.
- The watch later appeared in a 2o16 auction by Artcurial.
5. Rolex 16610
© Photo Credit: Portrait of Timothy Dalton from Fanpop and Dalton wearing the 16610 in film from TimePieceChronicle
After 15 years since last appearing in a Bond film, Rolex returns on the wrist of Timothy Dalton in License to Kill (1989). Dalton wears a stylish Rolex Submariner reference 16610, which was well suited to his underwater escapades in the film. This would be the last appearance of a Rolex watch in a Bond film to date. Since 1995 when Pierce Brosnan took on the role of Bond with his debut in Golden Eye, Omega has been the watch brand worn exclusively by Bond.
© 16610 from WatchCollectors