Sean Connery’s Iconic Movie Watches

“Bond, James Bond.”

There is perhaps no scene more iconic in 20th-century movie history than the one in which Sean Connery, introduces himself as Agent 007, in 1962’s Dr. No. What followed was decades of fascination with Bond — one that put fashion, cars, and yes, watches, on the map.

The screen legend, who passed away last month at the age of 90, will forever be remembered as the first – and many say the best – James Bond. Inextricably linked to his stint as Bond, are the watches that he wore in the movies and which, in the minds of moviegoers, have forever associated 007 with great timepieces.

 

Here’s a look back at Sean Connery’s iconic movie watches.

 

Rolex Submariner Vintage
Sean Connery in Dr. No (1962) and Rolex Submariner ref 6538  | photo: Phillips

ROLEX SUBMARINER ref 6538: the original Bond Submariner

This is the watch that accompanied Sean Connery in the first four of his Bond movies, and is the watch most associated with the actor.

The James Bond Submariner, as it is now called, is distinguishable by its “Big Crown” or large crown with no guards and the luminous pearl on the red triangle at 12 o’clock. While it comes with a steel bracelet, Connery wore it with a NATO strap.

 

Rolex Submariner Vintage
Rolex Submariner Vintage Big Crown ref 6538 as pictured in Goldfinger (1964)

What also sets it apart from other Bond watches is that it was simply a watch. Watches that double as weapons have been part of the Bond lore – from Roger Moore’s Submariner that served as a buzzsaw and Pierce Brosnan’s Omega Seamaster with a grappling hook. Connery’s Submariner was simply a timepiece, but a sensible choice for Bond, who didn’t mind getting wet in the process of saving the world.

The James Bond Submariner remains one of the most desirable models within the Submariner family. In 2018, Christie’s sold a ref 6538 with a rare Explorer dial for US$1 Million, making it the most expensive Submariner ever sold at auction – leaving no doubt about Connery’s legacy and the Bond connection.

 


 

Breitling Vintage
Sean Connery in Thunderball (1965) and Breitling Top Time  | photo: James Bond Lifestyle

BREITLING TOP TIME

James Bond also wears his ref 6538 Submariner in Thunderball, but this time, he also relies on another watch – the Breitling Top Time.

The 1962 Breitling Top Time (reference 2002) is given to Bond by stalwart Q; and is used as a geiger counter. The stainless steel watch has a tachymeter ring around the black dial and two metal subdials.

The watch was thought to be lost, but was rediscovered in 2013 at an English flea market, where the authentic prop was spotted by an eagle-eyed Bond fan, and bought for a measly £25. He brought the watch to an expert; and it was later auctioned off by Christie’s for more than £100,000.

 


 

Sean Connery in Dr. No (1962) and Gruen Precision 510  |
photo: The Gentleman Racer

GRUEN PRECISION 510

While the Rolex Submariner ref 6538 is undoubtedly Connery’s best known timepiece as James Bond, the first watch ever sported by bond is a Gruen Precision 510, in yellow gold. This round dress watch is what the gentlemen of the day, 1960s, would wear with their tuxedos.

The Gruen Watch Company was a historic brand from the 1890s that shut down in 1977, and then came back to life under new ownership in 2000.

In the famous casino scene in Dr. No, where Sean Connery made his introduction, “Bond, James Bond,” the watch peeks under his shirt cuff – it was also seen multiple times throughout the film.

 


 

With Sean Connery’s passing, there has been increased interest in these timepieces. For sure, they will go down in history not only as the watches of James Bond, or Sean Connery, but as symbols of debonaire style.

 

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SEE MORE OF THE WATCHES IN OUR VIDEO:

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PHOTO CREDITS: Sean Connery photos from James Bond Lifestyle (Main / Submariner) / Bamfstyle.com (Breitling) / Bondsuits.com (Gruen). Watch photos from Phillips (Rolex 6538 – Breitling Top Time) / The Gentleman Racer (Gruen Precision).
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