Few brand associations in popular culture have worked as well as Omega’s relationship with the world’s most famous secret agent. Ever since Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond strapped a deep blue Seamaster 300 M diver’s watch (Ref. 2531.80.00) on his wrist in Goldeneye (1995), the British superspy has worn the Swiss brand in all his celluloid outings.
Ian Fleming only referenced one watch in the 14 Bond novels that he wrote – in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, published in 1963, Bond wears a Rolex Explorer I with an expanding metal bracelet. Fleming himself, famously, wore an Explorer I (Ref. 1016) on a steel bracelet. Bond’s association with Omega has produced a bunch of watches in the last 22 years including some limited edition timepieces whose special features honor the 007 legacy.
The latest in this line is a diver’s watch (again) that is inspired by the ensign colors of the British Navy. Before he earned his ‘license to kill’ as an MI6 super spy, Bond held the rank of Commander in the Royal Navy and this watch – the Seamaster Diver 300M Commander’s Watch - is a hat-tip to that aspect of Bond’s life. Omega usually times these launches to coincide with a movie release, but the next Bond film is not due till November 2019.
Why now? Well, 2017 is the 50th anniversary of You Only Live Twice, the 40th of The Spy Who Loved Me and the 20th of Tomorrow Never Dies. Never mind the tenuous anniversary links, the fact remains that this is a fine looking collector’s edition.
The watch is based on Omega’s entry level mechanical watch – the steel Seamaster 300 M Diver. The entry level watch costs about AED12,000 ($3,200) and fitted with a ceramic unidirectional rotating bezel mounted on a 41 mm stainless steel case with a helium-escape valve and is powered by Omega’s Caliber 2500 movement.
The Commander’s watch is again encased in a stainless steel 41 mm case that has a mix of polished and brushed surfaces. It has the twisted lugs seen on Omega’s sports models and a scalloped edge blue ceramic bezel with a Liquidmetal diving scale and red rubber covering the first 15 minutes. It is fitted with a domed sapphire crystal and the watch is depth-rated to 300 meters and has a helium-escape valve at 10.
It’s most striking feature is the milky white ceramic dial that perfectly complements the red and blue color scheme. The pristine dial is fitted with luminous hour markers and facetted blued skeleton hour-minute hands. The varnished red second hand has a “007” gun logo counterweight; a trope that’s been used in past limited editions. A date window sits at 3 o’ clock with all the dates in blue except for the number 7 which appears in red.
While the standard Seamaster 300 M has a stainless steel caseback with the famous bridled seahorse logo, the Commander’s Watch has a sapphire crystal fitted on the business end of the watch that offers views of the Caliber 2507. A COSC-certified self-winding movement, Caliber 2507 (and 2500) is based on the ETA 2892 and is fitted with Omega’s co-axial escapement. It beats at 3.5 Hz (25,200 vph) and has a power reserve of 48 hours.
On the rhodium-plated movement, there are fine watchmaking flourishes like perlage and Geneva Stripes decoration, but the most striking aesthetic of Caliber 2507 is its oscillating weight which features the stripes of the Commander’s naval insignia. There is also a central 9mm “bullet” design, another nod to 007’s favored Walther PPK pistol. The caseback is also engraved with ‘Commander’s Watch’ and the limited edition number (only 7,007 pieces have been produced).
The watch is presented with a five link brushed stainless steel bracelet that has polished accents and a diver’s clasp that has the 007 logo engraved on it. The bracelet is supple and comfortable to wear but I am all for the additional striped Nato strap that the watch is supplied with.
Ever since it first used on the Seamaster 300 “Spectre” Limited Edition, Omega has paid close attention to on-trend Nato straps and sells a whole range of them in its boutiques. The Commander’s Watch gets a 5-stripe blue, red & grey polyamide Nato Strap that is inspired by Naval regimental pins.
The timepiece is presented in a gorgeous presentation box that is inspired by a real medal case. This box also contains a stainless steel bracelet, a changing tool and a “regimental pin” that mirrors the design of the Nato strap.
There is no doubt that this is a handsome diver’s watch. The color scheme, chronometer-grade movement and overall attention to detail is great. As mentioned earlier, the watch is a limited edition of 7,007 pieces and is priced at AED 19,000 ($5,172), which is AED 5,000 ($1,360) more than the Seamaster that it is based on. Is the price difference significant? Well, that depends on your love for James Bond collectibles and limited edition watches.