Saturday, January 15, 2005

The James Bond Story including a List of ALL watches worn in ALL James Bond Movies...

...The James Bond Rolex Story...

The Complete History Of James Bond Watches
Including ALL Watches Worn In All James Bond Movies
The Definitive Guide

Chapter 1: Genesis–Ian Fleming's Dream


I originally set out to create a definitive list of all the watches worn in all the James Bond movies and tell the complete James Bond Rolex story, then I realized it would make sense to add all the movie posters. Then I thought it would make sense to include photos of the watches in the movies.

Then I started realizing I should–to the best of my ability–try to shed light on the story behind the James Bond films–so this article has really evolved into a history of the James Bond movies, with an emphasis on watches.

We must start at the beginning of the James Bond construct and examine who James Bond is and what he represents. You really have to go back to the beginning of moving pictures. Back before Television existed. Back to the original silent films.

Silent films changed the world forever. Human beings are basically vicarious creatures, meaning we often get as much of a thrill from observation and spectating as we do from playing or participating. This is why television and the world-wide-web are so popular. This is also because humans reason by analogy. When the original silent moving pictures first began, people were rumored to get up out of their seat and run out the door in horror because they could not understand the difference between a moving picture and the real thing.

King Kong [1933]

When sound came to movie theaters it changed everything. In order to understand James Bond you really have to understand the original King Kong from 1933. King Kong created the genre of an action, adventure, thriller, mystery. Of course there was the conflict between good and bad, as well as the love story between beauty and the beast.

The Power of Perception

The James Bond movie franchise is the most successful in history, and many of the stories behind the stories are as fascinating as the James Bond character. The James Bond character has not only become a cultural icon, but has captured the imagination of generations of viewers and readers across the globe, and in doing so James Bond became a true cultural phenomenon.

My uncle Christopher who is 57 years old put it best recently in a conversation when he said "When I was a kid, my father took me to see Sean Connery as James Bond and he said 'Son, James Bond is the ultimate man. Hopefully one day you will grow up to be like James Bond.'" This stuck with my uncle and had a huge affect on him.

As a matter of fact, I could not help but notice that my uncle owns two watches that he always wears. He owns the Omega Seamaster and the Omega Speedmaster Moon watch. I could not help but ask him if he bought the Seamaster and Speedmaster because it made him feel like he was James Bond and a NASA astronaut. My uncle looked at me and paused for a long moment and almost reluctantly replied "yes."

Ian Fleming

Let's begin by taking a look at the man who wrote the James Bond novels, British author, Ian Lancaster Fleming. Ian Fleming was born in Mayfair, London, England on May 28, 1908 and died on August 12, 1964. We see young Ian Fleming pictured below, long before he wrote his James Bond series of books.

Ian's father was a member of the English Parliament. Ian Fleming served in the British military during World War II in Naval Intelligence, and he is pictured below in his British Naval Uniform.

Ian Fleming wrote twelve James Bond novels and nine short stories, and to a large extent his James Bond character, was based upon his own life experiences. Ian Fleming also wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which became another cultural icon.

Ian Fleming based James Bond in many ways on his own career and it could be argued that James Bond was Ian Fleming's alter-ego.

Ian Fleming wrote his James Bond books on his small Caribbean island home in the West Indies (Jamaica) which is pictured below. Ian Fleming's island is 10 acres in size and his refuge was said to be the inspiration for hidden island lairs of the sinister madmen James Bond regularly encountered.

Ian Fleming not only wrote that his James Bond Character wore a Rolex, but Ian himself actually wore a stainless steel Rolex Explorer as seen in the images below.

"A gentleman's choice of timepiece says as much about him as does his Saville Row suit." –Ian Fleming

In this next painting from The National Portrait Gallery in London we see a portrait of Ian Fleming wearing his Rolex Explorer.

Dr. No (1962)

Ian Fleming spent much time consulting on the set of the first three James Bond films, including Dr. No (1962), From Russia With Love (1963), and Goldfinger (1964). In these first two photos we see Ian Fleming and Sean Connery on the beach in Jamaica on the set of Dr. No in 1962.

It is interesting to note that when Sean Connery was first signed to play James Bond, Ian Fleming could not stand him, but once he saw how great a job Sean Connery did, he quickly became his biggest fan.

From Russia With Love (1963)

We see Ian Fleming pictured below on the set of From Russia With Love with Sean Connery.

Goldfinger (1964)

In the next photo (below) we see Sean Connery chatting with Ian Fleming on the set of Goldfinger with Shirley Eaton between them. If you click on the image for better detail, you notice Ian Fleming sporting his trademark Rolex Explorer (Reference 1016).

These next three images of Sean Connery consulting with Ian Fleming were taken on the set of Goldfinger.

Ian Fleming is pictured below on the set of Goldfinger with James Bond producers, Harry Saltzman (center) and Albert "Cubby" Broccoli (right).

Ian Fleming suffered from a heart attack and passed away in 1964. Ironically, he was in the prime of his life at the young age of 56. Some could argue it was sad he did not live to see the rest of his novels turned into movies, but one could argue the opposite. Ian Fleming summed it all up perfectly when he said:

"I have always smoked and drank too much. In fact, I have lived not too long, but too much. One day the Iron Crab will get me. Then I shall have died of living too much." –Ian Fleming