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


Genesis

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

17 comments:

Clarence Yu said...

you seem to really dislike Omega but are obligated to put it in your blog. Omega has a proud tradition. You fail to mention many facts as well. And you become a bit hypocritical when talking about "product" placement when that's what you are doing indirectly with your sidebar (actors wearing rolex, athletes wearing rolex, etc). The fact is, Omega has a much diverse line of watches and is the only watch ever worn on the moon.

Jake Ehrlich said...

Hi Clarence,

I do not dislike Omega. As a matter of fact I think Omega makes fine watches and I really like some of their models. I also really like the design of Omega's locking clasp.

As I mentioned in the James Bond article, from a design perspective I think the helium release valve that juts out of the left side of many Omega sport watches looks strange to me and I think the fact you have to unscrew the helium release valve in order for it to work does not make sense.

You said "You fail to mention many facts as well." I don't know what you mean, but by all means please share them here.

I don't understand why you think I am doing product placement. Product placement is when a brand pays a fee to a movie or TV production company to place a product in a movie or show. I have photos of actors and athletes wearing Rolex because I think it is fascinating.

As far as you saying Omega is "the only watch ever worn on the moon" I don't believe that to be true. Dr. Edgar Mitchell who flew on Apollo 14 said he wore his Rolex GMT on the longest moonwalk in history. All three members of the Apollo 14 crew wore Rolex GMTs also.

Also, Jack Swigert wore his Rolex GMT aboard Apollo 13. This is an undisputed fact.

I have been extremely passionate about Rolex since before I purchased my first Rolex more than a quarter century ago. So it is not that I dislike Omega, it is that just like Daniel Craig, I prefer Rolex.

Warmest regards,

Jake

Charlie said...

Jake, this is an excellent article. However, you missed at least two Rolex watches worn in Goldfinger. Go back and look at Goldfinger's soldier who works the combination on the Ft. Knox vault. He is wearing a Rolex Explorer. Another soldier -- a US Army soldier -- is also seen wearing a Rolex, though I can't tell for certain which model it is.

Charlie said...

BTW, in The Man with the Golden Gun, you say Bond wears a 5512. The screenshot is not necessarily a 5512 (though a few 5512's did have the non-chronometer dial). It just as well could have been a Submariner 5513, as is indicated by the dial markings. I'm curious what makes you think the watch is a 5512. ???

leekibble said...

Jake, you have a great Blog that always pops up when I am looking at great watches but i have to agree with Clarence here, even though you say you like Omega's clearly you also have a thinly disguised jealous streak and mild disgust about them and I think it affects the blog for the worse. Instead of a peice about Rolex's on the Moon you could have done a positive peice on Moon watches. It's as if Omega wasn't good enough which clearly it was. Same for the Bond watches. So what, Ian Fleming wore an Explorer but probably had a few watches in his collection. Same for multi Millionaire Daniel Craig, there is no conspiracy or mystery, he is a watch collector, he presumably also has Omega's in his collection and numerous other Brands. The whole conspiracy just sounds silly. I have a Planet Ocean and a Sub and have a very 'active outdoors' job, My watch gets hammered, I must say when I am at work I always wear the PO, the Rolex just isn't tough enough despite my love for it. Can I see our fictional hero jumping around in a sub/GMT ? Not really. Whether you like it or not Omega is as much Bond as Rolex ever will be, its as much Bond as Aston Martin , which , again, was never in Flemings books. Like Omega, I prefer an Aston Martin to a Bentley. Keep up the good work my friend !!!

Jake Ehrlich said...

Hi leekibble,

I definitely would not use the word "jealous" or term "mild disgust" to describe my feelings toward Omega. As I have said before, I genuinely like many vintage Omega models including the Speedmaster Chronograph that flew to the moon and respect Omega's fine history. I also like and appreciate other vintage Omega models from the Constellation Series.

I certainly am not going to attempt to put words in your mouth, but it strikes me that you mistake my absolute passion for Rolex as being something else. The simple fact is that for over a quarter-century I have been extremely passionate about Rolex design and achievement.

There are many other brands I like beside Omega and Rolex, like Roger Dubuis, Panerai, Patek Philippe and Cartier.

Maybe I should start Jake's Omega World Blog!?!

Warmest regards,

Jake

;-))))

leekibble said...

Ha ha , brilliant, respect Jake. I stand corrected. Now Jakes Omega blog - that would be awesome. Many Thanks !!

Christian Stock said...

Wow, no props to Dell Deaton in this post. That's bold.

Jake Ehrlich said...

Hi Christian,

You said: "Wow, no props to Dell Deaton in this post. That's bold."

I have no idea what you are talking about?

Please advise and be much more specific?

Jake

Christian Stock said...

The guy who discovered the Ian Fleming Explorer and published it in Watchtime has a website called jamesbondwatches.com. While this blog post in necessary in any discussion of Rolex history, most of this info is redundant to Deaton's work. I know the rules for citing references in blogs are virtually nonexistent, it's polite to give a nod.

Jake Ehrlich said...

Hi Christian,

What makes you think I learned from Dell Deaton or Watchtime that Ian Fleming wore a Rolex Explorer? Your false accusation and assumption is absolutely baseless and incorrect.

The fact is I discovered this on my own, long before Dell Deaton's article was published.

I don't know how carefully, you read my series on James Bond and Daniel Graig, but I did mention and cite Dell Deaton and his website:

http://rolexblog.blogspot.com/2008/11/part-2-daniel-craigs-vintage-sean.html

As far as you suggesting my work is redundant to Deaton's work, I would say you have it backwards.

You also said "I know the rules for citing references in blogs are virtually nonexistent, it's polite to give a nod."

Christian, if you were polite, you would not make false accusations, and if you actually read the enormous article I spent thousands of hours researching and writing, you would have not made a fool out of yourself in attempting to make a fool out of me with your destructive criticism.

Instead of suggesting you think before you write, I suggest you read & think before you write. If you have any real "Constructive Criticism" you have me ear, but if you want to spew false "Destructive Criticism" I suggest you find a more effective way to vent your stupid negativity.

Warmest regards,

Jake

CD Stock said...

Jake,


So, let's clarify your comments. You are saying that you ID'd the Fleming watch prior to Dell, and you feel that his work on a definitive guide to James Bond watches is redundant to yours?

I did see the reference to Deaton's blog, which is why I was surprised when you had no clue about his work when I first commented on this post. Your post shows that you were aware of his work at around the same time. But the link to his site is for the post on Daniel Craig's vintage Submariner, not the Fleming Explorer. Only the comments discuss the Explorer, which I'm sure he was hesitant to continue as his article would already have been submitted to Watchtime by then.

I admit that I have not read 100% of your blog OR Dell's, so I am playing catch-up, but I found this bit interesting: http://www.jamesbondwatches.com/copyright-infringement_20081117.htm

He seems to take some of the many Bond fan sites to task over their use of images, especially the Villier's portrait.

Maybe I should have prefaced with a compliment. You should know that I find your blog entertaining and informative, and I recognize the immense amount of work that must go into it. In recognition of that, I'll read your response but not post a follow up.

Cheers,
Chris

Jake Ehrlich said...

Hi Christian,

Yes. I am saying I was aware of and identified Ian Fleming's Rolex watch years before Dell Deaton's article and long before I even knew who Dell Deaton was. It never even crossed my mind to try to capitalize upon pointing out that Ian Fleming wore a Rolex.

As far as the attempting to identify the "literary" Ian Fleming Rolex watch, this makes no sense to me. The bottom line is Ian Fleming was very skinny and probably did not exercise often, if at all. At the time of the first James Bond movie, Sean Connery was between 6.2 and 6.3 feet tall, and was a former world-class bodybuilder. Since he was so large, the Rolex Submariner scaled better than a Rolex Explorer. It's that simple.

When you attacked me and suggested my research and work-product is redundant, to the work Dell Deaton has done, yes I would argue to the contrary.

In other words, if I got stuck on a dessert island, and for the rest of my life I could only have access to the definitive guide on Jake's Rolex World, versus anything anybody else has ever published on the web or in print, I think my guide is by far and away the best.

I believe it to be excellent for many reasons and in particular, like with the rest of Jake's Rolex World, I find it to be really easy on the eyes.

In other words, Jake's Rolex World is laid-out in such a way as to make it very easy to read and understand. There are no large paragraphs, and there are many photos that speak volumes.

I also point out in "The James Bond Story including a List of All watches worn in All James Bond Movies," it is far from being complete, and as time permits I will continue updating and adding to it.

Dell Deaton's argument about Fleming's portrait is absurd on many counts, and I will point out nobody "owns" James Bond history, or any other history for that matter.

The whole point of any museum is, or should be, to share historically significant and meaningful knowledge about the world we all share. The objective is not and should not be to hoard content or objects to make money.

Dell Deaton and King John B. Holebrook the 17th, both seem to have a habit of dispensing false legal opinions, despite the fact that neither are lawyers and clearly do not understand the law.

Just out of curiosity Christian, you are a smart guy, why do you think Dell Deaton and John Holebrook both "attempted" to attack on this lame issue? Do you think they are supreme hypocrites that are simply and poorly attempting to project their own autobiographies upon other people?

In other words, people who are trustworthy, typically don't go around pointing the finger at others, saying they are not trustworthy; i.e., it takes one to know one. It also stands to reason that people who have nothing to hide, hide nothing...

Dell Deaton and King John both suggest other people have tried to capitalize upon content to try and make money, and thus they are not altruistic, when, quite ironically, they are trying to capitalize upon the same content, for not-so altruistic reasons.

I sincerely hope I addressed your deep and meaningful concerns with my answers. I realize you must be deeply concerned with these profound issues, and of course, you too have addressed these issues for purely altruistic reasons ;-)))

Just out of curiosity Christian, what city do you live in?

Cheers!!!

Jake

Robert said...

Comparing your work to Dell Deaton's is ridiculous. Dell went on a personal crusade of non sequiturs and false logic to come up with what "He" wanted to be James Bond's Rolex. Every step of the way he held up the previous leap in reasoning to reinforce the next. What you're left with is a string of "might have's" coming to a truthful conclusion. That so many people are willing to believe his self aggrandizing sophistry is nothing more than laziness.

Thanks for the great read Jake.

Robert

FHPromos said...

As a fan of Bond I commend you on the immense amount of information you've compiled and presented in your blog page. The page on Cary Grant being the preferred actor for Bond is mind-blowing. I can definitely see it. I also have to admit as someone who is not partial to watches, you may have planted a seed which might cause me to buy a watch. LOL. Thanks and keep up the good work.

FH

RealAtticus said...

I enjoyed this article, but was amazed that no one pointed out some large inaccuracies.

1. The three photos you refer to as having Connery talking to Fleming was not on the set of Goldfinger..they were on the set of Dr. No (the reactor room set)

2. The picture of the house that you state is Fleming's home in the Carribean is not his home. His actual house was Goldeneye in Jamaica. I've been there and I don't what house this is you have in the article.

3. You state that after Fleming saw Connery as Bond he became his "biggest fan". This is a popular misconcenption that stems from an idea repeated over the years by the press and from Fleming, though he was actually saying this as a way of being "polite" to the media. Though Fleming admired Connery's performance and take on his character publicly, in private and among those closest to him, he still believed Connery was not his idea of Bond (ex Etonian/British spy), but rather actors more like Stewart Granger (who strangely, looked liked Fleming).

Cliff said...

Great mag. You forgot the Breitling Top Time. It's an iconic watch that played a part of the story. Two Breitlings were in Thunderball and I don't believe either of them to be paid placement.

Here is a link about the finding of the Thunderball Top Time:
http://www.jamesbondlifestyle.com/news/original-thunderball-geiger-counter-watch-found-bond-fans

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