James Bond might be best known for his suave attire and explosive gadgets, but for his creator Ian Fleming “a gentleman’s choice of timepiece says as much about him as does his Savile Row suit”.
And now, one of the watches that formed a pivotal part of 007’s look almost five decades ago is to be auctioned in Monte Carlo.
A Rolex specially adapted for George Lazenby in the 1969 Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is up for sale with auction house Artcurial and is estimated to go for upwards of €200,000 (£167,000).
The heavy silver watch, with a unique chronograph hand, was designed by Swiss jewellers Bucherer.
For keen-eyed James Bond fans the watch is a distinctive part of Lazenby’s look in the one and only time he appeared in the role, taking over from Sean Connery for the sixth outing of the franchise. Bond can be seen sporting the watch as he infiltrates Piz Gloria, the Swiss allergy clinic run by Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the head of global criminal organisation Spectre.
It is also the same watch that 007, trapped in a cable car machinery room, uses to record the timings of the cable cars and plot his escape down the Swiss Alps.
The watch was bought for 790 Swiss francs in 1968, and will be auctioned together with the original invoice and a handwritten note from Bucherer, which says “this is the watch for James Bond”.
Though Bond has sported an Omega in recent outings, in his original books, Fleming was very particular about the watch his spy should wear. Writing in his 1953 novel, Casino Royale, Fleming specified that 007 “could not just wear a watch. It had to be a Rolex”.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010