Omega announces the first Limited Edition James Bond watch for SPECTRE
Yesterday Omega announced their first limited edition watch for SPECTRE, the new James Bond film, to be a Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M. The unique features of this piece include a dial featuring a repeating pattern inspired by the Bond family coat of arms which itself is featured on tip of the central second hand. The watch will only be available in the larger Aqua Terra size of 41.5mm and only in stainless steel. Omega have designed the oscillating weight powering the 8507 calibre movement to look like the iconic threaded gun barrel that is so closely associated with Bond. I presume that the Calibre 8507 is exactly the same as the 8508 with the digit changed to reflect the caseback and of course to continue with the 007 motif. Omega have yet to release any pictures of the design so it will be interesting to see how they implement it using the sapphire crystal caseback. In previous limited editions, the casebacks have either been solid stainless steel or a regular sapphire crystal with just the name of the film engraved on the weight.
We've seen the contemporary 007 logo featured anywhere and everywhere on previous limited editions, with varying degrees of success and taste. Multiple variations of repeating 007-patterned dials, second hand counterweights and hour markers have been used before, so it is refreshing to have a design inspired by the character rather than the marketing. The Bond coat of arms is first described in Fleming's On Her Majesty's Secret Service as "Agrent on a chevron sables three bezants" which means a white shield with a angular stripe running across with three golden orbs or balls. Beneath the crest is the family motto of Orbis non sufficit or The World is not enough, which is briefly mentioned in the Pierce Brosnan film of the same name.
Putting aside dreadful film scripts, it is worth pointing out that, in the book, it is never confirmed that this coat of arms was actually Bond's. An employee at London's College of Arms simply mistakes Bond's reason for visiting and starts babbling on about how he could be related to Sir Thomas Bond (the namesake of Bond Street in London) but the matter is never settled. Bond reacts to his possible family crest by making a quip about the benefits of having having three balls instead of two, so it is amusing to think of what he'd make of this design. Personally, I like the subtle checkered design of the dial, especially in the lacquered Aqua Terra blue style. I'm also in favour of the yellow highlighted hands and arabic numerals as it fits well with the use of vibrant colour across the Aqua Terra range and it matches the gold used on the crest itself. Something I don't care for though is the "15,007 Gauss" written in yellow script underneath "Master Co-Axial Chronometer". I think it's quite tacky and detracts from the otherwise subtle use of the Bond motif. With Omega set to start using a new certification process with METAS this year, perhaps combining the newer Master Co-Axial and the older 15,000 script simply for the sake of being Bond themed is misguided and could confuse some consumers about the difference between the movements and the certification.
15,007 is also the number of watches Omega will make in this "limited" run. Now comparing that to, say, Panerai's recent Radiomir Firenze 3 Day Accacio which is a run of 99 and only available to purchase in the Florence Boutique, or Omega's own one of a kind solid gold Aqua Terra made to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Goldfinger, 15,007 is a not very limited "limited edition". However the popularity of Bond and anything associated with him is not to be underestimated and this watch will sell out very quickly. Over at FratelloWatches , Robert says that he's "been told numerous times by retailers and boutiques that people actually do ask about the James Bond watch" and from my experience this certainly rings true. During my time in retail there was not a day that went by that sometime didn't ask for or mention "the Bond watch". However they were usually referring to the Seamaster Professional 300 rather than the current model of choice for Bond, the Planet Ocean or Aqua Terra.
I have heard rumours from Omega that there are going to be three limited editions this year, rather than two. In regards to which watches will be featured alongside the "Coat of Arms" piece, I'd wager Omega will play it safe with a Planet Ocean and a Seamaster Professional 300. Whilst I'd love to see the new Seamaster 300 on Bond's wrist, the heritage inspired look does give it a more niche appeal. Also, the traditional Seamaster range is the most popular family Omega do in Europe and the United States, so they are unlikely to deviate from something that will guarantee them a return. I'm just daydreaming now, but I would love to see a SPECTRE logo incorporated somehow into the design of one of these watches, either the classic logo from the 60s or the modern twist that has taken pride of place on the recent movie poster. Perhaps that design etched into a sapphire crystal caseback?
The film is scheduled for a November 6th release date, so we'll probably see the watch hitting stores just before then. Current Master Co-Axial Aqua Terra pieces are priced around the $6600 range, so with this limited edition I wouldn't be surprised if it is priced between $7500 to $8000.