Although it may fancy, Omega has not inextricably linked to James Bond since October 5, 1962, when one of the most iconic characters in the film world made his film debut. That first ‘Bond watch’ was, whisper it, a Rolex – the Submariner Ref. 6538. Others have also provided secret service, including Breitling (Thunderball) and Hamilton (Live and let die). It was pass Golden Eye in 1995 that Omega stepped in and took on the permanent task of supplying Britain’s fictional super-spy with gadget-laden timepieces.
Now, on the 60th anniversary of the Bond franchise, two new Omegas has been released. Despite these new pieces not being tied to any specific movie, this time the company has eschewed obvious attempts to shoehorn “007” or a gun effect on the dial into the designs, instead each featuring a subtle touch of movie magic on the back of the watch. box to give. Flip the pieces over and a mechanical animation of the iconic gun barrel opening sequence plays on the crystal back.
The new 42mm Seamaster Diver 300m 60 Years of James Bond Stainless Steel (£7,100, about $8,500) is inspired by the first Omega worn by Pierce Brosnan in Golden Eye, but now with a mesh bracelet. The Seamaster Diver 300m 60 Years of James Bond Canopus Gold is by far the most exclusive affair (£137,300, or $165,200), made in Omega’s white gold alloy with a dial made of natural gray silicon and a bezel encircled with green and yellow diamonds, all supposedly combined to evoke Ian Fleming’s Jamaican home.
The rear moving image of 007’s opening sequence is achieved on this mechanical watch with no screens or digital displays via the use of moire animation, true interference patterns are produced when an opaque lined pattern with transparent openings is superimposed on another similar pattern. For the pattern to appear, the two designs must not be identical, but rather moved, or in this case rotated.
Omega’s patent-pending design causes the spinning aluminum disc of the animation to be powered by the rotation of the lollipop’s central second hand. This allows the sequence of four images to repeat continuously at 15-second intervals while the Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber 8806 powers the watch.
Gregory Kissling, Omega’s VP of product, says it was difficult to capture the precision of the animation. “We initially started with seven figures in the series. But the problem with seven was that there’s a little difference between the discs, you have a ghost effect. That is why we decided to split the series into just four images.” This need for precision is also the reason why these Seamasters have a screwed back instead of a “turned” back. This allows the different layers of the illusion’s mechanism to line up perfectly, something that was not possible with the previous Seamaster back cover. “We also had to manage the distance between the disc and the sapphire glass,” says Kissling. “It requires very, very fine tolerances — plus/minus 0.05 millimeters.”